Migration as a Social Problem

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Sociologists have over a long time studied tribulations of migration and its consequences across and within cultures. Migration is defined in a number of ways but for this paper, it shall be used to refer to the movement of persons from one country or locality to another as defined by the free online Dictionary. Other words that are closely related to migration are immigration (migration into a place) and emigration (migrating from a place) over the years migration has brought with it mixed reactions and results; it, therefore, becomes difficult to conclude whether it brings problems or blessings. New immigration laws are set up to stabilize the general living conditions of migrants and immigrants.

The tradition of migration has continued over time and now it is time to examine the new and changing faces of it. Usually, the main supposition in studying migrants is that the central culture into which they migrate wields pressure to change through culture, organizations, and personal relations; however, incoming migrants resist the pressure to change. Therefore the most common model is whereby the migrants are marginalized socially, politically, and even economically, in addition to the conflict that the immigrants face. The migration phenomenon also tries to point out that when the four estates of society (government, military, church, and media) fail to function then the citizen is left with no option but to move to another place. It is at this time that the basic needs of that individual cannot be met by the structure of the society he/she belongs (Pugad ng Muharlika, 2008).

As identified by some readings, there are only two main things that make a citizen of a country migrate; the threat to peace and order in a region which may, in turn, endanger human life, and when one is unable to make both ends meet. However, these causes have been reviewed and amplified such that what we have today is many factors depending on where the individual comes from and where he is destined for, the reasons for leaving his homeland, and so on. The most common sources of migration include famine, unemployment, wars, and political persecution. These factors therefore will assist the receiving government to help the immigrants accordingly. For example, in a case where the immigrants are refugees of war, the government will need more than just humanitarian but also psychological assistance. On the other hand, if the immigrants have gone to pursue further education, their requirements from the government will not be as much as their refugee counterparts.

As an issue of social, economic, and political issues, migration has attracted a lot of responses from different people, individuals, and groups. The most dominant social problems result from the place of destination to within the place of destination. This implies migration within and outside the country. The major problems of migration include poverty, acculturation, education, social adjustment, employment, housing, and family difficulties. These problems are understood in different ways; how they affect the migrants, immigrants, their origin, and destination. Family problems that affect the immigrants include departing from the support system of the extended family. Suppose one goes away from his/her home, it is quite automatic that at one time that particular individual will feel homesick and miss the company of the immediate relatives. In case the migrant’s main aim was to look for a job in his destination then he misses it, he undergoes stress and financial difficulties in such events. There is also the problem of differing awareness about the concepts of basic human rights. Poverty among immigrants in the US continues to take an ascending motion because of the rapid increase in the numbers of these groups of people.

It is of great significance to incorporate other policies with the government policy to have a better way of solving this problem. There are policies designed to express the needs of migrants and immigrants even though they are heavily inclined towards the support of the smooth operation of local control and administration. Providing direct services by offering education to migrants and immigrants is a sure way of solving the problems of this group of people. This is because; amongst the critical issues that affect the migrants and immigrants are is basic literacy and an effective way of achieving this goal in a population that is always on the move.

Countries that experience a high number of refugees, for example, the US, should allow a flexible quota system that would be responsive to the variations in labor needs. The government should look more closely at the various migrant groups; their needs and how to advance them the required aid accordingly. The government should also attend to the social welfare issues of the immigrants (Dail P.W. 1988).

In cases where there exist cases of migration in nations that are close to one another, for example, Zimbabwe and South Africa or Mexico and the USA, the solution is not usually easy and it greatly depends on how far the governments involved are willing to go to work together in developing public policies of both counties’ interest. For the United States and Mexico, a long time compromise between the two governments can guarantee to venture into the Mexican economy to harmonize and keep a good balance in both labor markets.

According to Dr. Demetrios Papademetriou, migration is dreaded by the nations of destination because of the negative impacts that it is associated with; illegality, creation of divided communities, and labor market displacement. He discussed that the USA fell short of adequate legal channels to let people work in the country as he responded to illegality. He also added that the labor market on the other hand could absorb more people than it does currently and that the slow administrative process was responsible for slowing down immigration.

The impact of immigrants on the society of any given society and its economy is assessed and many nations have come up with ways to try and put migration under considerable control. Furthermore, the affected nations have accordingly made policies to deal with problems that might come up as a result of migration.

Aydin. R, Elvers. C 2006 World Migration: Economic and Social Impacts Challenges for implementing the recommendations of the Global Commission on International Migration in Germany and the United States.

Castaneda. D Economic and political perspective of migration in North America.

Rosenberg M, Ralph H. T 1990 Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives .

Sociological perspective of migration, structural functionalism and the four estates of society 2008.

Dail P.W 1988 NCBI Immigration and migration in America: social impact and social Response.

