( Ten-minute read)
Science shows that Europe is a continent of immigrants and always has been. All Europeans today are a mix. The people who live in a place today are not the descendants of people who lived there long ago.
When one looks back on history most countries were established by migration with the removable of the Aboriginal (original) inhabitants. The tribes of America, the Maori of New Zealand, the Aborigines of Australia, and three waves of immigrants settled in prehistoric Europe.
In an era of debate over migration and borders, Migrant and refugee are just two of the many terms we use to describe people who are seeking new homes in other countries. It is becoming increasingly common to see the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ being used interchangeably in media and public discourse.
But is there a difference between the two, and does it matter?
Simply speaking, a migrant is someone who chooses to move, and a refugee is someone who has been forced from their home.
The distinction is an important one, as there are certain rights for people deemed refugees, whereas migrants have no such rights.
All people are born with fundamental rights and dignity. That includes migrants.
Behind every migrant family and host community is a story. The stories can be positive or negative, but we cannot hope to understand migration without hearing them. There are presently around 258 million international migrants. That figure is proliferating since the turn of the millennium when there were 173 million.
Migrants are subjected to a country’s immigration laws and procedures and can be turned away or deported back to their homeland.
No matter what name migration is given it is just not the movement of people from one place to another it is a mixing of cultures. (Cultural diffusion is the spread of cultural beliefs and social activities from one group of people to another. The mixing of world cultures through different ethnicities, religions, and nationalities has only increased with advanced communication, transportation, and technology.)
An asylum seeker is someone who has asked the government for refugee status and is waiting to hear the outcome of his or her application.
It becomes clear that we cannot just look at migration at the national level. Of course, governments decide on their own migration laws and policies – whether they have to do with security, education, health, or employment. They have done this throughout history. They do it today.
Our current response to international migration is sustainable.
In general, migrants pay more taxes than receive benefits. Newcomers also enrich the cultures of their host communities, and those who return to their countries of origin bring back new skills and ideas. Yet irregular migration is a continuous challenge that exposes migrants themselves to exploitation and abuse. And host communities also have legitimate concerns that we need to listen to.
The recent UK and Rwanda migration and economic development partnership to address shared international challenge of illegal migration and break the business model of people-smuggling gangs. Rwanda where a genocidal war killed 800,000 people has already around 150,000 refugees from neighboring Burundi and DR Congo.
( It is not the first time England has exported the unwanted. Today, one in five Australians is the descendant of a convict from Ireland or England. Australia’s oldest city Sydney in the late 18th century was a penal colony to house its surplus of petty criminals — a murky past that continues to leave its mark on the country today.)
The reality of migration as seen in statistics does not always correspond to what we hear in public discussions.
There are an estimated 272 million international migrants – 3.5% of the world’s population. Although refugees and internally displaced persons make up a relatively small portion of the total number of migrants, they are often most in need of help.
India remains the main origin of international migrants, with 17.5 million Indian-born people living abroad. Mexico and China both also have more than 10 million former residents spread around the world.
Asia hosts the most migrants, with 80 million residing in the region.
In fact, almost 80 percent of English speakers in the world are non-native speakers due to the spread of the language through imperialism and trade.
Cultural diffusion is rapidly becoming the human face of climate change.
Internal climate migrants are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders by 2050.
Although migration is a global phenomenon, there is still no global understanding of how to manage it. No single country can manage migration on its own because it is motivated, first and foremost, by the lack of economic opportunities at home.
If migration is managed properly, migrants can boost economic growth by filling gaps in fast-growing sectors and by increasing the working-age population.
This is the true beauty of cultural diffusion, that expansion of the mind.
The global approach to asylum and migration is broken.
We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality.
Together with the increasing volume, we are seeing changing demographics, advancing technology, evolving needs of labor markets, and continued challenges posed by wars, shortages, human rights violations, and climate change WHEN ANY HOPE OF ORDERLY AND REGULATED MIGRATION WILL DISAPPEAR WITH THE GLOBAL SOUTH POURING INTO THE THE GLOBAL NORTH.
Moreover, climate change, as indicated by a recent World Bank report, will accelerate the trend, by driving an estimated 140 million people from their homes in the coming decades.
Be under no illusion; people smugglers are not humanitarians. They are organized criminals whose evil business finances other serious crimes. The challenge, then, is to find a sustainable solution that is fair to everybody. There is no single solution.
All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.