Undoubtedly, migration management is one of the main global challenges we face as a society and is testing the response capacity of our societies and the international community. But what do we mean when we talk about migration?
Refers to the movement of people from one place to another, usually across political or geographic boundaries. It can be internal, which is the movement of individuals within a country, and international, which refers to the movement of people between different countries. It has a variety of different causes, voluntary or forced.
It is estimated that there are more than 272 million international migrants worldwide, representing approximately 3.5% of the world’s population. The main migration destinations are high-income countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and European Union countries, although there is also a large flow of migrants to neighboring or regional countries.
CAUSES OF MIGRATION
There are many reasons why people migrate from their countries of origin and they may be related to economic, political, social, and environmental factors. Some of the most frequent are:
- Job search: the reason is to go to other countries in search of better job opportunities and higher salaries.
- Family reunification: the cause is to reunite with relatives who have already settled in another country.
- Political or religious persecution: people may be persecuted in their country of origin for political, religious, or other reasons and seek refuge elsewhere.
- Armed conflicts: individuals who are forced to flee their homes due to armed conflicts or wars in their country of origin.
- Natural disasters: natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes are the reason for looking for another place to live.
- Improved education: the motivation is to have access to higher quality education in other countries.
- Improved quality of life: people may migrate to escape poverty, lack of opportunity, and lack of basic services such as health care and education.
Whatever the reason, it is important to keep in mind that it is not an easy decision for most people, as it may involve leaving behind their homes, communities, and loved ones, as well as facing many challenges and difficulties in the destination country.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT…
Migration is a right, explicitly recognized in articles 13 and 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. “Everyone has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his place of residence within the territory of a State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
Human rights are equal and inalienable for all people. Even so, this right is not respected by all societies because, depending on how migration is managed, it can have both positive and negative effects on the societies of origin and destination.
SOME CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION
Some of the reasons why there is a negative view of migration that generates xenophobic and racist discourse are as follows:
Fear of the unknown, since migration involves the arrival of people who come from other cultures, speak different languages, and have different customs and traditions. This can generate fear and anxiety in some people who are not used to cultural diversity.
Competition for resources, as some people believe that migrants compete for the same resources (jobs, housing, public services) as they do. This can lead to the perception that migrants are a threat to their job opportunities or standard of living.
Politicians can use migration as political propaganda in their campaigns to win votes. This often involves the creation of xenophobic and racist discourses that appeal to the fears and prejudices of certain sectors of the population.
Information on migration can sometimes be limited or misinformed. Even in times of economic hardship, migrants can be seen as scapegoats who are blamed for lack of employment or low wages.
There are consequences of migration that are seen as positive for society, such as cultural enrichment. In addition to cultural exchange, migrants can share their knowledge and skills with local communities, which can be beneficial to both them and the receiving communities.
It can boost economic development, as migrants contribute to the economy of the receiving country through their labor and tax payments.
It also fosters innovation through the exchange of ideas and perspectives of migrant individuals in the receiving country, which can foster progress in different professional, social, economic, and political areas.
Another positive point is the reduction of poverty and the improvement of living conditions in these communities.
And, as a final positive aspect, migration can bring about social and political changes, such as greater tolerance and understanding of other cultures and greater political diversity.