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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Migration: Your views
Would-be migrants to Britain awaiting appointments
We discussed global migration in our weekly phone-in programme Talking Point.

International migration affects every country and is now at the centre of a growing debate.

With only days to go before the biggest enlargement in the EU's history, Tony Blair has ordered a "top-to-bottom" review of the UK's immigration system.

He said that new restrictions on the right to welfare benefits will help tackle abuses.

But Tory leader Michael Howard in response accused the PM of acting in a "blind panic".

About 3% (175 million people) of the world's population live outside their country of birth.

Is Tony Blair right to review immigration? Is enough being done in the UK and around the world? Is better management possible?

Your comments:

I have compared notes and application requirements and procedures from Africa seem that much more intense
Tsitsi, UK

All you ever hear about is the negative issues of immigrants. My family and I are immigrants from Zimbabwe. We live here, legally and contributing to a government system of benefits - that even though we can't use it at the moment - in our later years when we are naturalised we will be able to.
There are countless numbers like us who arrive, and get on with it happily blending in and adopting a new way of life. There's only ever focus on the negatives of migrants. Admittedly there is a problem but proper controls should be enforced - like they are when applying from an African country.
I have compared notes and application requirements and procedures from Africa seem that much more intense than if you are from a first world country. Not all migrants are out to get your job from under your feet and wipe away your very own government benefits. We want to be your friends and find a new home.
Tsitsi, UK

I noticed the distinct lack of support from Oxford when the Kent asylum issues were being debated. The asylum seekers have succeeded in destroying this once beautiful country with fraud and depravity on a scale unprecedented in history, and the government seems happy to let them get away with it. Its about time somewhere like Oxford had a taste of just what these asylum seekers can do.
Karl Outram, Wainscott, Rochester

I think it is just humane to consider allowing people who genuinely need to resettle somewhere to do so
Andrew, Sydney, Australia
Look, if you check the population of most countries and the history of its people, you will find out that the ancestors migrated from somewhere. Countries already have their boundary regulations put in place. I think it is just humane to consider allowing people who genuinely need to resettle somewhere to do so.
Andrew, Sydney, Australia

Until such time as the inherent racism and distrust of "foreigners" within the British culture is overcome, no real progress will be made in bringing about a sensible conclusion to the debate on immigration. I have yet to hear an unbiased approach to this issue from any of our political parties.
David Black, Rainham, Kent, England

I believe that migration is an important part of this country, and without it, what state would our country be in? Everything we do, our traditions, even our beliefs, come from other countries, all helped by migration though the centuries. So why stop now? Let it continue, so that we can have an even more enriched country.
Lee Bumstead, Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

People should stay in their own countries and work for the betterment of them instead of eyeing enviously the achievements of others. Migration should be strictly controlled.
Ann Smith, Sheffield, England

Just because they are lucky and don't require a visa to travel abroad does not give them a legal right to import their crimes
Nina H, London

I've read in amazement the comments coming from some English people about the harmful effect of migration on their country, which, they reckon, is just a way of importing crime, poverty and economic abuse. Have you forgotten that you have your own criminals - murderers, paedophiles, terrorists etc - moving around the world without a worry? Surely they do not do much good to the places they go to. Just because they are lucky and don't require a visa to travel abroad does not give them a legal right to import their crimes into other countries.
Nina H, London, UK

If immigrants adapt to the laws and customs of the host country, they will contribute to the prosperity, and should be welcomed. If they don't, or represent a danger to the hosting society - terrorism - then they should be expelled.
Jose, Madrid, Spain

Migration is a minor symptom of an every growing human population. Any laws and financial support are short term and ineffective. Broad and effective birth control is needed to regulate human population. The alternative is further competition of earth's diminishing resources, disease, and war.
David, Portland, OR, USA

The immigrants, who are easily accepted, are those who respect the culture and customs of their hosts. Those who want to practice their culture should stay at home. Home is the best place for that!
Courtney Eko, Kumba, Cameroon

Keep them out.
David Kendall, United Kingdom

Less immigration equals less crime, terrorism, and chance of spreading disease. Stop immigration.
Charles, Canada

No amount of policing will stop hungry, desperate people from trying to better their circumstances
Mary Marlow, Toronto

Illegal immigration is the result of high birth rates plus underdeveloped economies and corrupt governments. No amount of policing will stop hungry, desperate people from trying to better their circumstances. Band aid solutions won't work; addressing, in a practical manner, the root reasons for illegal immigration will.
Mary Marlow, Toronto, Canada

Puerto Rico being a US territory has a problem of illegal immigration from the Dominican Republic. The US coast guards patrol the water and every law enforcement agency tries to stop people from coming in illegally. But this is not addressing the main problem. If a dam is about to break, do you keep patching the holes or do you control the flow of water? Give these folks better jobs, better pay, a better economy and a better way of life because then they wouldn't need to leave.
Mario Melendez, Puerto Rico

I would say reasons for migration are due to unfavourable situations you may find yourself in at a particular place and so then seek a place which is more favourable and accommodating.
Ulasi Paul, Bremen, Germany

Migration is only as difficult as the host country makes it
Michele Bohlšnder, Hohenkammer

Migration is only as difficult as the host country makes it. I came to Germany willing to learn the language, essential for successful integration anywhere. It proved to be an unnecessarily expensive and lengthy undertaking, while in the last ten years 'relocation specialists' have jumped on to an extremely lucrative system of exploiting newcomers. No wonder migrants are the victims of so much fear-based retaliation and resentment from the locals who don't make it easy for them to become productive citizens in the shortest possible time.
Michele Bohlšnder, Hohenkammer, Germany

