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Immigration is the transfer of people from one area to another in order to settle on entirely a new habitat. This therefore refers to people that are not native in area settling in and living in the new habitat permanently which can be differentiated from a casual visitor or traveler. When they move to these new countries, they become naturalized i.e. they are made citizens in these new countries. There are also cases of refugees who leave their countries during times of war to go to safer territories until peace has returned to their native homelands.
Researchers from diverse disciplines mostly view the reason for migration to be brought about by push and pull factors, which could be in terms of employment, good lifestyle or better economic lives. According to Purcell L.,(1995) this is to say that the new country to which one migrates to has a factor which is attractive to someone and therefore makes them want to live their own countries. In a pull situation, there are those countries which are actively recruiting people into various parts of their economies such as in the Middle East.
There are many reasons that trigger immigration throughout the world. The most common one is that of trying to look for a better living standards and lifestyle in the new country as compared to the one inhabited initially by the immigrant. Living in a life full of poverty and despair would definitely get people thinking of how they would make their dreams come true in terms of getting themselves out of the problems they are involved in into a better lifestyle. This is especially the case in Mexico whose inhabitants believe that if they were to go to the North into the United States, they would be offered with an opportunity that Mexico does not have. They believed and probably still do that while in The United States, there is a higher likelihood of landing a job and change their lives in a way that would only have been a dream in their native country.
There are also cases of absolute disillusion with life for some countries especially in Third World countries such as those in the West Africa where nature is so hard on the inhabitants. The climate is very dry and therefore offers very few economic activities that can raise income for the individuals hence make it very necessary to look for new ground for survival or face starvation and even death in some extreme cases. This has led to some to use boats and rafters to flee their countries to mostly Europe, a fete which sometimes ends in disaster as some would succumb to drowning or starvation in this deadly journeys.
In the course of the pursuit to get a better lifestyle, most people would be wholly motivated by just the chance to work and hence raise income for themselves and families. Therefore for many educated individuals who by virtue of belonging to certain countries are predisposed to have fewer job opportunities find it necessary to move for these jobs elsewhere rather than their native countries. An example in this are the many Chinese individuals who have moved to the United States to further teir careers mostly in the technology and engineering field where the United States which is more endowed in these areas in terms of the number of opportunities it offers as jobs. There could also be the higher wage factor in the adopted countries as compared to the native countries. This is a key economic reason as the same skilled work sometimes gets more remuneration in one country than the other which allows for families to have more money to save and use for the many necessities and even extra luxuries for the families.
In history, there have been periods in history which required a lot of labor to be acquired in order to meet the high demand for industries at that time. Some of the jobs are very difficult to do at a low cost and hence the need to look for many people willing to work for low wages and hence the need to source for cheap labor from neighboring countries where it is available. An example is during the 19th century when the United States had so many industries coming up in areas such as mining, laying track, dredging and many others and therefore went for Mexicans to help in doing this. These would then work for many years and later were absorbed into the United States population as citizens.
Another economic reason that spurs immigration is that of a better environment to involve in businesses than in the native countries. Many have opened stores and restaurants in the new countries because they offer an opportunity to make increased profits as well as having a more stable market for their products. The main instigator in this is the fact that the economies in the new countries are more stable and would therefore receive relatively no turbulence and hence assuring the business owners of good business for a long time. An example in this type of migration is the Chinese and Indians who have moved the United States and other parts of the world because they believe that their home economies are prone to many fluctuations in value of their goods or kind of business they carry out hence make the new adopted countries more attractive for business.
There are also societal issues that could lead people to move from one region to another such as those that live in communist countries like China tend to be not very happy with the style of governance and level of government control in their lifestyles. These countries have high-handed authorities and are prone to many human rights violations as well as secrecy and closure fro the rest of the world. In China for example, there are many restrictions on the number of children one should have in their families with those with more than one child being very heavily taxed than those with just one child. There have even been reports of the government procuring abortions against the will of individuals to push this one-child policy on the masses. This goes against the fundamental rights of any human who is supposed to be free to make personal decisions as this.
