Saturday, January 28, 2006

Myths About Immigrants?

I was intrigued by an article Erkan posted today. Intrigued because it relates to a discussion I had previously had with Gert ... questioning the truth about the so-called burden that immigrants place on the country they come to.

My idea was that any country has a place for the so-called black market labourer, who works for cash in the hand and requires no maintainence in terms of receiving social welfare or pension plans ...

It seemed to make sense that a person who has had the courage to take the sometimes incredible risks required to improve or save their own lives would be a winner in Darwin's Theory of Evolution and therefore, for the most part, a useful addition to the society they move to.

Anyway, I'll post a link to the article. It seemed thought-provoking. Immigrant Article

On my web-journey to the article, I passed through a site that seemed interesting. The article there was about globalisation and the fact that it has been happening forever, and the way that it often effected positive change YaleGlobal Online Magazine

5 comments:

Alison said...

Interesting article. I'm sure the people who complain about immigrants taking all the jobs from locals aren't running out to be cleaners and taxi drivers either...

woman wandering said...

Mmmm, and these days you might find your taxi driver was once a doctor in another country ... bonus eh ;)

But seriously, sometimes I wonder about misinformation on this matter. It takes so much courage and strength to leave everything behind ... I have the luxury of being able to go back to New Zealand; political refugees leave everything and can rarely return to their parents, siblings, or the life style they knew.

It can't be something they they do lightly.

shashikiran said...

Here in Bangalore, we see a huge influx of people from all over the country. Though they are all Indian, and take jobs from construction labor to carpentry to programming, they cause resentment because of the extra work they do to survive and the relatively better personal results they achieve. Insecurity makes them stay in their groups, and that stokes resentment further. But there is no doubt that they catalyze growth tremendously in the places they come to.

Cup'oCofi said...

This is my personal opinion: but I feel that tolerance (against people of color) is higher in the US than in here. This is not to say that Belgians are racists ... in West-Vlaanderen this certainly is not the case, with most people I know ran the extra mile to help me integrate.

Another thing that I noticed: tolerance in the US is much higher in port cities (which historically and logically contain much more immigrants, like in New York and Los Angeles). You should notice by now that the situation in Belgium is reversed. Therefore you could almost conclude that in the US, immigrants really bring something positive: the more you know them, the more you like them.

I think IPS gets it right. Our smart leaders in the parliament know they need to fill their declining labor force with immigration, but they also know admiting immigrants is political suicide.

In the US, Congress made immigration sound next-to-impossible on paper. But in reality Mexicans cross the border twice a year (they do go home for Christmas). Congress also created a clause for "labor shortage" where you could secure a work visa so long as you earn above a certain wage. The fact is, if they don't let the Mexicans go North, companies will relocate South. Close the border entirely? Then they can't finance their thirst for fossil fuels and current account debt.

Only problem is without technically admitting the "guest workers" as "immigrants", these "guest workers" are out without any kind of health benefits or social security. They're on their own.

Now in Europe, you specifically singled out political refugee. But how do you distinguish between the guy/girl who chooses life by moving away, and one who wants a free ride on Europe's social security?

In US, these "guest workers" are on their own. Integrate, find a job, and anyone can be somebody. In most Western Europe, it's more of a gamble. 50% of the time you get the citizenships and access to social security, 50% of the time you get deported (not sure of the exact percentage). People who come to USA realize this. People who come to Belgium realize this. It's natural that the US receives the better pool of immigrants. Therefore it's natural for American port cities like New York and Los Angeles to be more tolerant.

There are moral questions surrounding the US's immigration policy. Some compare it to modern-day slavery. But from my perspective: I don't really mind to live without that social security anyway. I just don't want to be beaten up every so many days, or jailed without a cause, or called a "scum". I just want to be accepted.

woman wandering said...

I have this idea that it's so difficult to find solid ground to stand on when talking of immigrants ... it's emotive, it has to be fact-based, it's personal, it's public, it's political, it's complicated, it's open to fraud, and it's vital for those who are at risk.

I don't know how else to reply, without writing an essay based on feeling-based rather than fact-based.

Political refugees ... just because I've met a few lately and was intrigued and horrified by the process of acceptance. I don't think I could stand to go through it.

Actually, der Spiegel had an article that stunned me today ... http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,397482,00.html