Reasons Impoverished People Come to the United States
Most Americans will never know what it is like to be forcibly displaced from their home country. Living in a place where there is no threat of violence is a luxury when compared to the hardships faced by many other people. For those who are not privileged, every day can seem like a struggle. The reasons for impoverished people coming to the United States are many. 

Asylum-Seeker and Refugee

What is the difference between an asylum-seeker and a refugee? Refugees are those who have to seek safety in neighboring counties during times of war or other perils and are recognized by the International Law. Asylum-seekers, however, are migrants whose identity as a refugee is not recognized by their home country. Their reason for fleeing may be related to personal threats of violence and they have not yet claimed refugee status. These two can fall under the term “migrant”.

In the current political climate, a pilgrimage to the United States is a great risk. Therefore, it is important for the natural born citizens of this nation to align themselves with the reasons impoverished people come to the United States

Top 10 Reasons Impoverished People Come to the United States

  1. Persecution: Impoverished people come to the United States to escape persecution, whether it is related to race, religion or political affiliation. Migration is the last option for safety and it is all many families can afford.
  2. Escape Violence: Many people coming to the southern border of the United States hail from the Northern Triangle of Central America, i.e. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The rate of targeted killings and gang-related violence has spiked in these countries in the past few years, causing many citizens to flee.
  3. Environmental Factors: Drastic changes in the natural environment is a prevalent reason for migration to the United States. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, around 179,000 people living in Puerto Rico came to the continental U.S.
  4. Healthcare: The impoverished migrants coming into the United States often come from countries with unaffordable or extremely limited access to healthcare.
  5. Jobs: Searching for employment is a top priority for migrants at the southern border. It is nothing short of astounding that nearly two-thirds of adults are able to find work within five weeks of entering, often accepting low wages to provide for themselves and their families.
  6. Children’s Bright Future: In the hopes of offering a better life for their children, many families have sent them out alone. Since the beginning of this year, over 74,000 children have been met at the U.S. southern border without being accompanied by a parent.
  7. Family Reunification: For parents who often have to send their children away ahead of them, coming to the United States is their chance to live as a family free of poverty and persecution.
  8. Protection: In their search for a place that offers an obligation to protect its citizens, migrants come with the hope that they will be protected in the United States. Displacement is something no person would want to go through more than once in their lifetime, so these people are looking for permanence as well. About 60 percent of the undocumented immigrants living in the United States has been there for the past decade.  
  9. Education: Public education is a luxury many impoverished people do not have access to. Coming to the United States provides not only an immediate better life for their families but a long-term plan for their children’s education.
  10. Quality of Life: Overall, this was the promise made to immigrants going back almost 200 years, that a better life was waiting for them if they were willing to work for it.

The above reasons for impoverished people to come to the United States will not only help American citizens empathize with their struggle but possibly look for ways to help them out. Embracing migrants is something that has been an enormous struggle for centuries in the United States, and while every immigrant’s reasons for leaving their home country may be different, their desire to build new, bright future is what brings them here.

– Tresa Rentler
Photo: Flickr

Immigrants Benefit Italy

Immigrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, have been stigmatized across Europe, often labeled as benefit thieves and criminals. And in most situations, this population is never given the opportunity to prove otherwise.

These negative stereotypes have heavily impacted the way locals perceive immigrants; this perception occurs so much so that locals have been unable to detach the person from the stereotype, making it difficult to change public opinion. The first step in breaking these negative perceptions is to highlight the ways in which immigrants enrich our lives, communities and economy. Immigrants have been negatively stereotyped for too long, and it is time for this to change — immigrants benefit Italy in numerous ways.

Projects to integrate immigrants have been set up across Italy, many of which involve immigrants being given various jobs in their new communities. This has not only proven to benefit the communities, but it has also helped tremendously with the integration of the new arrivals and changing overall local perception. Below are some examples of how immigrants benefit Italy.

How Do Immigrants Benefit Italy?

Firstly, the jobs that migrants accept are often those in the marginalized and lower-paid job sector — a sector that many Italians refuse to work in because of the lower wages and associated stigmas. Immigrants, though, are accused of “stealing jobs” from hardworking Italians.

But in reality, this is not the case. Migrants are merely filling the gaps, leading to Italian social advancement. If it were not for migrants, this job sector may have never been filled, thereby leaving gaps in society.

