Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya: Refugees and Immigrants Dilemma Worldwide
Dr. Hasan Yahya is a professor of comparative Sociology
Contrary to popular perception, anti-immigrant sentiment today isn’t just about rich nations shunning the mass arrival of migrants from poorer ones. It is poor nations sending their huddled masses to other poor nations. It is rich countries sending people to other rich ones. It is countries acting as transit corridors – switching stations of humanity. According to the UNDP, only about one-third of migrants move from a developing country to a developed one. According to the United Nations Population Division (UNDP) estimates that the world has about 200 million international migrants including the five million Palestinian refugees (this writer is one). If they created their own country, it would become the fifth largest in the world.
Two reasons known as justification for Governments rejection of immigrants, namely, fear of lost jobs and a drain on public services.These reasons are the primary causes for the hardening attitudes among nationals toward immigrants force governments to take a stand against them around the world. Governments, therefore, deport migrants deemed a threat to two other related factors: public security and public health.
In the European case, shifting demographics and a dilution of national identity represent another reason for toughening stances toward outsiders. Discrimination is practiced by European governments when they can expel EU migrants who lose their jobs and apply for welfare in the host country. For example, the Netherlands and Britain, among others, the governments have erected barriers to family-reunification visas by setting the legal marriage age for foreigners at 21 rather than 18 as it is for citizens.
It’s easy to see why people would be frustrated when they have a large number of immigrants. While a think tank Government policy is actually starting to become a bit friendlier to legal foreign migration, but attitudes among ordinary people are becoming ever more angry as an outcome force governments to discriminate between nationals and Immigrants in several ways.
Mandatory language and integration tests for immigrants and would-be immigrants have become the rule in most European countries in the past few years. But they are only one sign of a general frustration over immigration policy across the Continent.
In Africa, South Africa estimated two million in a country with 49 million citizens, the bulk of immigrants are pushed by economic and political reasons, the issue represents an anti-migrant sentiment on the African continent. For example, in Chad, resentment toward the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur was so high that Amnesty International urged the UN in February 2010 to maintain peacekeeper protection for refugee camps. And as recently as last year, Another example, Ugandan citizens seemed poised to push Rwandan refugees back into Rwanda, in part because of the refugees’ toll on the local economy.
In the Middle East, Israel, however, the case is different, once relied heavily on Palestinian labor (after 1967 War), as the country raced to join the developed world the violence-resistance-ridden intifadas and a paradigm shift toward separation, Israel severely curtailed the number of Palestinian workers allowed into the country, and force the government to search for non-Palestinians abroad instead. As a result, Israel faced a new problem caused by the hundreds of thousands of Africans coming in and not being able to handle it.
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have changed the way nations think about immigration as well. Suddenly, especially in the US, border control has become a function not just of controlling populations and domestic jobs but keeping the country safe. In America people are divided on the immigration issue, may be like everywhere else on the globe, but the US has garnered a reputation for being one of the most anti-immigrant countries in the world. This perception has been fanned by the high-profile controversy over a tough new enforcement laws in Arizona-even though elements of which have now been blocked by a federal judge. Still undocumented Mexican workers who had been pouring into Texas, California, and Arizona for decades suddenly were viewed as a national security threat.
In fact, 9/11 have changed immigration politics, even in those kind of bellwether immigrant welcoming lands. Europe was the haven for refugees for many years, but the issues merged in Europe, after the terrorist attacks on a train in several European cities like, Madrid in 2004 and later on public transportation in Britain in 2005. Ever since, more overt political opposition emerged.
In conclusion, the victims of shifting borders, politics, or the happenstance of birthplace, the world’s 200 millions immigrants including 12 million stateless people and their need to become citizens are rising on the international human rights agenda. While many advocates still think more attention needs to be paid to the safety and humanitarian needs of migrants rather than just devising ways to keep them out, Governments are starting to deal with the anti-immigrant politics in much less violence than before. Which I believe, is a good sign for refugees and immigrants. (838 words) www.dryahyatv.com
@Hasan Yahya, Michigan, June 2012
** Note for readers: If you liked this, please let other people know about it. You may contact the writer using this site. Thank you!
The Author 100 Books – Hasan Yahya at Amazon