I'm tired of immigrants, period. Here in Italy, immigrants have already brought waves of tension and unemployment is high as it is. They come begging for jobs and help, and we help them. But then they rise and attack our cultural values and dismantle them. Italy and all of Europe needs less immigrants before it's too late. Vive L'Italia! Viva Europa!
Dario, Ravenna, Italy

What is the matter with everyone? The British people have the NHS, unemployment benefits, income support and guidelines for this and that. I am sick to the back teeth of other nationalities hogging and abusing our system and causing delays and shortages of cash for the people who have paid into it. If you live in the UK you are here because of our laws and traditions. Don't get upset because you cannot have everything you had in your country.
Peter Berry, Portsmouth, England

Stop importing poverty and crime
John, Derbyshire

All these people do is bring the problems they are running away from. We have an overstretched health service and police force so why make it worse bringing more people here it just makes the queues and waiting lists longer and longer. They bring in complicated cultures and antiquated religious beliefs and then use money up in courts demanding their human rights when it doesn't suit to follow our laws. Stop importing poverty and crime - we can't sort out our existing problems.
John, Derbyshire

In most instances immigration lends well for better material life, but it comes at a big cost of cultural disconnection of once origin.
Ravi Sharma, Los Alts, USA

Migration is resulted to political, economic or social reasons. I believe if all the above reasons stated above are dealt with migration will definitely be minimised. I call on all political leaders to decease from war and involve in good governance to their people.
Harry Gbetuwa, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Please please stop it now
BBroomhall, W'ton

Wake up and smell the coffee - asylum seekers abuse us, not the other way round. Please please stop it now while we still have a country, a culture, and a life to call our own!
BBroomhall, W'ton, England

I've yet to encounter a city anywhere in the world as dynamic as my own (with the possible exception of London). The reason? A constant flood of the world's best, brightest, and bravest people throwing themselves into the unknown and seizing the opportunities offered by a developed country.
Patrick Froehlich, New York, USA

I find no reason why people should complain about immigrants in the UK when in actual fact there are millions of English immigrants all over the World and they have been migrating for centuries. The only reason why people complain about immigrants is lack of education.
Luwisha Martine, Manchester, England

Migration does no good to long-term separated family members
Peter Dut Angon, USA

Migration regulation is not a bad idea! I am an immigrant. The possible way to regulate migration is to bring stable governance to the targeting countries and so the regulation of migration. Migration does no good to long-term separated family members like me. I'd rather stay poor and live with my family.
Peter Dut Angon, USA (Sudanese)

If man can't dream of finding a better life then he may as well die. Let's not forget that not all who take this journey make it to the other side but that does not mean they have failed, the fact that they have moved on leaves others hoping. Even birds migrate well so why on earth can't we?
Semira Ghermai-Bucher, France

Britain is a small island - why are we the dumping ground?
Derran, Wales

Britain is a small island - why are we the dumping ground? It's not our problem or job to take in other countries' migrants. We have enough problems don't we?
Derran, Wales

Historically, migration has always brought benefits both to the migrants as well as to the host country. The US is a clear example of how immigration can enrich a country culturally, scientifically and economically. Migrants are a rare breed - 3% of the world's population have the courage and the resourcefulness to uproot themselves and to throw themselves into uncertainty with no promise of reward. The energy, skills and ideas immigrants bring can greatly benefit the host country and that country should work towards integrating them instead of marginalising them.
Rajeev Dutt, Bristol

I find it hypocritical when people in countries like Australia dislike foreigners coming to their shores when they themselves are descendants of migrants. I believe that barriers to migration are necessary but they should be based on skill and qualifications, not ethnic race or religion. Also, developed countries don't seem to be taking in sufficient asylum seekers as compared to developing and poor countries.
Arbibi Ashoy, KL

I have no problem with migration per se. In fact, my society is an immigrant one and I have friends who are more recent immigrants. It's a great way to diversify a society and often satisfies some labour needs. The problem arises when the most skilled workers from one country leave for another (from developing to developed) leaving a paucity of skilled labour in the home country. Couldn't there be some way to regulate or even, to some extent, reverse the direction of international migration to better those countries that really need their most skilled workers?
Alan, Trinidad, West Indies

We can't condemn people for wanting better lives for themselves and their families
Nick Fraser, UK
Instead of stigmatising migrants we should instead redouble our efforts to stabilise and democratise the troubled countries that most migrants flee from. Until we adequately address the very substantial inequalities in the world we can't condemn people for wanting better lives for themselves and their families.
Nick Fraser, UK

It's ironic to see the champions of free trade shocked at the idea of migration. Forcing the free transit of goods whilst resisting the movement of people is to strive towards the globalisation of poverty and injustice.
Juan Senosiain, Lafayette, California, USA

Current immigration is the result of an economic imbalance between the North and the South. The North has globalised the market place and the profits are not invested in the developing nations. Thus, emigration to the North, where the resources of the south are creating wealth, is the only option of survival for the people of the south. If those in the West who want to stop the flow of migrants they should practise fair trade and commodity prices to reflect their worth.

