tv America Tonight Al Jazeera February 26, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
poverty or lesser known wars who don't make the headlines. their arrival in europe is the journey. i recently spent nearly a month in europe. a million refugees arrived on the shores of europe last year, the majority were syrians, afghans and iraqis fleeing brutal wars, in search of a safe haven in europe. this group was applying for asylum in northern europe. >> my friend's house in sweden. >> you're going to germany. >> as syrians over 80% will be granted some kind of refugee status in europe. allowed to stay and to work. but then, there are migrants like karamo.
a young man from war torn guinea bisau who traveled thousands of miles by foot for a chance of a new life. karamo is among the hundreds of thousands of migrants from countries whose citizens have become virtually invisible within europe's refugee crisis. they are often from africa, more likely to be seen as fleeing poverty and facing a long and difficult road to legal residency. >> there is a long period when you are an asylum seeker so you are in limbo whether you are waiting to stay in italy or maybe they decide to send you back. >> valentina fabri works for an ngo that helps migrants from companies that are more often associated with poverty than war
to navigate the torturous road to asylum. >> we can say they are the invisible migrants what we have here in italy. there are no measures that help them to be integrated into our country so they are force to live hiding themselves working irregularly and living often in a bad situation. >> reporter: the orange picking season in southern italy starts in october and stretches through spring. the orchards of calabria are a place for migrant workers looking to make cash. no questions acts. in this illegal camp, out of sight, in a hedge row in an abandoned industrial zone, hopes of finding work. celeste works for a trade union
that organizes and advocates for migrant workers. >> translator: almost every morning we get up at the first light of dawn and with our van work as a street union. most migrants have residency permits but many others are either still waiting or don't have their documents. to organize those who aren't organized is to make them visible. >> what does it mean to be invisible? >> translator: it means that you are not recognized by society in its institutions. unfortunately, the ghettos tent cities and container camps where they live allow this invisibility. >> one union goal is to pressure orchard owners to treat migrant workers as they would italians. give them a steady contract for work and a minimum of 40 euros a day. but the unions are
up against carpalato, basically, mafia governed work. >> workers are paid less than the minimum wage and earn a maximum of 25 euros per day. >> could farmers here harvest their crops and make a profit without workers working for less than the minimum wage? >> unfortunately, the agriculture sector has also experienced a crisis these past years but i'm convinced no crisis can justify exploitation. pasquale amante runs his famil family's clementine orchard.
>> how long have you been here? amante insists he doesn't hire undocumented migrants, that he only uses family members for labor. he says low orange prices are decimating the industry make it impossible to pay workers enough to make any profit. there is a temptation on the part of the producers to pay under the table. do you think it's right that producers do that?
but as we traveled throughout calabria speaking with dozens of migrant workers a starkly different picture emerge. >> if i go to work today, sometimes they pay me sometimes 25 euro full day no contract no document, no good food no good live. >> we heard similar stories from many migrants. weeks without work, pay of 25 euros a day at most and that's before orchard owners duck work. >> if you say no? >> no, you are going out. no work again. so you must do it like that. >> so whatever the boss says, whatever the farmer says, that's what you have to take? >> yes.
>> jacob cabenna fled ghana with his wife and daughter in 2007 after they were threatened with death for threatening to convert to islam. >> my friend dead. >> your friend died in the desert? >> yes, and the guy just fall down, shouting i'm dying i'm dying. three minutes or five minutes, this guy died, just like that . >> jacob left his wife and child in libya before making the dangerous crossing to italy in 2008. he hasn't seen them ins is. jaco since.he has applied for asylum. we have seen many, many thousands of people coming
across the mediterranean, coming to italy. does that make it harder or easier? >> hard no. >> in what way? >> simple because we came here, there are many here there is no work here. >> do people talk about wanting to go home? >> yes. many people wanted to go back home. many people wanted to go back home. >> but? >> but the condition that worse. >> but most remain stuck. holding out hope of obtaining some sort of official status that will allow them to become visible and to be given a shot to realize a treatment for which they have risked so much.
>> life for those deemed economic migrants may be about to get much harder. denmark and sweden implemented strict border controls early this month. and the balkan states of macedonia, serbia , croatia and sloaf slovenia, to identify and quickly deport those not considered war refugees, for migrants like jacob the current backlash against migrants ignores the real source of the problem. >> in my country there is a war, i will die, i must run away. this war must stop. just stop.
emerging chris is that's governor out of the rival of tens oarrival oftens of thousan. what's more important, those who would exploit them in their hours of need. the trail that saw more than a million refugees, all along that route, there are helping hands. but where many see human struggle and need, others see opportunity and profits . take the owners of this turkish tack tri arrested last week, making life jackets, not with a buoyancy aid but with material guaranteed to sink a drowning refugee.
