Illegal immigration between Algeria and Europe
A Lost Youth
Illegal emigration in Algeria has recently become an urgent issue. Harga, or illegal emigration, was once considered to be a valid option reserved for the uneducated and for criminals. Recently, Harga is now the only option for the educated and the effluent.
Brahim, a young Algerian student, feels lost in his contemporary Algerian society. "What I am supposed to do in Algeria? I don’t have enough money to live the life that I want. I can’t keep ask ingmy father for money to go out with my friends or to go to nightclubs”.
He continues, “Algerians belong to a society where a man must support himself”. A common Algerian saying is that “the failure of a man's is in his pocket", or in other words, a man must be financially stable in order to be successful in society.
For Brahim, if he emigrates, there is no coming back. “I feel humiliated; sometimes people think that I am responsible for my unemployment. I can explain myself but no one will understand me or my feelings. There are moments where I wish to die, just to make my life easier.
The numbers are staggering: between 1988 and 2010, 15 638 immigrants died crossing the borders. In the years between 2005 and 2009, 260 people died and thousands went missing. In just 2010, more than 1,400 illegal immigrants from Algeria were deported from Spain.
Mohammed Kouidri, an Algerian sociologist, is an expert on the issue on Harga in Algeria. “Their lives are difficult! No serious thought has been made to consider the problems that our predominantly young population face. Our youth are living in a vicious circle. It is impossible to find a decent job and to settle down. This young, frustrated generation feels neglected, and they resort to crime, terrorism and Harga.”
In order to stop illegal emigration, the Algerian government has installed a new law in the country: any Algerian who leaves the country illegally via land, sea or air can face up to two to six months of jail and/or a fine of 20 000 to 60 000 DA (300 - 800 U$). This includes anyone who is involved with the creation of false documents or the impersonation of others.
“I am 30 and I have nothing,” says Brahim, “only time will tell us if this is the best way to handle the situation.