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Essay on Migration | Causes and Effects of Migration

December 3, 2017 by Study Mentor Leave a Comment

Animals and man have been ever travelling. From grassy plains to fertile land, in search of better food, better opportunities. ‘Migration’ means the movement of population from one place to another for better opportunities.

Table of Contents

What is Migration?

Everyone wishes to lead a happy and secure life. A place where they can offer security to their family and a better future both for themselves and family. Migration many be of two types- permanent and temporary. Some migration may also occur annually, seasonally, or diurnally. According to certain census it has been found that migration mostly happens in three stages- (a) rural to rural , (b) rural to urban , (c) urban to urban , and (d) urban to rural

Maximum migration is from rural to urban, especially in developing countries like India. Even urban to urban migration happens quite a lot. But migration of the type (a), (d) is very rare. Migration of type (a) happens only when a person goes from another village to sell his items during bazaar or Melas. Some migration also happens from rural to small then from small town to urban. Such type of migration is called step wise migration.

In India there is a crazy race of the population travelling from the rural areas to the metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore etc, seeking for better employment and better work opportunities. And this craze is increasing more and more in the coming years.

That is why competition in the job sector is increasing in the urban sphere. Metropolitan cities act a crowd puller. People are attracted to the vibrant colours of life in the cities. They fall in the wrong notion that they can pull up something big or great in the cities and earn a living but not everyone gets equal opportunities. Some end up rag-pickers, some end up as street dwellers, and some end up beggars who don’t get any means of livelihood.

Another term that comes along with migration is commutation. Commutation is the means of travelling on a daily schedule of the people to cities from the neighbouring towns and villages for the purpose of job and other works. This is a type of temporary migration.

Some people commute seasonally- incase or family gathering or wedding ceremonies. While some immigrants migrate annually. Migration is not just a re-location of human resources and settlements but it is a process which has three-fold impact:

(a) On the area experiencing immigration,

(b) On the area experiencing out-migration, and

(c) On the migrants themselves, the purpose of migration may be employment, business, education, family movement, marriage, calamity, etc.

These migrants have very little skill and professional expertise, moreover they lack literacy. They mostly get involved in the low grade activities and fields of manual labour, where there is not much sophistication or use of literary capabilities.

Very few are in administrative, professional or technical sphere. The condition of women migrants is worse. Majority of them are illiterate or have very little literacy. Such people take up even lower grade of jobs like the domestic maid servants, hawkers or vendors. This change has been termed by many as ‘evolutionary urbanization’.

This sudden migration burst has led in detoriation in the look of the city and spreading of cities. Rapid human pressure has led to the unprecedented growth of shabby towns, slums and bastees and squatter settlements. Cities are spreading far beyond its boundary limits.

There are also other evils like the overflow of urban unemployment, rapid exploitation of the items of daily necessity like- food, clothing and shelter and their unavailability and there is a very sharp decline of human values and moral and it is increasing over the years( as observed its increase from 1981-1999 and will steadily increase over the 21st century).

Hence the metropolitan cities are becoming like blown-up urban villages which fail to offer basic necessities of life to the people residing in it. Due to unchecked or unprecedented human growth the cities lack in urban functions, characteristics, urban infrastructure and services, and without a strong economic base.

They are slowly stepping towards what is called as ‘degeneration’ or ‘decay’.

The urban areas not only attract the poor and the illiterate class but it has become a place for the educated and elite class to earn a living and lead a comfortable and relaxed life. There have been many cases where students from villages have come in cities to get higher education, managed with a good job and become a part of the city itself.

Even some big landlords and rich farmers have shown their interest in investing a good part of their agricultural profits in the different businesses that goes on in the city and also commercial activities. Hence the cities of developing countries like India are developing on the plunder or the remains of the rural parts (both natural and human). Unless this exploitation of blood-sucking trend is terminated for once and for all, the development or the revival of the ‘desi’ villages is a farfetched dream.

Not just there are rural immigrants to deal with. There are international migrants as well. Majority of the international migrants to India come from Asian countries, which are in turn followed by Europeans, Africans, etc. The neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Russia etc. have contributed large number of migrants to India.

Since there is no restriction along Indo-Nepal international boundary large numbers of Nepali people come to India for seeking employment, education, business etc. Assam, West Bengal and north eastern states attract large number of legal and illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

This has created a number of social, economic and political problems in these areas. Nepalese are seen in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi. Similarly migrants from Sri Lanka are most frequented in South India especially in Tamil Nadu

Migration not only creates confusion and commotion, but also an ill-growth of cities. That does not mean that we will shun away the immigrants.

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, migration problem in the usa.

  • DACA , Immigration , Justice , Lawyer , Problem , United States

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The Trump organization has proposed intense cuts in lawful movement, dissimilar to any observed since the Migration Demonstration of 1924, as a major aspect of its sticker price to sanction the Visionaries who were qualified for an expulsion help program slaughtered by President Trump. In a one-page system, which might be dead on entry in Congress, the White House is squeezing to cut family-supported migration by as much as 40 percent and order clearing upgrades to fringe security and inside requirement in return for sanctioning short of what one-6th of the unapproved populace.

The system expresses that the progressions would apply tentatively, and those holding up in accumulations in these classes would even now have the capacity to move, whenever affirmed. In any case, it could take a long time to process the applications in every one of these excesses. As indicated by the State Division, as of November 1, 2017, there were 3.7 million people sitting tight in the classifications recorded for disposal. What’s more, this number might be an undercount for a few reasons, including that it doesn’t reflect people who have asked for green-card preparing inside the Unified States.

The White House likewise is looking to dispense with the decent variety visa lottery, and repurpose those 50,000 green cards to decrease the family and work based excesses. The lottery opens a way to migration from nations that send couple of workers to the Assembled States, and is right now utilized basically by nationals from nations in Africa, Focal and Western Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Together, these family-supported and assorted variety classifications proposed for disposal made up 33% of all new green-card holders in financial year (FY) 2016. These cuts line up with those proposed by the Trump-embraced RAISE Act—whose creators assessed their bill would in the long run lead to a 50 percent decrease in lawful migration. They likewise are in accordance with those proposed in the Anchoring America’s Future Demonstration drafted by House Legal executive Council Director Weave Goodlatte (R-VA), which House moderates are squeezing to raise for a vote.

Indeed, even as President Trump has oftentimes required a move to ‘justify based’ migration, the proposition incorporates no adjustments in the portion of visas to support movement by those with high instruction and aptitudes. While family-based and assorted variety visa candidates are not chosen based on high instructive achievement, ongoing Movement Approach Foundation (MPI) discoveries demonstrate that about portion of every single late foreigner, through all streams, have a professional education—a critical increment over prior landings and the U.S.- conceived populace. Incomprehensibly, a definitive impact of the White House’s proposed lawful movement changes is diminish migration of very talented laborers.


The White House structure incorporates a not insignificant rundown of movement requirement arrangements, a considerable lot of which are unclear yet appear to line up with earlier proposition from the organization. Some could notably expand extraditions, while others could significantly lessen the capacity of compassionate workers to enter the Unified States.

Inside implementation. The White House looks for a few measures to increment and accelerate evacuations of unapproved outsiders. In the first place, it would proper assets to contract Branch of Country Security (DHS) staff, U.S. Movement and Traditions Authorization (ICE) lawyers, and migration judges. From the initiation through September 30, expulsions in the U.S. inside expanded 37 percent over a similar period in 2016; still, they stay far underneath their dimensions in the 2008-2011 period.

Expulsions are unequivocally constrained by the speed at which workers in evacuation procedures have their cases heard by a migration judge. Expanding the quantity of ICE lawyers and migration judges would build the ability to process individuals for expulsion. The one-pager additionally proposes, without itemizing, movement court changes to speed evacuation procedures.

What’s more, the White House proposition recommends growing facilitated evacuation—a program that enables certain noncitizens to be expelled rapidly without the opportunity to advance their case in court. Taken together, these measures would almost certainly result in a contracting of the number of inhabitants in around 11 million unapproved migrants in the Unified States. On the off chance that 2017 patterns proceed with, a rising offer of those captured and evacuated will be those without a criminal record.

Outskirt security. Similarly as it improved the situation inside requirement, the structure gives few subtleties on the proposed changes for outskirt security, however it specifies a $25 billion trust subsidize for ‘the fringe divider framework,’ ports of section/exit, and northern outskirt upgrades.

The structure ambiguously alludes to sanctioning changes to enlisting and pay to guarantee maintenance of ‘fundamentally required work force.’ This is likely a reference to the contracting challenges experienced by U.S. Traditions and Fringe Security (CBP). It is famously troublesome both to employ and to hold Fringe Watch specialists. The contracting procedure incorporates a protracted polygraph test that 66% of candidates come up short. It takes over nine months by and large to enlist another specialist. And keeping in mind that the organization employs roughly 523 operators for every year, it likewise loses a normal of 904 specialists.

The White House proposition alludes to closure ‘catch and discharge.’ The term has no reasonable definition, yet as utilized by the President seems to allude to a progression of government approaches and practices that permit unaccompanied minors, a few families, and some refuge searchers to be discharged into the network amid their haven as well as expulsion procedures. While we don’t know how the organization expects to address this issue, it could include keeping these gatherings while they sit tight for their day in court, or denying section to extensive quantities of individuals. Amid FY 2017, 41,435 unaccompanied kids and 75,622 nuclear families were secured at the Southwest outskirt. Around the same time, there were 24,377 applications by shelter searchers at U.S. ports of passage (some of whom may likewise be considered families).