Secondly, immigrants play a crucial role in Italian development. Italy has an old population — one in ten Italians are over the age of 75. On the other hand, migrants and refugees coming to Italy tend to be young, only one in a hundred are over the age of 75.

Immigrants Boost the Economy

This means that rather than immigrants taking from Italian pensions, they work to enhance them through economic contributions. Immigrants are thought to take from society rather than give, yet more than 600,000 Italian pensions have been received thanks to immigrants.

Thirdly, because of the large population of pensioners in Italy and its large number of citizens emigrating elsewhere, holes are being left in the economy. This is where migrants come to the rescue and have filled such need to help improve the Italian economy.

This is true for many European countries with aging populations. For example, in recent years non-EU-citizens contributed around €16.5 billion ($19 billion) to the Italian economy, compared to the €12.6 billion ($14.5 billion) they received. These figures further clarify how migrants benefit Italy.

Creating an Environment for Immigrants to Thrive

Integration is key to the success of migrants in Italy. As of now, it is mostly small towns taking on the task of integrating and housing immigrants; these communities accomplish such a feat in the face of adversity and negative perceptions. As a result, they truly are paving the way for immigrant integration.

With the rate at which Italians emigrate elsewhere, small Italian towns in the south of Italy have heavily relied on immigrants to breathe life back into increasingly stagnant areas. In turn, immigrants have begun to rebuild the sense of community and home in places they were once unwelcome.

In times where immigrant lives are being threatened, it is imperative to create safe spaces and communities where immigrants can integrate without the threat of persecution. It is time for the rest of Italy to do just these measures, and reap the benefits brought about by immigration.

– Trelawny Robinson
Photo: Google

Refugee CrisisOn June 20, the world stood in solidarity with migrants and asylum seekers in observation of World Refugee Day, a time to consider the refugee crisis.

The occasion came at a pivotal time in the U.S, as public outcries about border practices separating families reached a high. This refugee crisis stems from the Trump administration’s use of separation as a deterrent for crossing the border in combination with the administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy, which requires immediate arrest for those crossing illegally. More than 2,300 kids have been separated from their families.

Nine facts about refugees

  1. More people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict than at any other time since World War II. The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis to date.  At the end of 2017, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution on grounds of race, religion, political opinion and violence or conflict.
  1. Half of the refugees are under the age of 18. In some countries, including the U.S., migrant kids are even forced to represent themselves in a court of law.
  1. Under international law, refugees are not allowed to be forced back to their home countries. This law places an obligation for the state to not return a refugee to “the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
  1. Developing countries host 86 percent of the world’s refugees. The most popular host countries are Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran and Ethiopia.
  1. More than half of the world’s refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Approximately one in five displaced persons come from Syria, where conflict has created an intense refugee crisis.
  1. Saudi Arabia does not register migrants as international refugees. This may not seem like a big deal, but the policy forces migrants to go through the Saudi visa process, during which the government can deny visas and deport individuals. If the individuals were registered as refugees, it would be illegal for the Saudi government to deport them under international law.
  1. Australia’s military blocks refugees before they reach its shores. The practice is coined as Operation Sovereign Borders. Military officials patrol waters to intercept migrants and send them to India or Indonesia. If migrant boats make it to Australia, its passengers are not allowed to stay on the mainland while their asylum cases are processed. Instead, they are sent to processing centers on the island of Naura. Human Rights Watch has begun to shut down such facilities.

  1. In one French town, it is illegal to feed refugees. The northern regions of France used to be home to a refugee settlement called the Jungle, which served as a temporary camp for thousands of migrants seeking asylum across the English Channel in the U.K. In 2016, however, authorities closed the site due to health and terrorism concerns. To ensure the camp remain dismantled, the city’s mayor enacted decrees banning organizations from giving food to any migrants.
  1. Germany has welcomed asylum-seekers in a way to revitalize run-down towns. The German law guarantees the right to asylum for all persons who flee political persecution.  Additionally, any unaccompanied migrant under the age of 18 is provided with a legal guardian to act on his or her behalf and to help navigate the asylum process.

With numbers of refugees rising, the world is faced with a great task of amending practices and treating all persons with respect. Many point to dealing with the root issue of migration rather than adjusting policy and procedure. This view is misinformed, however, as intervention in the home country is often very difficult, controversial and unsuccessful. Instead, we ought to come together as cohabitants of the planet to bring about positive change surrounding this global refugee crisis.

