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More than 1 million migrants arrived in Europe this year

More than one million migrants have entered Europe this year, marking the largest wave of immigration into the continent since World War II.

Data from the International Organization for Migration, an organization that works with 162 countries to coordinate immigration issues around the world, indicates most of the migrants are from Syria, Africa and South Asia.

The vast majority have arrived by sea. Only about 34,000 of the migrants arrived by land, the IOM reports.

The journey across the Mediterranean is extremely risky and has claimed thousands of lives. The IOM estimates about 3,700 migrants have died this year, an increase of more than 400 fatalities from 2014.

The IOM used the numbers as a call to action, encouraging countries to assist migrants seeking a better life in Europe. “It’s not enough to count the number of those arriving — or the nearly 4,000 this year reported missing or drowned,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said in a statement. “We must also act. Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all — both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their new homes.”

The already-controversial issue of immigration grew into a fierce debate following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. One of the attackers used a fake Syrian passport to enter Europe through Greece.

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In September, EU leaders meeting in Brussels agreed to country-specific quotas that would be used to relocate about 160,000 newly-arrived refugees in Europe. But some countries on the front lines of the immigration crisis are still skeptical as they face continued pressure on their borders.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reports Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov criticized the EU in his annual speech before the Macedonian Parliament.

“The migrant and refugee crisis reminds us that we are left alone,” Ivanov said, referring to EU policy that allows member states to individually decide how many refugees to accept.

The NewsHour’s special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reported that Macedonia has recently cracked down on which migrants are allowed to cross its borders, creating a bottleneck in Greece.

By far, Greece has seen the largest influx of migrants crossing into Europe. As of Dec. 21, 821,008 migrants have entered through Greece and 150,317 through Italy. Another 29,959 have come through Bulgaria, nearly 3,845 through Spain, 269 through Cyprus and 106 through Malta.

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