There have been reports in countries such as China of executions still being carried out by the government despite the worldwide condemnation of to perpetuate the use of capital punishment to on criminals. This also makes the population fearful of what would befall them and many seek to move out of the country due to the harsh justice system in place. There is also strict control on the media and flow of information in such countries which again contravenes the very essence of human rights for individuals. An example is in North Korea where all the information is highly guarded and circulated by the government. Illegal circulation of information is dealt with very severely in such states. There have also been reports of China highly regulating the content of the internet to its population and only allowing what is ‘friendly’ to its political agenda to the people. All these restriction and frustrations for the inhabitants of these countries soon reaches to a boiling point and many seek lives that are more liberal and free to practice whatever they wish without any external interference.
Other societal issues also include child trafficking and tight rules on religion practices. Child trafficking would lead many families move from these areas in fear of what might befall their children or families hence they seek safer new homes. An example is South America where child trafficking is very rife and many inhabitants are live in constant fear of abduction especially from the rebel guerrilla fighters in Colombia and Peru. Practicing religion in some areas is also very frustrating especially in areas where the religion seems foreign to someone. An example is practicing Christianity in some regions in the Middle East where many groups sympathetic to Islamic jihadist dwell. There have been reports on attacks on Christians in these areas and therefore a lot of fear has been instilled in them and many have sought to move out to other safer countries.
Civil war has always been one of the main reasons as to why people move away from their homelands in search of safer countries to stay in. This is because of the many effects that war brings to the population which may take a long time to heal. Most of them move into these new countries as refugees and eventually are integrated into the society of the adopted country. An example is the high refugee influx in Kenya from war-torn Somalia which has been unstable for about two decades. Others are absorbed into countries that have programs of adopting refugees such as Australia and Canada, which has seen so many Somalia refugees naturalized. Although many refugees eventually go back after the war subsides, many others prefer to stay in the host country due to the fear that the war might occur again in future and find them in the same desperate situations as they were before.
Aside from war, there are those who seek asylum in other countries due to political reasons in their native countries. This mostly happens when the ruling regime in their native countries targets them and makes it dangerous for them or even their families to continue staying in those countries and hence are given a safer living by other countries. This is especially the case for many African leaders who are ousted in coups or even human activists who are seen to oppose the governments at that time. Most tend to move into developed democracies that are against the policies or political situations in the countries from which these people are moving from. Even after there is change in power in their countries, these people tend to stay on and hence become members of their newly adopted countries.
There are also people who move to other countries for sentimental reasons such as having a lifetime desire to settle in a given country because they love it or because of wanting to reunite with their families. This occurs especially in the high social class where people would like to live in areas they would find most gratifying to them rather than due to economic reasons or politics. Another reason would be because they admire the other countries culture or even climate and therefore decide to move there. An example is someone moving from the United States to Canada because they prefer a quieter life than they are living. There has been also a trend for wealthy Arab families who have also moved from the Middle East to settle in France and Britain.
Sometimes when people go for studies in other countries, they are likely to extend there stay even after they complete their studies for work or for other reasons. This is mostly because the studies in the new country are tailored mostly for its job market and therefore makes it more preferable to work n these countries rather than go back to native countries. This is common in the case of United States which offers many scholarships to students from other countries. These students later get job in the country and opt to settle permanently in the United States leaving there countries of birth. In extension, their other family members may join them later and therefore causes more people to immigrate to this new country.
There is a varied reaction to immigration in different countries. There are cases where the new settlers receive a hostile reception due to a view that they would take up the jobs of the natives and therefore make it increasingly difficult for them to find new jobs. This is especially in areas with few people with little local expertise with populations that do not have many job opportunities. This however is not the case when someone settles into an region with many trained experts because they would not be threatened by the skills of the immigrant but rather compete evenly in the job market. For instance, there have been reports of hostility in America in areas predominantly inhabited by poor African Americans towards African students that are not natives of the United States. They view them as a threat to the jobs that are available to them and hence tend to discourage them from settling in with them.