– Jessie Serody
Photo: Flickr

Seven Facts About Migrant Children in China
The world’s largest migration, known as the ‘floating population,’ has not only affected China’s economic reform, but has shaped millions of children. In 2017, a
report stated that China has an “estimated 287 million rural migrant workers” to look for greater job opportunities. UNICEF has approximated that nearly 100 million children have been affected by this change, and many put in harm. Here are seven facts about migrant children in China.

7 Facts About Migrant Children in China

  1. According to the journal, “Chinese Education and Society,” 35.81 million children of those affected by the migration migrate to the city with their parents, while around 70 million were left behind in their rural hometowns.
  2. Migrant children who move to the cities often lack the same access to social services as other children such as: education, healthcare and support. This lack occurs due to the Hukou system, a system that registers one in the hometown that he or she was born, and prohibits those outside of the city to receive the same benefits as their urban-hukou-holding counterparts.
  3. Many children are left behind in the countryside and often have little to no family support; in fact, most are raised by their grandparents and have little contact with their parents. According to a 2013 survey in Shandong, “75 percent of [left-behind children’s] parents visited home just once a year during the Spring Festival.”
  4. There are around 36 million minors who will join the next generation of migrant workers. Many included in the new generation of migrant laborers — the children of current migrant workers — have a strong desire to assimilate to the city. However, many of their urban-hukou-holding counterparts do not view these populations as “one of them.”
  5. A study conducted in 2013 showed that of 300 Beijing public and migrant schools compared to that of rural schools in Shaanxi, rural schools had twice the amount of qualified teachers than migrant schools in Beijing.
  6. The Chinese government recognized that migration brought numerous negative consequences to many migrant children. Although the State Council passed the State Council’s Decision on Reforming and Developing Elementary Education, the State Council stated, “We should pay more attention to resolve the problems of migrant children to have compulsory education…We should adopt various ways to resolve the problems and protect migrant children’s right to have compulsory education in laws.”
  7. Numerous NGOs have worked with the government to improve conditions for migrant children. For example, UNICEF has began working on a pilot project targeted at improving migrant children’s access to education and healthcare in the city.

Room to Grow

These facts about migrant children in China represent migration’s profound impact on a country and its people. Although China has made leaps and strides to recognize the issue, there is still work to be done to ensure that the next generation receive the same benefits and opportunities as any other child.  

– Emma Martin
Photo: Flickr

A Journey to Stay: Migration and Industry in the South Pacific
Migration led to the population of the South Pacific Islands, along with innovation to sail against the wind. The islands developed a unique history, language, and culture and migration and industry built the South Pacific nations. There are challenges facing the islands, but people are rising up to face them. 

What are the South Pacific Islands?

The South Pacific includes about 10,000 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean that, based on their ethnic geographic history, can be further broken down into Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. 

About 3,400 years ago, people left land and started sailing, and the wind brought these new settlers to many remote islands such as Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. Eventually, this exploration stopped for about 2,000 years due to a lack of technology to sail against the wind. Once the technology was developed, many continued their migration and industrialization in the South Pacific to explore and settle the rest of Oceania to Tahiti, Hawaii and New Zealand.

From the 16th to 18th Century, the Europeans began to make infrequent and accidental discoveries of the islands that helped add to the narrative of wealth in unknown lands. It was not until the 18th Century that Europeans began an organized colonization effort in the South Pacific Islands. By 1980, most of the South Pacific Islands had reached independence.

Recent Migration

The general consensus is that people are happy on the islands and few leave unless searching for work or education. However, due to an increase in dangerous weather and rising seas, many are faced with a possibility of being forced out. An estimated 10 tropical cyclones are predicted to hit the islands between November and April each year.

While, there is no international law that recognizes people leaving on account of weather changes, talk of a new refugee has begun. On Tuvalu, it is estimated that migration will increase 70 percent by 2055, and already about 23 percent of citizens on Kiribati have migrated due to climate stressors, 41 percent for work and about 40 percent may migrate if flooding or climate changes worsen.


Many of the islands face similar challenges — islands possess limited natural resources, a distance from larger markets and a greater susceptibility to external factors such as natural disasters. Despite these challenges though, tourism and other businesses are becoming a strong reality for many.