as a number of asylum seekers have swelled, even the most welcoming of countries with long established systems of settling refugees have found themselves overwhelmed. what government establishments and ngos carefully oversee is now most often in the hands of private companies and the results decidedly mixed. >> i think this area in the daytime is a kind of cafe so people can come and talk a little bit and get a coffee. >> hugo helps a neighborhood drop in service in berlin to help refugees adjust and meet their new neighbors. a year ago, he was working in a privately owned refugee center until he blew the whistle on the conditions there filing a lawsuit.
the problem he says not just the numbers of refugees, but the private companies paid by the government to shelter and feed them. european union home care is the largest provider of refugee services in germany making millions in profits. but it has been accused of having a grim record including as this photo shows, abusing the refugees under its care. profit eager a profiteering, is not a situation limited to germans. the swiss service oag has been paid tens of millions of dollars to operate all the country's
refugee shelters. the living conditions at the christ kirk was described by the urn refugee agency as, quote, beneath human dignity. despite that the country has had its operations extended and expanded into germany. there is another problem one surfaced repeatedly in austrian and german media. known and like this man convicted neonazi sympathizers working as camp security guards. in the eastern city of dresden, journalist ulrich wolf last been looking into connections between the far right and the security guards. >> we have a problem that the security is the right wing
connection, have right wing connections. >> wolf's number uncovered abuse by a dresden based security company after this video of guards thread thing a lebanese asylum seeker, the links were to pegida, the far right group that demonstrates every saturday in dresden and across germany. >> they have the feeling of the foreigners which we don't want to have here. >> so it's easier for city to turn a blind eye and ignore them? >> i don't see anything i don't hear anything and i don't say anything. that is a typical attitude. >> the european commission says
focus aren't in our country. instead it's germany which this month saw refugee number 1 million cross its borders and that's just since last january. to put that in perfect perspectt would be like 4 million showing up in the u.s. last year. you can understand the strain, and what i found, a fierce reaction. the tension has been building up all year and spilled over after dozens of asylum seekers targeted new year's eve revelers in cologne , people robbed, women sexually assaulted. days later, protesters took to the city of leipzig, angered at the cologne attacks. angered at the welcoming
policies of german chancellor angela merkel. huge rallies of thousands of people have repeatedly called for her resignation and attacks against rfght refugees are up tenfold. taking advantage of the arrival of more than a million refugees. tapg tapping inttapping into a growing xenophobia that observers feel could spiral out of control. >> there are people in there throwing molotov cocktails into homes. so we have to talk about people trying to kill others. that's the reality that we have again in 2015 in germany. >> marius mosterman works for an organization that tracks right wing
groups attacks. >> people resort to this also who would have distanced themselves from such actions. >> this drama is playing itself out in towns across germany. places like kretchau, a population of over just 1,000 people, in a place that used to be communist east germany. hundreds of neonazis, marched and later placed the footage on facebook. after the government determined to place 250 refugees there. the far right wing has been able to exploit the concerns of people unprepared for immigrants arrival. >> so every sunday since that time there are people running not coming from krhtchau, saying we are against the refugees, refugees are ugly, refugees are
all muslims. >> now each sunday pastor holds peace services, a counterpoint to the right wing demonstrations. >> they are not used to interact with people who don't come from here. a lot of people are using right wing words. but often, i got the impression that they don't really know what they say. >> that it's more of an expression for some of fear? >> yes. >> than it is of right wing ideology? >> yes but the problem is, the more you use these words, the more you became right wing. >> fears about the refugees has helped the right wing to grow, even spawning new parties, polls show one of them is now the third most popular in the country. >> the most important right wing populace party in germany at the moment is the alternative for germany. the
party organizes demonstrations to which thousands of people come every week. in this course, in the society muslims are kind of a threat of potential threat and so it's very easy for right wing pop last partie populace parties or right wing populace movement to say we have to guard against this threat. >> protesting against islam and chancellor merkel's refugee policy. this dresden group was started by a party, called pegida, patriotic germans against the islamization of the west.
>> the right of right wing populaces or parties we see at the moment is a great threat to the german society and to german democracy. these demonstrators who are calling all politician he who are not exactly doing what they want traitors of the people and the german word they use are the same words they used 60 years ago by the nazis. >> certainly . >> the most beloved politician in germany and now her approval rates have dropped significantly. >> the right wing may be rising but their views still do not represent the majorities of germans. born and raised in the town where neonazis march every sunday, christine and her
friends have reached out to the refugees. they are housed in a youth hostel at the edge of town. her objective, integration. as for the neonazis and other supporters of the far right, christine has a simple message. that's a message the far right and its supporters have no intention of heeding. that's "america tonight." tell us what you think, at aljazeera.com/americatonight, talk to us on twitter and facebook. come back, we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow.