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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Immigration interests align between West and the rest

    Ibrahim, a boy of 16, is escorted to the Egyptian border by his father and siblings. A small ship floats, waiting. “Hurry up,” the deck hand whispers in Arabic. Ibrahim hugs his siblings and turns to his father, tears in his eyes, and hugs him, too.

    That was the last time the father would see his son. The ship was sunk by the very men he trusted to convey his son to the paradise that is Europe.

    In the past eight months, the number of people who have disappeared trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe has exceeded 2,500, according to the International Organization for Migration. A record 4,077 migrants have died trying to cross seas and deserts around the world this year — and the year isn’t even over. The IOM believes that 40,000 migrants have perished since 2000. Many have been refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East. Many others are simply fleeing economic disasters and poverty in their home countries.

    Developed nations often have more favorable attitudes toward people from other high-income countries. Such migration patterns pose fewer problems for the receiving nations, as these persons often have sizeable incomes and share certain cultural ties with their host nations, such as immigrants from Australia to the U.K. or from Canada to the U.S.

    The real challenge lies in the citizens of low-income countries with high levels of illiteracy. Unable to afford foreign education or legal means of migration, they are forced to take exceedingly dangerous paths in their attempt to seek opportunity outside the misery and poverty of their home countries.

    Some find a naturally air-conditioned seat on the top of the infamous La Bestia, a cargo train that connects the U.S. and Mexico. Others try their luck with the waves of the sea. Even worse are those who attempt the American pastime of hiking, trekking through the desert and dying in astonishingly high numbers.

    Many are killed by their own traffickers, like the 500 who travelled with Ibrahim from Egypt. Others are subjected to torture, starvation, imprisonment, rape and harassment. These men and women have no other means to seek a better life. Is this fair?
    Doubtless many will say that the developed world shouldn’t be blamed for the incompetence of the leaders of the developing world. But in an age of globalization, the wealthier nations who have benefited most from open and free trade must also take responsibility for ensuring that everyone benefits fairly from the game.

    The World Bank estimates that remittances (payments from immigrants send back to their family in their country of origin) will grow by 8.4 percent over the next three years. This year alone, over $436 billion will be remitted. The implications of this sum are staggering. Whole nations are dependent on this money, while high-income nations are effectively bleeding this money out of their economies each year. The West can’t afford to ignore this issue, and the developing world can’t afford not to work with them.

    It is not too farfetched to propose creating a kind of New-Deal-cum-Marshall-Plan for the developing world.

    It is only when jobs are created and people are gainfully employed that wars and conflicts can be reduced. When there are no wars, naturally, there will be fewer or no refugees. When people are assured a decent standard of living in their home countries, they will have little to no reason to migrate elsewhere. A win-win situation for everyone is the key to ending migration and keeping boys like Ibrahim safe and at home.

    Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, summed up this argument in simple language. She argued, “We have to understand what drives people to take the fearful step of risking their children’s lives on crowded, unsafe vessels.”

    She may not be able to adopt the entire world, but the movie star’s voice can act as a call to demand action for the developing world and for immigrants. A continuation of the status quo will only lead to higher numbers of migrants, increasingly-daring traffickers and ever more deaths. Just as in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” walls, either of Europe and America or of Westeros, cannot keep out forever the surging numbers of migrants by doing nothing. “Winter is coming,”says House Stark — or in our case, an exodus.

    Chizekie Anachu is international trade and business law student. Follow him on Twitter @Don_Chikzy

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