Larger islands such as Fiji, Samoa and French Polynesia have already begun to build a strong tourism industry. Fiji, in particular, is partnering its tourism with oceanic sustainability — a priority for many. Some tourism operators engage tourists with local communities by bringing them to view the Shark Reef Marine Reserve or visit villages away from the popular resorts.

Leaders in the Pacific Islands encourage entrepreneurialism, but efforts in the past have had mixed results, often beginning with loans and ending with shut-downs due to lack of payment. Currently, a refocus on education and training has started to take place, and informal polling has pointed out the importance of community in building businesses and highlighted microfinance for the future.

Migration and Industry in the South Pacific

Migration and industry in the South Pacific work to change islanders’ lives for the better. Australia still looks at many Pacific Islands as recipients rather than providers, which often detracts from viewing these islands as loci for businesses. To combat this perception, the Australian government is challenging financial institutions to sign a memorandum that will promote private sector development through financial inclusion.

Migration and industry in the South Pacific are of key importance. The islands are faced with finding their innovative selves to develop businesses and new technologies to avoid migration.

– Natasha Komen
Photo: Flickr

Rescuing Migrants Crossing the Mediterranean Sea
For thousands of years, the Mediterranean Sea has been a giver of life to those who settle near its shores. Today, the body of water is seen as a gateway to a better life for many migrants fleeing violence and poverty. But their journey does not end at the first sight of Mediterranean. It is estimated by The Mediterranean Situation, an organization which monitors migrant activity in the Mediterranean, that over 16,000 migrants have died or gone missing crossing the Mediterranean Sea between 2018 and 2014.

Migrants Crossing the Mediterranean Sea

Small overcrowded boats are often used by thugs and smugglers who charge over a thousand dollars per person for abusive transportation from Africa to Europe. These boats, piloted by unskilled captains, are not built for open water travel or to withstand the ever-changing weather of the Mediterranean Sea. This is why countries most affected by the smuggling activities are prioritizing the rescue of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Rescuing migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea is no easy task — especially if your nation is split by a power vacuum caused by a civil war. Libya is a popular starting point for many migrants who plan to cross over the sea to Italy. Aside from being geographically close to Italy, the Libyan government and its navy are underfunded and trained. This status makes it difficult to thoroughly patrol the north African nation’s coastline.

Italy has taken the brunt of migrants crossing the Mediterranean with nearly 120,000 migrants arriving to its borders in 2017, and almost 190,000 in 2016. The migrant crisis was one of the most important issues during the recent Italian election, which helped to bring a coalition government of two eurosceptic parties to power.

Governments and Charities

Rescuing migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea is still important to Italy; in fact, $52 million has been pledged to increase Libya’s capacity to combat human smuggling through 2020.

State governments are not the only actors attempting to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Charities, such as the Spanish Proactiva Open Arms, patrol the Mediterranean Sea searching for migrants in need of rescue. Indeed, Proactiva Open Arms’ mission in the  Mediterranean has saved over 26,000 lives. Due to the organization’s claims that migrants undergo human-rights abuses when returned to Libya, Proactiva Open Arms often brings rescued migrants to shore in Europe.

According to international maritime law, all vessels, private or otherwise, must rescue those in need. The vessel’s origin does not mean that the rescued people are now the responsibility of its national origin; but where the rescued people are put ashore does. This has put Proactiva Open Arms in conflict with the Italian government.

Rescue Efforts and Proactiva Open Arms

When Proactiva Open Arms volunteers and their boat brought migrants to Italy in April 2017, the volunteers were arrested and their boat impounded. The Italian government sought to press charges against the volunteers for bringing the migrants to Italy and not back to Libya, but a Sicilian judge disagreed. The judge agreed with the Proactiva Open Arms volunteers who claimed that Lyiba does not have the proper resources to help the migrants and that they would face abuse as a consequence.

Rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean is a messy business. Countries such as Italy do not want to see people die at sea at the hands of neglectful smugglers, but they also have trouble dealing with the influx of migrants at home. Charities want to help people who are taken advantage of and help them to a better life; but oftentimes these organizations are not always supported. This difficult task does not seem to let up any time soon, and could possibly get worse.