A large number of posters on this site advocate no restrictions to migration because, historically, we are all descendents of migrants. This attitude begs the question of space. At what point will it be realised that the UK is full and just cannot take any more people without causing a breakdown of the very societal norms that the immigrants are seeking. Historical migration does not create infinite space.
Steve, Abingdon, England

Many Europeans do not understand just how bad the world outside the EU is. They must see the horrors of Africa's civil wars, the poverties of Asia, the mass persecutions and oppressions of the Middle East. Then they will understand why so many people emigrate. They must be properly educated, they must stop living in this bubble of ignorance. Only when this happens will we be able to answer humanely and effectively how to deal with this mass migration.
I Juman, Reading, England

As much as I would like the world to be fully integrated and one community, it can't be
Catherine, Finland

As much as I would like the world to be fully integrated and one community, it can't be. Prejudice exists on all sides: the natives who want to keep their customs, amenities, jobs, and societal benefits, and immigrants who may get what they want, but ultimately few break out of the shell of the ethnic sub-communities. I think the more affluent world should just give supplies, food, and money to the developing world so that the educated have incentive to stay there and bring their countries to new heights.
Catherine, Finland

I regard it hypocritical for many in the "first-world" countries to demand that the only sure basis of successful immigration is for an immigrant to throw away his/her culture and "conform." Perhaps they need to know that the immigrant is not on the move to escape a demon within his basic nature but rather, people emigrate, loving their homeland as they do, in search of a more conducive external environment where the noble seedlings planted by their traditional cultures may bloom.
I wonder whether any one of these disconcerted individuals has ever stopped to consider the toll their privileged countries have on the less-privileged. What will they say to the man who emigrates from the chaos in Iraq?
Joe Ngatia, Kenyan (in USA)

The new arrivals must accept and assimilate, or leave
Christos Economakis, Geneva

The people, who migrated from the old world to the new, did so for the betterment of their family's lives. Today as we see in France, Germany, England, and others, migrants from Arab countries, Africa, and other arrive to abuse the system. Why is it that the Latin, Korean and Chinese migrants have progressed and assimilated? We should become more selective. The new arrivals must accept and assimilate, or leave.
Christos Economakis, Geneva, Switzerland

People cannot choose where they are born, but they should have the right to choose where they live. Some people are so afraid that we might become poor that they completely block out the fact that people all over the world need our help. I think that having a multicultural country only serves to enrich culture and for people to understand one another better. A small minority of people who have abused the system have been made into a majority by excessive media coverage. Asylum seekers and immigrants should not be used as scapegoats for our own government's problems, such as lack of funding for the health service. Learn to share with others - isn't that the first thing they taught you in school?
Victoria Gossage, Irthlingborough, UK

Let us accept and absorb, rather than reject and ignore
Elaine Harbron, Washington, England
My parents emigrated to New Zealand when I was 14, and I myself emigrated to Australia when I was 21. My personal view of migration is that we can all learn from each other and I have met many people from the Middle East and other nations such as Sri Lanka who were educated to a much higher standard than 'us English'. Let us accept and absorb, rather than reject and ignore.
Elaine Harbron, Washington, England

I personally do not see anything wrong with the free flow of people from one country to another. In fact, I see this phenomenon as something that has the potential to foster more cooperation and tolerance among people from various cultural backgrounds. Despite the dangers posed by ignorance and xenophobia, I opine that this will eventually lead to the genesis of a truly "global culture".
Alexei Reyes, Mandaluyong, Philippines

Living in Denmark, what I find most surprising about the anti-immigration feelings is the lack of empathy for the suffering of others. However, I must point out that not all Danes share the views of Mark's party, though it seems to be a fact that small countries with high standards of living act as incubators for prejudice.
Mike Wellings, Copenhagen, Denmark

I think economic migration and outsourcing are two sides of the same coin. Either people move to jobs, or jobs move to people; it's that simple. As long as there exists huge wage differentials, these movements will not stop.
Kpdodo, Mauritius

Do not migrate! Stay and make your mother-country a better place for the next generation. How else will it improve otherwise? Stay and work towards a better tomorrow. Why immigrate to countries whose previous immigrants ostracize you, marginalize you and denigrate your dignity as a human being? Why do you want to be a second class citizen? Why don't you fight to make you birth place a better place?
Arthur Chan, Hong Kong

Migration on the scale we see today is unprecedented
Graham Davies, Plymouth

Those who claim that migration has always occurred and should therefore be accepted are forgetting that migration on the scale we see today is unprecedented, that most migrations in history have been violent invasions, and that indigenous peoples have usually resisted the immigrants by force. Migration may be traditional, but so is defending one's native lands.
Graham Davies, Plymouth, UK

Most Northern Europeans dream of having a holiday home and even retiring somewhere in the sun. Many villages in Wales and rural England as well as the popular foreign resorts have had their culture swamped by affluent city dwellers. And these same holiday homers and expats then condemn migrants who only seem to want to take their place in the cities they are so keen to escape.
Dave Worrall, Swansea, South Wales

Some people in rich countries don't realize that for people from the poorest countries, migration is the only choice if they want to survive or live a better life. None of us can choose our nationality, birth place, religion, sex...
Lucie Stankova, Ostrava, The Czech Republic

The dynamics of market economy has brought down the physical and communication barriers that have existed before, and in this present information age, all people want to have better living conditions and easy way of life. When one is confronted by unemployment and inequality at home, naturally the tendency to migrate comes to the fore. Why not?
Srinviasan Toft, Humlebśk, Denmark

I think everyone should migrate at least for a few years to another country. It will open one's mind and view on the world.
Marc, Brussels, Belgium

Non-prosperous nations cause people to leave on what is often a lonely and melancholy mission of seeking a better life
Brian B, USA

Migration is such a mixed issue: prosperous nations need immigrants, yet often view them as a threat. Non-prosperous nations cause people to leave on what is often a lonely and melancholy mission of seeking a better life, while benefiting from the profits those emigrants send back to their native lands.

The driving engine of this phenomenon is a free market economy, which unfortunately does not provide for equality in the spread of prosperity. Those who view migration as a threat should support efforts to equalize prosperity in the world, thus reducing the incentive for migration in the first place. Familiarity between interacting cultures need not bring contempt. If given half a chance, bonds can easily develop, which prove that people throughout the world have more in common than we tend to remember.
Brian B, USA

We don't want you
Cari, USA

Personally, I don't care if migrants are discouraged from coming to the USA. Stay home. We don't want you. We have had more than our fair share of migrants and we've seen a drastic decline in morals and culture because of the current ethnic mixtures. We need to close our borders and give the current migrants a chance to better assimilate before we allow even more in.
Cari, USA

As the son of economic migrants, I can safely say that England has been a haven for the Irish who migrated here in the 1950's/60's. I have benefited from my parents migration, however it is apparent that this Government's current 'managed migration' policies are ill-managed and are a fundamental factor in perpetuating bad feeling within the indigenous population. That coupled with suppression of debate on the subject against people who can make sound economic and social arguments against mass immigration is only destined to make the situation worse.

Therefore, perhaps some countries may need to take remedial action, a bit like Denmark and Holland if they are to stave of problems in the future. At the time of writing, I have not heard any international condemnation against Holland or Denmark so I think the UK should follow suite.
Seamus Dunne, Watford, England

The countries who are considering themselves as developed are only became developed by the immigrants. For example USA, Canada and many others - the immigrants worked hard and brought those countries to that position. So migration should not be stopped. To live away from your birth place/country is very difficult due to culture, ethnic, weather, religion etc. But for the betterment for own and the country (new) it is nice step.
Muhammad Ashiq, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

If I completely throw away my culture and identity, I can't function as a confident citizen
Sherri, Toronto
I'm an Iranian doctor and I've been living in Canada for five years. I didn't believe in living in a small version of Iran and I was eager to learn the culture and language from Canadians but like almost everyone I know I've been pushed to my own community. I still socialize with immigrants from other communities and they have exactly the same experiences with Canadians. I'm not sure about the reasons but from our experience it's not lack of interest by immigrants. I don't think our cultural root is the problem. Our similarities are definitely more than our differences and I also think that being different doesn't necessarily means being wrong. I'm not Christian but I can enjoy Christmas and I can't see why other communities' cultural events and values are viewed as a problem whether we like it or not we change but it usually takes place with a certain pace and to a certain point. If I completely throw away my culture and identity, I can't function as a confident citizen.
Sherri, Toronto, Canada

It is nice and warm and cuddly to believe that all peoples on Earth should coexist and be deliriously happy with one another; and yet the truth is all people hold incalculable resentments and prejudices/justifications for disliking their fellows. People today migrate to the demonic, disgusting, satanic, villainous, blasphemous, Godless, neo colonialist West for one reason: money! And when the West falls people will migrate to wherever the money is.
In my view, many new immigrants to the US are overwhelmingly desirous of money and not political freedom. And these people care not that they will never contribute to the betterment of their new homeland. That is not why they are here.
Most perversely though is the fact the US and other liberal countries care not either: they too are only interested in the economic benefits to be had from cheap labour. In the end greed will consume us all and that is the best part of this story and most surely the end.
Jarconay, US

First I'd like to say that comments coming from the Australian suggesting closing their borders are quite unfounded and two-faced. Lest it be forgotten 'white Australia' is in itself made entirely of immigrants who encroached, took over and marginalised the indigenous population. Now that they fear they are on the receiving end of such treatment they protest.
I do agree that immigration has to be managed and controlled, but to use draconian measures will only serve to discourage immigrants who actually have something to give and attract the 'desperate' ones or scroungers as you would have it.

Do people not realize illegal immigration is a crime?
Patrick Elyas, Los Angeles

As the son of two legal, qualified, English-speaking immigrants from Egypt, I naturally sympathize with most legal migrants. However, immigration in this world has spun out of control. Do people not realize illegal immigration is a crime? It is unfair to both the native population and the legal immigrant population. Hispanic-Americans in America and Maghrebians in France and Spain are growing quickly. They are becoming disenchanted and in some cases, have high rates of unemployment. Immigration, in its legal form, should be encouraged. Immigration should be afforded equally to all, yet it should not grow to a point where it creates a brain drain in the country of origin and/or socio-economic problems in the destination.
Patrick Elyas, Los Angeles, CA (Egyptian-American)

All of the top 10 countries which are producing refugees are in a state of crisis. Many of these crises are further exacerbated by a lack of international interest and engagement in the conflicts. We should not see this two problems in isolation. It is far cheaper to solve the chronic crises of the world than to turn a blind eye to people's suffering.
Paul Simkin, Nairobi, Kenya

I think all those people who have suggested migrants should adopt the cultures and traditions of their host nation should firstly keep in mind what people of their host nations did/do when visiting/colonising other countries around the world in the past. Some people become paranoid about this subject and think they are suddenly going to become part of something imposed on them by different people. You need to come out of your bubbles and look around you - everyone is different.

