of causing overcrowding and unemployment, draining limited
social and health services, and posing cultural threats, migrants
are among the world's most detested people. To many individuals
in the developed world, there is too much migration and it
is from the 'wrong' countries.
Numerous National Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies
provide some combination of protection and assistance to migrants
as well as advocating on their behalf with authorities and
the general public. But as public opinion becomes increasingly
hostile to migrants, National Societies can suffer harsh consequences
as a result of their work. Reduced donations, outright condemnation
and violence are a few examples of what National Societies
encounter as they help people no one else wants to touch.
It is difficult for the Movement to admit that working with
the most vulnerable people can make National Societies unpopular.
But the risk is that public outrage against migrants, coupled
with financial restraints, may impel the Red Cross Red Crescent
to reduce - or stop altogether - programmes aimed at reducing
migrants' vulnerability. To counteract this, the Movement
is redoubling efforts to influence public opinion to change
behaviour, through public campaigns against discrimination
and xenophobia or private face-to-face advocacy.
As part of this effort, Red Cross Red Crescent features a
cover story on the journey of one migrant as he travels along
the migration trail from Central America to the United States.
The personal account gives a horrifying glimpse of what happens
to the untold numbers of migrants who risk their lives and
cross oceans, continents and borders all for the hope of a
better life. Our intention is to remind readers both inside
and outside the Movement of the vulnerability of migrants
and why they deserve our respect and assistance.