2023: the year of the migrant crisis

Waves of asylum seekers taxed governments around the world

Asylum seeking migrants walk toward a makeshift camp to await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing into the United States past a gap in the border barrier December 1, 2023 in Jacumba Hot Springs, California.
Asylum-seeking migrants walk toward a makeshift camp to await processing by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing into the United States past a gap in the border barrier Dec. 1, 2023 in Jacumba Hot Springs, California
(Image credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Immigration policy has been a hot-button issue for generations, in the United States and around the world. But waves of people fled their homes by land or by sea in 2023, triggering migrant crisis after migrant crisis in multiple regions. Battles over migration policy stoked domestic political feuds and diplomatic clashes.

International Organization for Migration officials told delegates at the United Nations' COP28 climate conference that more than half of forced "internal displacements," which totaled 32.6 million people last year, were driven by climate-related events, according to Forbes. Wars, like Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas, drove more people to seek a better life in a new country, and increased tensions once they got there.

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