It's not immigration that is a problem, the problem is "Mass Immigration". To integrate takes time so the rate of Immigration should be proportionate to that.
Dave, UK

I am a Brit. and a migrant. I have migrated around the world with my family in search of employment in several countries, Currently I'm in USA. The big advantage I have is that I'm pink skinned. Therefore, I'm not called a migrant, I'm an ex-patriot! Migration is how we all arrived physically where we are today. Our forefathers never spontaneously appeared they migrated from Africa.
Clive, USA

People with needed skills should be allowed to live where the skills are needed. What is not acceptable is the ones who arrive e.g. in Netherlands, simply to be unemployable and milk the welfare system.
Karin, Delft, Netherlands

As an American living in the UK, I'll pack up and go home when the thousands of British people living in the US do the same. But then, most British people who object to immigration don't mean me - after all, I'm white and speak English.
Anonymous, London

Interchange occurring between nations is good
Lutecildo Fanticelli, Carazinho

The world needs migration. It's a natural process. Of course, every country has a limit to receive people, therefore, it is necessary to control the flux but migration is necessary. Migrants enrich the culture. Interchange occurring between nations is good.
Lutecildo Fanticelli, Carazinho, Brazil

As the son of Mexican immigrants, I naturally think that migration is a potentially good thing for both the migrants and the host nation itself. My dad came to the US with nothing but a crazy dream of someday owning his own business. He succeeded, and has since passed that business on to my brother and I. So whenever I hear the hysterical cries of the anti-immigration lobby here in the US, I simply smile and think of my old dad: The one-time poor migrant who worked his can off to make his dream come true, and succeeded to the betterment of himself, his family, and his new country.
George Zamora, NYC, USA

If they step out of line, attempt to impose their ways on their hosts or sponge off of them, then they should go
Sanjay Said, London

I have spent many years building a comfortable life for my family. This includes a large house and stable business. If a guest out stays their welcome or an employee steps out of line then I make them go - they have no right to stay. It is the same with migrants - if they step out of line, attempt to impose their ways on their hosts or sponge off of them, then they should go. If they have something to offer that it positive, then they are welcome.
Sanjay Said, London, England

I work in Dubai in a Multinational company. I often hear Brits and Australians complaining about Indians/Pakistanis/South Africans taking 'their' jobs in... Dubai!
Omar, UAE

In the modern world almost all the countries need to be dependent on other countries when it comes to using human resources. Migration is just a game in which both the parties win, that is, both the countries from which professionals migrate and the countries which employ them benefit mutually.
Albert P'Rayan, Kigali, Rwanda

Migration is a part of human nature. We are curious and inquisitive. All the Socio-economic, religious and political reasons come next. It is interesting to see that the people who wanted to close borders are the ones who aggressively occupied that land. By the way who created the word 'Globalization'?
Aruna, USA (still an Indian citizen)

Migration only works where migrants blend in and respect the culture
Mark H, UK
Migration only works where migrants blend in and respect the culture of their hosts. Absorbing aspects the hosts' culture and patriotism and showing gratitude and loyalty endears people. Creating enclaves, isolating yourselves and trying to change everything to suit your own religion and culture creates animosity and racism.
Mark H, UK

I think that people generally misinterpret migration. In Africa, for example, countries were formed at the Conference of Berlin and had absolutely nothing to do with the populations on the African continent. As a result, you will tend to see lots of immigration between countries because the boundaries weren't formed by the native peoples and that often people have family in different countries (or probably a better word would be former colony). There are lots of reasons why migration happens. I don't understand why people are so paranoid of it. Or, in some cases, I'm not sure why migrants are so paranoid of everyone else.
Jim, US

Multiculturalists always makes me laugh when they mock 'Little Englanders' by their astonishing self-defeating logic. In the name of diversity, surely 'Little England' is just as valid a culture as any other. If 'Little Englanders' have no time for immigrants and other cultures, that is their prerogative, and multiculturalists should tolerate (and even champion) this 'cultural difference'. But of course, hypocritically they don't, thus revealing themselves to be the very same intolerant bigots they supposedly despise.
Sammy G, London

To respond to this idea that being a 'Little Englander' is a valid cultural choice morally equivalent to subscribing to the agenda of 'multiculturalism'. Being a 'Little Englander' (not a term I particularly like) implies believing that certain kinds of people (in this case British people) are of greater intrinsic worth than foreigners. This position is rooted in xenophobia and ignorance and implicitly rejects the notion of universal human rights and values. Adherents of multiculturalism simply believe that all human beings have equal rights and deserve equal treatment and respect. These are not simply different 'cultural positions' as some would like to reduce the argument to.
Nick Fraser, United Kingdom

Everybody has to earn his own life and must not be burden on others
Cem Kecik, Ankara, Turkey
Asylum seekers have been one of the most important problems of the developed countries for decades. Nobody has the right to demand that western countries open their borders and accept all of the immigrants for the sake of humanity. It is good to help persecuted people to cure their wounds but like everything generosity has limits. One cannot afford all of his earnings to help the needy people. Capitalism has its own principals and the most prominent of them states that "everybody has to earn his own life and must not be burden on others."
Cem Kecik, Ankara/Turkey

The very fact that people from all over the World can write their replies in English on this website shows us clearly that the World is a common community. What right do we then have to restrict the movement of peoples? Could it be that us Westerners are simply afraid to endanger the comfortable lifestyle we enjoy in order to give other people a chance?
Morgan Daly, Birmingham, UK

Migration in itself is not a big problem, although it does tend to strain the welfare state. What is a problem is mixing people who are very different, in terms of culture, language, religion and, yes, race. I can remember as a child how I looked up to the great historical figures of my country, and imagined myself in their places. This was easy because they were so similar in every way to me. Without this similarity, I don't believe I'd have felt such a strong bond to them, nor to my country. After all, does anyone feel as strong a bond with a stranger in the street as with their own family?