There are also cases where the natives are very receptive to new immigrants as they view them as a source of new cheap labor to the areas. The therefore have no problem with them as they would in fact help in cutting don on their costs. They are therefore welcome them because in some of these areas it is very expensive to hire natives as they would demand for very high wages. This is especially common for unskilled labor like digging trenches, mining and railway construction. There are also countries with very low birth rates such as the Scandinavian countries which rely so much on immigrants to replenish the gap left by the old people that are retiring. This therefore makes them very fond of settlers as they view them as a source to bridge to their population’s inadequacies. These countries also actively absorbs more and more immigrants especially from Africa and Asia to help in this
There are also cases where the population is initially receptive to foreign immigrants but this later changes with time depending on what the experience is like in coping with the new settlers. If the new immigrants bring about positive impacts to the population, they are liked and more and more are encouraged to settle in. On the contrary, if they carry out activities that seem to be out of the norm and offends the natives, it is also likely that in future many are not going to be encouraged to settle in. An example of this is Germany which has a great number of Albanian immigrants who over time have been viewed as responsible for violence in the country. This has therefore generated a sense of hatred towards the immigrants as they are to blame for the many acts of violence and insecurity in Germany today. This has in turn sparked more and more push for legislation to cut down on the number of immigrants that are in the country and the criteria for admitting them. Bray I.,., Evans J., Lieberman R.( 2009) say that, in the US today, there is has been an increased anger towards the across-border immigration from the Mexico side. This is because of the influx of illegal immigrants into the neighboring States such as Arizona and New Mexico. This has caused the government to come under increased pressure to increase border patrols in this region so that fewer immigrants are able to sneak into the US territory unnoticed. There has even been a call to construct a high wall to aid in curbing this practice along the Mexican-United States border.
The main effect and probably the most obvious outcome of sustained immigration is that of an increase in the population of the target country into which people move into. Conversely, there is a population from which people are migrating would hence shrink. This would then in turn trigger many other effects both on the target population and the population from which the immigration is occurring from.
Since immigration is mainly economically motivated, one possible effect would be that of depressing wages and lowering the employment rates of low-skilled people in a population. This is because the new immigrants are willing to work for far a far less amount of wages than the natives would for the same jobs. This makes employers more willing to give them the jobs, especially the unskilled jobs so as to cut down on their costs and make savings. According to census data obtained as from the years 1960 to 2000 in the US, it was realized that a 10% increase in the number of immigrants caused a 3.6% wage cut in white males as well as 3.8% cuts for African-American males. This also causes a reduced standard of living for the entire population in general as many would not be able to afford to pay many of their bills as they used to before.
Due to lesser and lesser availability of jobs and lowered wages, the many males resort to crime and violence in order to earn a living, according to Jonas S., Thomas S. D.(1999). This is especially common in the US in the case of black-Americans since they are the ones who compete most with the immigrants for the unskilled jobs. This has therefore caused many black Americans to be jailed for various crimes ranging from assaults and robberies. It is also the case for the immigrants who do not get jobs in these areas as they also end up engaging in crime and end up in jail. This can be clearly seen in the United States jails as the majority of those behind bars are either African-Americans or Latino-Americans. When this happens, it also causes a detriment in the lives of the families who relied on them for support thus driving the levels of poverty even much lower.
When the families cannot sustain themselves due to few job opportunities available as well as low wages, there is also a tendency of increased school drop-out cases for the children in such families. For females, many of them would turn to prostitution in order to make a living. This only goes a long way to start the cycle all over again. The school drop-outs would engage in crime and drug-related activities and have problems with the authorities and some would even end up in jail. This would only imply that these families are not likely to easily come out of the low poverty levels for a very long time as this cycle keeps repeating itself. Their living standards are therefore condemned to remain very low for a long time.
