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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 16:43 GMT
Migration: Can it be controlled?
A major international conference is taking place in the Dutch city of Rotterdam this week to discuss the current global movement of migrants.
Delegates from more than forty countries will examine the differences in admissions policies of various countries, the effects of migration on economies and the impact of ethnic diversity on social cohesion within nations.
The issue is at the forefront of the west's political agenda. Last week, in Denmark's general election, a right-wing coalition of Liberals and Conservatives stormed to victory after a campaign dominated by asylum issues.
The campaign played up fears, following the 11 September attacks, that Muslim immigrants are not committed to their host states in the West.
Australia's conservative prime minister, John Howard, was recently returned to office on an anti-immigration platform.
How should such fears be countered? What about the economic effects of migration - who gains and who loses? Tell us what you think.
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
It is natural - previously Western people used to go east for search of green pastures; now it is eastern people toward west.
Migration is a voluntary human process of seeking to better one's life. If one seeks to impose control upon this democratic human process, one must ask, by whom is this process being controlled, for whom and who comprises the controllers and the controlled.
It is natural phenomenon like migration of birds. To stop it is unnatural. Its flow is guided by contemporary world situations.
People have migrated in
search of greener pastures
from time immemorial.
It is a natural phenomenon.
Would there be a present
day USA, Canada,
Australia or New Zealand if
not for migration?
If the Dutch conference aims at understanding the effects of migration, it should strongly consider the fact that the activities of one group of immigrants should not be construed as the activities of All Immigrants.
Not all immigrants are responsible for the WTC and Pentagon Attacks. Take the Polish Jews who came as immigrants to American shores. They were initially mocked for their low levels of education and scholarship, but now they are one of the most highly educated communities in the United States. This is the same with Indian immigrants. A study by a journalist revealed that Indian immigrants control at least 5% of the US economy.
Skilled labour is a good thing for the western world who compete to get the best of the labours and weed out the rest! The developed nations are never going to stop this kind of discriminatory migration! It's disgusting! Around 20-25% of all American doctors are from South Asia, half of them are Muslims - as soon as the September 11th incident happened they suddenly became monsters from Angels? About 40-45% of all American technological staff are South Asians, they suddenly become the first ones to get laid off and later chucked out of the country, when push comes to shove! It's disgusting!
And the western countries talk about humanity, and humanitarian causes and all that good stuff. It's shameful how these human beings are used and what they are put through, just to get their food on the table every night. These people come here and earn their own food in exchange of their capabilities and not out of charity. And today we have discussions about what we should do with immigrants? When Pakistan stopped taking Afghan refugees, a lot of people jumped to conclusions; when India stopped a few, probably 1%, of its illegal immigrants one day there were almost communal riots. And the western world whines about few, well trained, exceptionally capable, economy boosting immigrants that they get every year. These leaders who talk about stopping immigrants should be taken to these south Asian countries and shown what is an immigration problem! Then they would know better not to whine!
Dahesh Patel, United States of America
There are many negatives associated with immigration, but as a human, these issues are minute to me. If I lived in an oppressive society plagued by poverty I would be trying to escape and only death would stop me from achieving such a goal. The true way of curbing massive immigration is for the wealthier countries of the world to make real attempts at improving life in less developed countries.
I know here in the United States we spend an inordinate amount of our wealth on weaponry... why not invest some of that into helping our fellow human beings out? Or could it be that the majority of people in the West are happy living in their shells, ignorant of others' plights?
Scott B, USA
The West is taking about immigration as if it is a burden on them. Compared to Pakistan, immigration is a non-issue for the west. Here in Pakistan, thousands of immigrants come in every day because of the policy of bigger powers. Australia was making a huge fuss for about 600 Afghan refugees. If only 600 Afghanis came into Pakistan in one day, we would feel happy that more did not come. Pakistan is the destination of more then 90% of the worlds refugees. If anything, the West should help Pakistan, which itself is a poor country, instead of making an issue of less then 10,000 refugees in year. Surely the amount of burden that is on Pakistan's shoulders is not even comparable to the so called problems of the West.
How else do we expect cross cultural communication and understanding?
I wonder how the US reaction would have been to the recent attacks if it didn't have the Muslim population represented within its boundaries. At the same time I wonder how strong the coalition had been if the Muslim leaders and moderates educated in the west did not exists!
Jvalant Sampat, Rochester, NY/Bombay, India
Migration is a natural phenomenon and will always happen. It has little to do with talent and/or training. Its about the basic human need to find greener pastures, safety, and security.
Can the migration be controlled? The answer is NO! It is a natural phenomenon, and it will continue as long as it lasts!
Mahesh Sharma, India
21 Nov 01 | Europe
Centre-right hails Denmark triumph
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