Others should really give a chance to any who is willing to work hard
Kin, Davis, California, USA
I personally am an immigrant living in America, currently going to college in order to earn a better living. Like me and many others, migrants come and leave round the world so to seek a better life that they could not get in their native country. Others should really give a chance to any who is willing to work hard.
Kin, Davis, California, USA

Immigrants should be helped and encouraged. Otherwise they will attempt to form networks and black market economies, thus creating a hidden third-world country within their new homeland. One need only look at the example of the Muslims, or even the current disastrous state of California, to see the detrimental result of unmanaged immigration.
Kevin Kirby, San Francisco, US

What was the point of the peace after WWII that granted each and every ethnic group their own society and democracy when now each and every society is becoming a melting pot of different ethnic groupings. Multi-culturalism doesn't work, it will create divisions and fractions within a society and possibly lead to violence. Look at my own country of Northern Ireland! The government has since the beginning of this state taken a multi-cultural approach and it has divided the communities further. Each community does not trust the other. They live parallel lives yet our minute divisions lead to democracy on an ethnic basis and violence. England is doomed unless the migrants can assimilate into English society and English society is willing to accept them. Otherwise you are simply building another Yugoslavia and waiting for future ethnic conflict.
Ross Brown, Belfast UK

Just wanted to point out that according to your own figures, despite asserting that 'more' people are on the move, as a proportion of total world population, migrants remain roughly static at 2 per cent. The proportional growth is minimal. This begs the questions, from whence comes the moral panic...
Viv Jackson, London, UK

What European culture is not the result of migration over millennia?
Will Coley, Brooklyn, NY USA
I don't understand why Europeans want to drastically restrict immigration when European birth rates are declining rapidly. When the population ages, who is going to sustain the tax base to provide the services they have come to expect as a right? Europe needs someone to work and pay taxes in the future. I know there are concerns about supposedly "diluting culture" but what European culture is not the result of migration over millennia? If immigration and change is inevitable and necessary, why create such hardship and pain for so many immigrant and refugee families?
Will Coley, Brooklyn, NY USA

People who successfully migrate are showing what a motivated person can achieve. Those who whinge should consider getting of their a***s and making a better life for themselves!
Graham, UK

Personally, I hate the fact that there is a McDonald's in almost every major city in the world. The cultural mixing waters down the very distinct and interesting cultures of the world.
Linda, USA

It's funny how no-one ever mentions the illegal Australians and New Zealanders that are in this country - is it because of their skin colour?
Hamilton, London

Wake up and smell the coffee (another import!) - our supposedly unique culture is a melting pot
Carole, Bristol

Can I ask all the 'little Englanders' this. If you go out for a meal, where do you go? For a curry, pizza, kebab, Thai etc I would expect and what would you drink with it? Wine or lager most likely. All derived from other cultures. Even our supposedly English fish and chips were introduced by Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the 19th century. Wake up and smell the coffee (another import!) - our supposedly unique culture is a melting pot.
Carole, Bristol, UK

I am a 'little Englander', living in the East End of London, and in the last 15 - 20 years there has been a high increase in migrants, with virtually no integration between communities outside the work place. It's too much; London is rapidly ceasing to be an English city. And I think that's a shame.
Ian, London

The great Mahatma Ghandi said to the English: It is time you realised that you are a guest in someone else's house and it is past the time that you should go home. When will time be called in this already over populated Island?
Roy, UK

Roy, the English occupying India were an aggressive, violent force. They should have left years before Ghandi said those words. The immigrants working in Britain are not violent, they did not come here to take our resources, indeed very often all they receive is abuse. There is no comparison, so why do you make one?
Morgan Daly, Birmingham, UK

The more migrants the better. Otherwise we end up with atrocities like so called ethnic cleansing which depend on an unfounded world view of 'us' and 'them'.
Norman Paterson, St Andrews, Scotland

The most important historical migration brought the Trojans to Rome, Britain and most other places throughout the world. That was beneficial to evolution. The slave trade spread the opposite effect. Much depends on who you are and where you go.
David de Vere Webb, Washington, UK

Surely we should be looking at how to protect these people and help them integrate slightly into our society without having them lose their own beliefs and values
Bethan Jones, Wrexham

As an archaeologist, I find it extremely amusing and somewhat saddening over how history and ethnicity is being used against migration. We do indeed have borders today but migration is a natural part of the human life system. We are so comfortable on our Western backsides and all too easily condemn those who are escaping harsher lives. Surely we should be looking at how to protect these people and help them integrate slightly into our society without having them lose their own beliefs and values. The world is there for everybody, we do not own land as we think we do.
Bethan Jones, Wrexham

I don't care where they go or what they do so long as they don't come to Britain any more. This bus is full!
Kathryn Anderson, Bradford, England

To Kathryn Anderson, England: Why can Britons in particular and Westerners in general give themselves the right to restrict people coming to their land looking for a better life after their ancestors during previous centuries intruded and exploited the land of other people. Give back these resources to people in former colonies and make world trade practice fairer so that life in developing countries improves and then no-one will be willing to leave their own home.
Nam Anh, Vietnam

The Geneva Convention, which is used by most European states to regulate asylum, should be renewed. The criteria to recognise refugees date back from WWII. The world has changed a lot since. I think all European countries should agree upon a new Convention that is more adapted to the new world to make it more humane for the asylum seekers. The new Convention should also make it a shared responsibility for all European countries.
Leen, Ghent, Belgium

