Until recently, Algeria was considered among the countries of transit for irregular migrants arriving from centers of armed conflict, poverty and famine in the Sahel region in particular.
However, the situation is gradually turning around, so that Algeria – which is called a stable country, full of wealth and resources – has turned into a source of annoyance for the European Bank from the growing rates of irregular migration of its citizens, until the file became the focus of constant discussions at the negotiating table with its European guests.
In the language of official figures, the operational outcome of the army revealed that a migration attempt of 1,723 people had been thwarted, 25 others rescued from drowning, and 8 bodies were recovered during the first half of this year.
Whereas, from 20 to 25 September, the Coast Guard was able to intercept and rescue 755 people who tried to sail illegally, and 3 shipwrecked people were recovered after their boats capsized, according to a statement by the Ministry of Defense. In parallel, the security authorities announced the dismantling of several networks specialized in organizing irregular migration.
On the day President Abdel Majid Tebboune was asked about the solution, he replied that the main problem is not poverty, as there are doctors and employees who migrate clandestinely, and some of them have returned to the homeland because of living in exile.
Tebboune suggested concluding agreements with some countries to send Algerian youth abroad to closely know the situation, and psychiatrists could also be sought, because the problem is difficult and its solution is more difficult, according to the president.
A few days ago, the Spanish newspaper “Confidential” – citing statistics from the Ministry of the Interior – confirmed that the Algerians are at the forefront of the total number of irregular migrants who arrived on the coasts of their southern countries, since last January to the end of July, about 2703 immigrants, at a rate of 55% of the total Irregular immigrants to Spain.
Indeed, local media in Sardinia reported the arrival of 66 irregular Algerian immigrants in one night on 11 August, including 4 children and two women, one of whom is pregnant.
The tragedy of 9 irregular migrants who drowned in the west of the country, on 21 September, led to a state of alert for the authorities, following the capsizing of a rubber boat, whose passengers included an entire family consisting of a married couple and 3 children under the age of 6 years.
The remarkable paradox is that the indicators of this migration escalated during 2020, after it declined in the wake of the February 22, 2019 movement, as no new cases were recorded during the first months of the weekly demonstrations, at least according to official reports, and what appeared on social media interactions, which is What put forward hypotheses about the relationship of the phenomenon to the outcomes of the movement.
From the point of view of specialists, Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Algiers, Youssef Hantabli, believes that irregular migration is a human phenomenon that is driven by causes that take social dimensions manifested in the country of origin, and continues to the country of arrival, if that happened at all, and it is a heavy indicator that gives a real picture of the suffering of a sector A large number of Algerian youth from economic situations represent the level most associated with this phenomenon.
He explained to Al-Jazeera Net that “the narrow horizon of the land, which for these people lost all the justifications for the possible solution to their suffering, made them venture beyond the sea in search of a wider horizon and a better life.”
And what became clear in Algeria recently – according to Hantabli – is that “the rise in irregular migration attempts finds its meaning that the movement raised the ceiling of high ambition among young people to achieve radical change that improves their own conditions, as its pace was rapid in exchange for solutions and opening the horizon for change at a weaker pace, according to the perception. Is not clear. “
He adds that this situation made them lose hope and pushed them to search for the possible opening that they perceived beyond the sea, “especially through the mental images they receive in the media and communication sites from those who have reached the other shore, as success is possible, and it is worth the adventure even though its path may lead To certain death. “
For his part, professor of political sociology, Noureddine Bekiss, believes that irregular migration is one of the most important symptoms of a stifling crisis that Algeria has been going through for decades, and it is a phenomenon that reveals the impotence of the entire community management system from its political level to its moral level.
He tells Al-Jazeera Net that migration is usually linked to the psyche of society, so the higher the level of frustration, the greater the number of those coming to emigrate, and it also happens to be employed by some as a message of revenge from the country, especially from the political authority, so the phenomenon declined significantly after Algerians sensed the hope of change in the movement. It quickly subsided in the context of the stampede between the protesting masses and the desperation of the regime to disrupt it by various methods of containment and dilution, as he put it.
Therefore, Beckis sees the resurgence of immigration in Algeria as a natural response to the return of manifestations of alienation and resignation, after nearly a year of high levels of political participation in all its forms.
The spokesman added that “the economic crisis caused by the Corona pandemic, along with the repression and restrictions on the freedoms exercised by the authority, contributed to persuading Algerians to return to adopt irregular migration as one of the most important possible solutions despite its risks.”
If we want to summarize the encouraging context – Bagkis answers – what we have to do is adopt the concept of internal migration, as an expression of the various forms of alienation that Algerians suffer and take as a form to escape from reality, such as virtual migration with addiction to social networks, sports periodicals, TV series, and resignation from The political matter, narrowing the space for interaction to its lowest levels, in addition to professional and functional alienation.