The immigration debate is a timeless one, and will continue to be so.
It is fundamentally the story of the human race from its origins to the present.
Migration is an integral aspect of life on this planet. People move to survive. It can be divisive, or it can unite a country or a region. Refugees and seekers of sanctuary should be treated humanely, kept from destitution, and should be allowed to work if we take a long time to determine their claims – indeed, they should be expected to in the same way any of us is expected to.
At the moment we are only seeing the tip of the Iceberg. Wait till climate change starts to move people.
Global warming and resource depletion have no boundaries.
Indeed, given the massive migrations to come, due among others to climate change and economic opportunities, it’s a question that needs some proper thinking.
As a reminder, let me quote a 2009 United Nations Populations Fund report:
“Estimating future climate change-related population flows presents [a great] challenge, with figures ranging wildly from 50 million to 1 billion people by the middle of the century, either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis. The most widely used estimate of people to be displaced by environmental factors by 2050 is 200 million” – compared to the current 25 million.
Some feel that these environmental issues cannot be addressed by nations acting individually. Thus, they might argue that the movement of people around the globe becomes the province of the world, not that of individual nations.
” There go I but for the grace of God”
So where to start? “Let’s start with the obvious:
Most of us are nations of immigrants. The death toll is increasing as more people are attempting to illegally enter countries. We still have to confront the reality of Migration.
“What can happen will happen but we can’t let it happen.”
It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I was better-off before you came
will have no place in future thinking.
So let me propose a possible solution to what is presently happening.
I cannot see for the life of me if we ignore for the moment the myriad of ethical issues and questions, why in this age of ( no where to hide) technology, it is not possible to get all Immigrants at the point on entry to fully understand and sign a legal document of review. The document commits the Immigrant to returning to his or hers country of origin once the war/conflict is over. It could allow entry like a visa to stay for a period of five years.
Would this not be better than the tragedies we witness every day.
A person enters a country with a proper Legalized non transferable, non replicated, free, world recognizable Card with a personal pin Id number (other than a passport) They would not have to live in constant fear of being detained and deported. ( Immigrants must endure intolerance and suspicion, while navigating the complexities of assimilating to a language and a culture foreign to their own.)
The difficulties occur when it is time to find them, (without a tracking bracelet) when the review comes due.
So this solution seems to simplify and objectify the issues and does not serve any useful purpose, because unless it is know-en where they came from in the first place they cannot be returned.
One way or the other it might help stop Trafficking and also stop illegal immigrants causing unemployment.
It would make it more difficult to create a cover for terrorists and criminal.
Undocumented immigrants may have to accept jobs far below their skill level, and endure blatant discrimination but at least they would have some legal dignity.
Who are the migrants of today?
Refugees of war-torn countries, Economic of poverty ridden countries, Natural disasters, or illegal traffic people, drought, plagues, floods, or other natural disasters have triggered migration. Modern Slavery, escape from slavery, invasions, and exile have created forced migration.
The human condition is complex, as are the reasons for migration.
- What are the costs of migration? What is the cost in terms of lives lost?
- What are the financial costs both to the migrant and to the countries involved?
- How does society measure the risks and benefits of migration?
- Can these risks and benefits be measured?
- Do nations have an ethical obligation to do the least harm to migrants when establishing and enforcing immigration laws?
- How should discussions about migration be conducted?
- Whose voices should be included in such discussions?
So how do we understand the needs and rights of those who migrate?
Can countries to close their borders at all costs, or do they have some obligation to minimize the harm to persons crossing their borders an obligation beyond those they owe their citizens? If not, then what entity has the power and will to protect migrants? Are migration issues best served when addressed nationally, regionally, or internationally through orderly processes and clear laws? Or are there times that individual citizens or communities can and should address migration issues outside of national laws and legal processes?
To put this into perspective, Europe has a population of 670 million people.
Contrast that to Lebanon, which has a population of 4.4 million people and has received 1.1 million refugees.”Syria could potentially produce millions more refugees, since more than 6.5 million people are displaced within the country and there is no end in sight to the war.