Very little is being done by African leaders to address the issue of job creating in developing countries
Lifuna Wamuwi, Lusaka

I would be wrong to condemn migrants without looking at the reason why people move from one place to the other. I think very little is being done by African leaders to address the issue of job creating in developing countries. It's the selfishness of our leaders which has contributed greatly to this issue because they prefer to enrich themselves at the expense of the people they govern. Unless something is done to address the situation we won't manage to tackle the issue of immigration.
Lifuna Wamuwi, Lusaka, Zambia

Migration should stop as it's brain washing the Third world. Experts and geniuses of any field are hired by the wealthy countries for development in their country while the Third world remains undeveloped.
Bijjar Baloch, Pakistan

I graduated from Curtin University at its campus in Malaysia. The Australian University has boasted that its degree is equivalent no matter where I graduate. Unfortunately, while I was applying to migrate to Australia, I was dismayed to hear that the Australian government only gave qualification points to those who studied in Australia for two or more years. This is outrageous! Migration should be encouraged as we bring skilled labour to a country that is continuously deprived of its skilled labour. This is a double standard.
Loong Kok Wai, Singapore

Instead of finding ways to manage it we should be analyzing the reasons
Maliha Ahad, Brunei

No one wants to leave home unless there are some very strong reasons. Instead of finding ways to manage it we should be analyzing the reasons. The West may be against migration but they certainly don't seem to be against implementing policies which result in social, political and economic upheaval in countries which are seeing major outflow of immigrants.
Maliha Ahad, Brunei

Why do people harp on about immigrants doing the jobs that the native population don't want to? This is not true. From my experience, it is very rare for me to see a non-Caucasian menial worker, whereas on an average trip to central London, I will see many Asians driving about in BMWs, Mercedes and Lexuses and many Blacks living a bling-bling lifestyle. It is often quoted that immigrants pay 2.5 billion to the government more than they take - only natural given that they control most of the country's wealth.
Graeme Phillips, Berlin, Germany

It is natural for people to want to build a better life for themselves. It's impossible for us to judge in the West the terrible conditions a lot of the poorer countries have to suffer. Yes, regulate immigration so it doesn't get abused, but don't be too harsh. In generations to come, the way things are going on the UK, the boot may be on the other foot!
Amanda, England

Try asking native Americans or Aborigines what they think of mass migration and how it has enriched their lives.
Fred, England

People have a right to choose their livelihood options. Certainly migration is a part of development. The current stigma has been basically imposed on the poor peoples' migration issues, while the rich can move anywhere without regulation. This is unfair. People migrate in search of alternative and better livelihood options. Why should it be blocked? To me, controlling the people's struggle against poverty and hunger provokes them to migrate.
Mahbub Kabir, Dhaka, Bangladesh

No migrant should take their culture or religion with them. Whether they realise it or not, that's what they're migrating from!
Richard, London UK

Migration is a journey and that is exactly what life is. It is one way to learn about yourself and others.
Judy, RI, USA

Immigration is good when it is in the form of an Indian software engineer, a South African doctor, an Arab restaurateur, a Polish technician or a Mexican musician as it stimulates the economy and enriches the culture...
Joe, Qatar (on a work permit)

We are all immigrants. Americans migrated from Britain, France and Italy etc. The Spanish came to Latin America and breed with the natives to the extent where natives are a minority... nobody closed the borders when they arrived, and they were greeted with regional courtesy. So now, are we repaid in such a spiteful way?
Claudia, Mexico

It's time the West closed its borders
Louis, Australia

Looking at the state of the world now and the questionable allegiance of certain religious groups, I believe it's time the West closed its borders before it's too late.
Louis, Australia

To Louis, Australia: Unless you are one of the Aboriginal natives of your country, I think you should reconsider your statement. I am sure the natives of Australia had the same view about migration but you forced your way and religion upon them! Today's legal migrants have to follow far more stringent requirements than your ancestors ever did.
S Kulkarni, UK

Migration is not entirely a bad thing, but it is something which has to be controlled and handled properly, and mismanagement and an open door will destroy unique cultures and damage societies and social order.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

The real problem is when groups migrate to another culture but do not wish to conform
Paula, UK

If those migrating are doing so with the intent of assimilating into a new culture, then in manageable numbers, migration is okay. The real problem is when groups migrate to another culture but do not wish to conform but to transform the existing society to fit their own desires.
Paula, UK

Bottom line - we are all migrants. It is a case of the migrants leading the migrants, as they say.
RC Robjohn, UK

People have been migrating ever since civilization began. It is how ideas and culture have spread throughout the world and throughout history. It's time to start treating asylum seekers as people with something to contribute to a society instead of something to be managed or kept out.

