By now you've seen the images. Millions of refugees fleeing war zones in Syria and Iraq, trying desperately to reach a new life anywhere else. And the photo yesterday of a small boy, lying limp on a beach, drowned while trying to escape with his family.
This boy's family, NPR reported, had applied to legally immigrate to Canada.
"They had applied for legal migration to Canada because the father's sister was living in Canada," said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch. "And they were denied. So their only option to join their relatives in Canada was to put their lives in the hands of the smugglers."
Canadian immigration officials, meanwhile, deny they ever received an application for asylum. They only received an application for the boys' uncle, and it was sent back.
But local Canadian MP Fin Donnelly told the CBC he personally delivered an asylum request for the boy and his family to the immigration minister:
"It was terrible and obviously action was needed," he said. "That's why I agreed to do what I could, including personally talking to the minister about her case."
Donnelly said his office pushed as hard as his staff could to learn more, but received no response. The result is "utter frustration and devastation," he said.
Many have wondered how this death, and so many others, can be allowed to happen, when the need for help is so obvious. But it's not exactly surprising to find such bureaucracy and confusion behind an immigrant's application for asylum. Immigration law, in many countries, was created specifically to keep out war refugees.