So far 17 European countries have offered to resettle 31,800 of the most needy refugees. Russia an ally of President Bashar al-Assad – has not granted refugee status to a single Syrian, although it granted 1,193 temporary asylum requests in 2013.
There have been 123,600 asylum requests, mostly in Sweden and Germany, but that figure includes double counting, since some have asked for asylum in several countries. Europe must open its doors to more Syrian refugees, having welcomed only a “minuscule” number. In more than 3 years of war, very few Syrians have made it to continental Europe.
What responsibilities do countries have to migrants?
Who decides what those limits are?
The UNHCR wants the continent to host 100,000 such cases, an average of about 3,000 per country.
Human beings have migrated since their origin. This migration has ranged from journeys of a few miles to epic travels across oceans and continents. Adventurers have sought new land, fame, fortune, or power. Formation of empires, colonies, and nation states have taken people across Asia, Africa, Europe, Russia, the Americas, New Zealand, Australia, and Iceland.
Globalization these days is frequently viewed in economic and environmental terms. Goods and services move easily across regions and national boundaries. With this growing economic interdependence, some would argue that it is only natural that people (labor) follow the capital, wherever that might take them. Similarly, some argue that people should not have to move for jobs, but instead governments should encourage capital to remain in the nation and should protect jobs for citizens.
The growing interdependence of economies regionally and globally is a good predictor that migration will not be stagnant and that it will follow increasingly more complex patterns.
As the population of receiving countries age, how do nations best address the need for a young labor force and a need for care providers for an older population?
How has out-sourcing and re-location of businesses affected migration?
Others believe that in order for countries to protect their environment they need to restrict immigration. What are the limits on the power of countries to control or affect migration? How are the needs and rights of migrants to be balanced against those of the people from the sending, transit, and receiving countries?
Restrictive and selective immigration has been promoted by proponents as a way to preserve the cultural roots of the host country.
Many citizens and illegal aliens are competing for jobs, but because the undocumented immigrants are available for tougher jobs with lower wages, the companies are hiring them causing the citizens to lose their opportunities.
All of this raises many questions and no answers.
How can nations balance businesses’ need for additional labor with concerns about departure or arrival of large numbers of migrants?
- Do businesses prefer to hire and train immigrant workers because it creates a labor force beholden to the employers?
- Is it ethical to deny safe haven or opportunities for a better life to migrants in order to protect the environment of a particular country?
- How should policy makers balance the concerns of environmentalists with the need for a growing supply of labor?
- Does it matter that while demand for labor fluctuates, the environment is less able to change or recover?
- Does increasing the labor force through immigration to care for an aging population create an exponential need for future immigrants to care for this labor force as it ages?
- Is it necessary to prepared to periodically re-assess our assumptions and theories in order for policy to keep pace with shifting migration patterns?
- Can policy change at the speed that migration can now occur?
- What investments must nations make to keep pace with the technology, the speed, and the changing methods of migration?
- Some might argue that this trend is a positive one. Others might disagree and would urge the use of national resources to stem the tide of globalization in order to protect the integrity of nation states, their boundaries, and their economies. Some might posit that globalization is occurring in spite of nation-states, while others would argue that globalization is the product of decisions and actions taken by nation-states.
- If changes in the movement of goods and services mean the movement of people will also change, are leaders and policy makers.
When discussing ethics in the context of migration, it is important to remember first and foremost that migration is about the movement of people. Because the ethics of migration hi-lite the tension between individuals and nations, these discussions should always begin and end with the acknowledgement of the humanity of those who are moving and those who do not move.
Is migration systematic or is it organic?
The UK and Europeans states exploited overseas countries and therefore should be obligated to help these countries by allowing their entry. The USA was founded by Immigrants.
When I started writing this post I had no idea of the complexity of the subject. It cause tremendous tremors on our social conscious, with more questions than answers.
But I have learned something I will be one of the the lucky ones to have immigrated to the land of permanent nod as it will be worse than a nuclear war.
A ship load of hope against hope.