To those from the Western world who are against migration - stay away from the Third world
John, India

To those from the Western world who are against migration - stay away from the Third world and stop interacting with us or interfering. If you want to have a say in our natural resources like oil you have to take our people as well. You can't have the cake and eat it too brothers and sisters.
John, India

Who knows when will it be one's turn to pack one's bags and face a similar fate?
Gaya Nadarajan, Malaysia

Migration is inevitable, it is the way of the future, it will integrate us and will be our salvation.
Victor J Bosch, Las Vegas, USA

Migration is not bad. It reminds the West of true hardship and helps us view life from another perspective. It is the cultural and legal norms that immigrants bring with from their native countries that can cause problems. In England, you see this in immigrant demands for Sharia; in America, with demands for bi-lingual services. The native populations naturally resent being compelled to change their way of life. To better manage immigration, all immigrants should be expected to speak the language of their new country and abide by its rules and customs. That's the only way to manage migration.
Julie, USA

It threatens social cohesion and destroys ancient and distinct cultures
Argy, UK

Large-scale migration is a disaster. It threatens social cohesion and destroys ancient and distinct cultures. It's only really tolerable if the migrant culture is similar enough to the host culture for integration to occur quickly. Where this doesn't happen, the human costs are horrific - terrorism, racially motivated murders, and the constant fear that ethnic tensions will erupt into street warfare. Numbers must be kept down and indigenous populations must have the right to refuse policies forced upon them by economy-obsessed politicians in convenient collusion with the bleeding hearts brigade.
Argy, UK

I believe in free migration based on willingness to work and carry normal responsibilities in the country of migration. If you find an employer, housing and are willing to pay your dues in the receiving country there should be no hindrances whatsoever for the migration. There should in principle be no borders. The world should be free for movement and enterprise. The walls should be there only to separate hostile beliefs and clearly hostile neighbours.
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova

Some people do not want international migration or the loss of nationalistic identities. Whoever said a "one world" government was a good thing? Migration should be regulated so as to preserve national culture.
Lydia, UK

Most migration is forced. Mistreatment of the environment (usually by big business or governments at the behest of business) causes floods, famine and other unfavourable climatic change. Governmental mistreatment of people causes them to flee. Economic mismanagement makes them seek a better life elsewhere. The results are racial tension caused by cultural misunderstanding and intolerance, and for migrants the stress of living in an alien place. We would all be far happier if we could live in a place that feels natural to us without hassle from big business and politicians.
Phil, UK

International Migration is a consequence of globalisation. We are becoming a "one world" State. This is all very positive and hopefully the United Nations will be an International Government, producing the "better management" that Kofi Annan is referring to. At that stage freedom of movement for everyone will be in the same way as it is within existing Country borders today. This will mean that wherever we are, there will be the good, the bad and the ugly. Perfection!
Raymond Rudaizky, London, UK

Britain needs millions of new people in order to do the jobs no one wants
Neil Rogall, London
Money and businesses are allowed to travel where they like - taking every opportunity they can find. People aren't. It is sheer hypocrisy. Britain needs millions of new people in order to do the jobs no one wants and pay the national insurance to fund pensions of those now retiring. I welcome all immigrants - they have enriched my life enormously
Neil Rogall, London, UK

Migration to make a better life for yourself is great - we need more nurses, teachers etc. Migration for the social services of another country to make your life better is despicable.
Adam, London, UK

When the migrating population threatens to overtake the majority from the native population, that is a problem. People native to a country have a right to protect their language, their culture and their customs from outsiders.
Susanne, USA

Migration is only part of the issue. When people are faced with a changing world and a change in customs and their way of life are being over run by a different culture, there will always be friction. Remember nothing ever stays the same. Things will change were you live, the only question is, will you be part of the future or not?
Patrick, USA

I strongly believe that tough regulation is required
Keith, UK
As a UK resident I strongly believe that tough regulation is required. We are totally swamped by immigrants, both legal and illegal. We have done our bit for the genuine cases, but now it's time to say "enough is enough" and close the borders to everyone.
Keith, UK

To Keith, UK: Your ancestors almost certainly migrated from Saxony or Normandy and displaced my Welsh ones. I would complain, but the Welsh were themselves migrants from the Iberian Peninsula and displaced whoever was there before. It's how things happen: deal with it. Species that stay static die out.
S Pugh, Cardiff, Wales

Having read some of the stories and comments on this site, it seems that when immigrants are given the opportunity to work and make a life for themselves, the outcome is positive for all concerned. The problem therefore seems not to be me migration itself, but the infrastructure to help people help themselves. We must not forget however to allow our indigenous citizens the opportunity to help themselves also, as there is nothing that breeds resentment like additional people pouring into an area with existing poverty and homelessness. The UK must urgently address it's domestic housing problems if it is to have any hope of allowing immigrants to contribute to society, and of avoiding conflict.
Helen, Exeter, UK

There isn't a single group of people on Earth whose ancestors haven't migrated from somewhere. Migration is part of life and can revitalise communities as well as promote understanding between peoples. However, no community can absorb sudden mass movements of people without problems. The World has to tackle the reasons why masses of people want to migrate in order to quell those movements. Birth control and education would do more to prevent mass migration from poverty than any attempts to manage that migration.
JohnM, LyneMeads, UK

We are immigrants, and we cannot close our doors to other immigrants
Jenna, USA
As an American, we are all considered immigrants. People who live here sometimes risk much to get here: by boat, river, etc. Though regulation is needed, it should be done moderately, as there is plenty of room in this country for more. That is what makes this country great, we are immigrants, and we cannot close our doors to other immigrants, or we are not living up to the standards set by our forefathers.
Jenna, USA

The vast numbers of people who want to leave the least desirable places in the world to live, have the power by sheer numbers to overwhelm the most desirable places. The only solution is to control the flow so that the most desperate can find refuge without causing injury to the nations generous enough to take them in.
Mark, USA

More and more people are becoming political pawns and potential weapons of conquest. If a group cannot conquer by means of force, and further its own they now attempt to invade quietly, to further their own beliefs, and to make gains for those who are of the same group. When people choose to apply to come to a new country it should be made certain that they do so with knowledge of, and loyalties to, that new country, and to its new ideals, particularly as regards secular governments, and essential human rights and freedoms.
John Holmes, Canada


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