A combined effort is needed to protect people. More should be done to lessen the need for people to flee from their homes, and governments need to step up to protect the human rights of those in need — especially to save helpless children at sea.

– Nick DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Beijing
Where media centers around the progressive, global standpoints, over 43 million people who survive on less than 2,300 yuan ($350 a year), bustle their way through the busy streets of China. This eye-opening issue of poverty is especially troublesome (and prevalent) in the city of Beijing, and is not alone on the list of unsettling facts about poverty within the city. Unfortunately, poverty in Beijing is a fact of life for many residents.

10 Facts About Poverty in Beijing

  1. Five hundred million people — 40 percent of the population in China — get by on less than $5.50 a day. This is the cost of a single specialty coffee in many cities, including Beijing which is one of the more expensive cities in China.
  2. Premier Li Keqiang wishes to move 100 million rural residents into the cities by 2020. He claims that “urban life brings higher standards of living” and it “increases domestic consumption to rebalance China’s export-reliant economy.” Though the government did not want these residents to move into major cities such as Beijing, subsequent influx was difficult to control.
  3. The government of Beijing disliked this movement and capped its population, along with destroying entire city blocks in order to remove current migrants and other vulnerable people. Beijing is attempting to push these people to smaller cities like Liaocheng, Zhengzhou and Ankang.
  4. About 50 percent of immigrants struggle to find stable jobs in these small cities because of the unfamiliarity and absence of social networks. These people are incentivized to move based on the promises of expenses — such as housing — paid by the government.
  5. If land is seized by the government during this movement, owners will only receive a pay of about 5 to 10 percent of the land’s actual value, if any money at all. This tends to happen often, due to the limited property rights of the villagers.
  6. China’s government has spent the majority of its money on infrastructure, in order to incentivize voluntary moves of residents to Beijing rather than forcing constituents from their homes. However, this plan may drive China further into debt, rather than helping its economy in the country as a whole.
  7. Beijing’s government has a more committed approach to fighting poverty than Hong Kong. The leadership wishes to put an end to the extreme hardship by 2020 — a key fact about poverty in Beijing.
  8. Beijing adjusts its poverty line for inflation each year. As of 2017, 43 million of the 1.3 billion fell below the line. Beijing’s poverty line rests at 2,300 yuan ($350 a year), but the World Bank’s global standards for extreme poverty is set at $700 a year.
  9. China has been in the lead for the world’s poverty-reduction efforts for four decades. The population pulled over 700 million people out of poverty so far. This is great news, but the world should continue its optimism with caution — China is at risk of its efforts becoming lost due to corruption of poverty alleviation funds.
  10. China allocated over 140 billion yuan ($20.5 billion) toward poverty alleviation in 2017 alone. Beijing uses this money to develop industries (such as tourism and e-commerce), bring more education and occupational training to children and develop public health services in poor areas.

Strong Momentum

Though the city clearly has a few more hurdles to jump in the race to alleviate poverty by 2020, the key facts about poverty in Beijing prove that the city is well on its way to reaching its goals.

Through migration, dedication and funding, the government of Beijing has proved its commitment to helping those struggling to get back on their feet and find stable jobs in the ever-growing economy.

– Raven Patzke 

Photo: Flickr

What is the Current State of Poverty in Haiti?

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the developing world. Despite this, the Trump Administration is abruptly ending the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. The humanitarian program allowed about 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the U.S. since the 2010 earthquake which killed 150,000 people.

Haitians will be expected to leave the U.S. by July 2019 or face deportation. This is devastating news for Haitians who earn money in the U.S. to send to their families and for those receiving an education.

Poverty in Haiti

According to the World Bank, life expectancy for Haitians is only 57 years. Less than half of the population is literate and only about one child in five of secondary-school age actually attends secondary school.

Health conditions are poor and about one-fourth of the population has access to safe water. The population continues to grow at a high rate, estimated at almost 200,000 people per year, with the overwhelming majority living in extreme poverty.

Key factors of poverty in Haiti include political instability, inadequate growth in private investment, underinvestment in human capital, and poverty traps including environmental degradation, crime, systematic human rights violations, and outward migration.

Steps to be taken

  1. Strengthen essential public sector institutions, improve coordination and consultation within government, and re-establish and consolidate political stability.
  2. Strengthen macroeconomic stability and reduce distortions in order to encourage private sector investment and increase productivity.
  3. Improve the quality of government spending, invest in the provision of basic human needs, and raise the level of human capital.
  4. Ration the assistance provided by external donors.