Research has also shown that due to increased immigration, there is a stress on the number of facilities available to the population, says Wepman D, (2007), An example is healthcare where more people have to use the hospitals available and even a need for the government to increase its expenditure on health provision. It also makes it increasingly difficult to make provisions in areas such as insurance and social security as it cannot be sustained for long by the government. Other facilities affected also include housing in which case the rents are likely to shoot up because more and more people would be competing for the few available units for housing.
In her book Wilson R., (2005) says that if immigration is sustained for some time, it tends to erode the pre-existing culture in an area as the new immigrants bring with them their own ways of living with them. This may take a number of years but eventually would even have the practices to be typical of the areas from which the immigrants originated. The same would also apply to other ways of life such as religion. An example is the Florida State which is host to very many Cuban immigrants and has had the lifestyle of the region totally transformed to Latino. The foods, culture, dances, music and even fashion manifest some of Latino element in them. In the New Mexico state, there are so many Mexican immigrants that the language in the region is predominantly Spanish. There is even talk of teaching young children Spanish in there curriculum although which is unlike many states in the US. In relation to religion, France is probably the best example of a country that has had the population totally changed from Christian to Islam due to immigration. There are many immigrants mostly from Turkey and Northern African countries such as Algeria who have moved into France. This therefore means that matters concerning Islam are more and more likely to spark national interest such as wearing of the hijab (scarf) in public places. There is also an increased number of mosques being built in France today to accommodate the growing number of Muslims in the country.
Despite the myth that immigration is bad for the development of a country, there are actually some positive effects that come with it. The new immigrants in countries keep the workforce high especially in countries that have an ageing population. They help in the manufacturing, construction as well as the service industry. Without this replenishment of the old and retiring workers, most countries economies would have crumbled. This is especially the case for the Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Germany which has some of the lowest birth rates in the world.
It is also the immigrants who offer old care services in the countries they move into as well as playing a pivotal role in providing childcare in a number of foreign countries. These are especially areas where the native population shies to take care of as they are considered less prestigious to work in.
According to a UN report, it has also been shown that immigrants from different nations congregating in one country have a positive effect in evening the class structure of these countries. In this way people are able to appreciate other people’s cultures and add to the richness and diversity of the population and the society at large. It also has a positive effect on the social norms in these nations especially in metropolitan cities such as New York or London.
There are also new jobs which are created due to the effects of immigration such as a need for translators and chefs specialized in the local cuisines of the immigrants. In this way, it helps in fighting poverty as some of the earnings of those workers is remitted to the families of the workers and in this way improve the living standards of the world in general. This is especially for the rich countries who allow talented and skilled immigrants from other countries and therefore enriching the recipient nations and helping their economies. This therefore helps in spreading the wealth to other countries.
There is also a positive image created for countries which seem to be welcoming to immigrants. These countries are therefore well respected throughout the world for such virtues as helping those from mostly poor countries and helping in integrating the world. The same applies to those who welcome refugees into their territories as this is a sign of giving a human face to the different crises affecting the world today. Examples of countries which really stand out in provision of immigration to people from other countries include Sweden, Canada and mm United States.
In general, immigration is a practice that is bound to continue for a long time since it started in historical times. In his book, Cornelius W., (2004) says that if immigration is well regulated, it goes a long way to bring many benefits to the countries from which the immigrants originate as well as where they go to. The individuals themselves do also greatly benefit from this through various ways as shown before. On the other hand, there is illegal immigration which is very detrimental to both countries. This is the cause mistreatment to workers as it gives rise to abusively low wages because the immigrants are desperate to work for any amount of money offered to them. Social programs are also strained as the governments are not able to properly plan or budget as it is very erratic. This in turn leads to people living in very poor living standards and eventually leads to crime and many other social disadvantages to the people around them.
Governments should therefore encourage proper and well regulated immigration as it goes a long way in helping both parties enjoy the benefits that come with getting an opportunity to settle in another country.