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November 24, 2015

Forced MigrationThe Human Face of a Health Crisis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Georgetown University Law Center, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;314(20):2125-2126. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14906

Addressing a joint session of Congress, Pope Francis said that migrants “travel for a better life.…Is that not what we want for our own children?”1 With that plea, the pontiff placed a human face on the modern migration crisis, with nearly 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing predominantly from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia2; children comprise half the group. The global response is wholly incommensurate with the need: the European Union agreed to distribute only 120 000 asylum-seekers, and the United States will increase its annual refugee cap from 70 000 to 100 000 by 2017—neither of which will substantially affect the humanitarian crisis.

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