There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but instead of abandoning Haitians when they need help the most, the U.S. needs to directly help with overturning their situation of dire poverty.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

Difference Between an Immigrant and a RefugeeWhat is the difference between an immigrant and a refugee? The terms migrant and refugee are often used interchangeably despite the fact that there are definitive differences between the two.

A migrant is a person who consciously makes a choice to leave their homeland and seek a better life in another state. These individuals or families can take the time to learn about the country to which they intend on relocating and prepare themselves as much as possible for the journey. While the process varies from country to country, it usually involves screening, pre-departure training, and obtaining work permits. The process can take months, if not years, and migration has become more common in the last two centuries.

According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

This definition falls under international law, and therefore a refugee that arrives on foreign soil looking for safety and claiming refugee status cannot be deported immediately. Their case will be reviewed before there is a chance they are sent back their homeland, as it must be considered whether their safety is in jeopardy. This is a United Nations convention that was ratified by 144 countries.

Not all migrants are refugees, but sometimes refugees can fall under the category of a migrant. Knowing the difference between an immigrant and a refugee is especially important for international law and domestic law. Immigration policies and requirements typically only apply to the country that established them. Basically, they are different from country to country and are categorized under domestic law. For example, the application process for migrating into the United States is a different application process than applying to Japan.

However, a refugee is protected by international law, therefore, while legal documentation can be lacking, countries have an obligation to abide by these laws. Even the countries that didn’t ratify the convention are still expected to respect it because it falls under the protection of basic human rights.

There are still similarities between the two, which is why people might confuse them. In both cases, each party will have to either assimilate or find some way to adapt to life in a new country. They will face a shock in culture, the workforce and language. Entering a new country, whether by choice or due to persecution, will always be a frightening process.

Either way, despite the difference between an immigrant and a refugee, both groups deserve a chance at feeling a sense of security within their lives.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Migration and PovertyThe relationship between migration and poverty may seem a little far fetched. From a general perspective, the two ideas seem disparate. An immigration/emigration officer for deals with people moving from one country to another (sometimes across entire continents). Alternately, poverty (and the alleviation thereof) deals with providing food, water and shelter. However, the two are not just intertwined; poverty is often the causative agent for migration.

The history of human migration and poverty starts at the very dawn of humankind, when our ancestors have still lived in Africa. Back then, early humans did not have the technologies that we have today, such as a writing system or mathematics.

Why is this important? It’s important because back then, human tribes already knew (at some primitive level at least) that in order to find a location with better resources, they needed to move to somewhere else. Consequently, humans have spread (and adapted) to all corners of the planet.

Even today, people generally migrate in order to have better access to resources, be they food or work opportunities. For people living in poverty, such as migrants from Ireland during the potato crisis, it was food. For people who are not direly poor, such as academic migrants, they migrate in order to find academic or employment resources.

But then, one can ask: does migration benefit everyone? Surely, once all the land has been populated and with the academic job market being ferocious, there should be no migration? Well, unfortunately, the topic is infinitely more complex than that.

Thousands of years ago, the only useful resource was food. Nowadays, “wealth” is a complex term that encapsulates a variety of resources: food, money, familial relationships, job prospects, culture and so on.

Some people leave countries because they don’t like their culture, (Switzerland was once described as a prison) because of familial relationships, (U.S. Americans moving across the country to be with family) or for job prospects (Poles moving to the U.K.). Because these migrations have been going on for literally thousands of years, we now live in a world where everyone has traces of multiple ethnicities.

Immigration and emigration has provided individuals with the ability to gain important skills and responsibilities in different communities. Additionally, population movement can help thousands find safer homes. Consequently, mindlessly stopping migration from happening can prevent these individuals from not only rising up in life, but also from achieving basic safety and survival. In fact, MarketWatch recently posted an article explaining why the U.S. still needs immigrants.

This is why migration and poverty are connected closely to one another. Foreign policy should definitely consider this relationship when discussing poverty reduction. The problem of migration cannot be halted by scribbling a few laws in place. However, with the alleviation of poverty, fewer people will find the need to emigrate for reasons of survival and resource necessity.

Michal Burgunder

Photo: Flickr