The structure likely proposes an extra change to the treatment of unaccompanied youngster vagrants. Presently, while most Mexican kids are immediately come back to Mexico, U.S. law accommodates diverse treatment for unaccompanied youngster transients from noncontiguous nations. These kids are moved into the care of the Workplace of Evacuee Resettlement (ORR), an office of the U.S. Bureau of Wellbeing and Human Administrations and are all the while put into longer-term evacuation procedures. Most by far are discharged by ORR into the consideration of a parent, relative, or family companion in the Unified States while they trust that their cases will advance gradually through the U.S. migration court framework. In FY 2017, 42,416 minors were discharged to supports all through the Assembled States.

By proposing brief evacuations, ‘paying little mind to nation of root,’ the structure is likely recommending the disposal of the uncommon treatment right now given to youngsters from noncontiguous nations, implying that they would be immediately screened for danger of human trafficking or an explicit dread to return home, and turned back at the fringe, as Mexican kids are currently.

Major developments to the Legitimate Migration Framework and Requirement for What?

The White House requests are in return for an answer that tends to a small amount of the U.S. unapproved populace. The proposition plots a way to lawful status and citizenship for the individuals who were qualified for the Conceded Activity for Youth Landings (DACA) program, regardless of whether they connected or got DACA securities. The one-pager indicates this populace could contact 1.8 million individuals.

MPI gauges that 1.3 million Visionaries met every one of the criteria to apply for DACA under its unique principles, with another 408,000 qualified on the off chance that they met the instructive prerequisites, and 120,000 would be qualified after turning 15 gave they stay in school. What number of these 1.85 million Visionaries would be qualified for starting assurances under the White House plan and what number of could win green cards and in the long run citizenship would rely upon the correct work, instruction, open charge, and different necessities.

This speaks to only a part of the aggregate Visionary populace. MPI gauges that 3,652,000 unapproved migrants entered the Unified States previously the age of 18, speaking to around 33 percent of the unapproved populace. The Visionary legitimization proposition picking up the most consideration in Congress, the SUCCEED Demonstration and DREAM Demonstration of 2017, would give restrictive perpetual living arrangement to an expected 1.6 million to 2.1 million Visionaries individually, with an expected 1.3 million to 1.7 million anticipated that would advance to a green card under those plans.

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World history

Course: world history   >   unit 3, causes and effects of human migration.

  • Key concepts: Human Migration
  • Focus on causation: Human migration
  • Migration is the movement of people from one place to another with the intent to settle
  • Causes: In preindustrial societies, environmental factors, such as the need for resources due to overpopulation, were often the cause of migration
  • Effects: As people migrated, they brought new plants, animals, and technologies that had effects on the environment

Causes of migration

  • (Choice A)   Temporary movement that follows seasonal weather patterns A Temporary movement that follows seasonal weather patterns
  • (Choice B)   Movement to a new region with the intent to settle there B Movement to a new region with the intent to settle there
  • (Choice C)   Continuous movement to follow resources C Continuous movement to follow resources

Causes of migration in Africa

Causes of migration in the pacific.

  • (Choice A)   Iron farming tools and weapons A Iron farming tools and weapons
  • (Choice B)   Long-term food preservation techniques B Long-term food preservation techniques
  • (Choice C)   Types of canoes that could sail in the open ocean C Types of canoes that could sail in the open ocean

Effects of migration

  • (Choice A)   Rats eating eggs and greatly reducing the bird population A Rats eating eggs and greatly reducing the bird population
  • (Choice B)   Intense storms that altered the landscape of the island B Intense storms that altered the landscape of the island
  • (Choice C)   Human activity, such as hunting and cutting down trees C Human activity, such as hunting and cutting down trees

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Essay on Immigration, Its Issues, Pros and Cons

Essay on Immigration, Its Issues, Pros and Cons

In this article, you will read Essay on immigration. Also read its issues, causes, pros and cons effects. This is an argumentative essay in 1000 words for students.

So, let’s start this Essay on Immigration…

Table of Contents

Introduction (Essay on Immigration – 1000 Words)

Humankind has been immigrating from the dawn of time to explore an unfamiliar area in the world and build their own civilisations. But in today’s world, if you want to go from your native country and settle permanently in a different country, there are many immigration laws through which you have to apply for the citizenship of the country to which you wish to migrate. The present gap between the rich and developing countries is widening, which is leading to more of the migration both legally and illegally. 

Immigration is nowadays becoming a global issue from the economic and a business point of view. The population of some countries is growing since people are migrating to other countries seeking a better life.

But considering giving up your native citizenship, uprooting your entire life, and moving to a new country where you don’t know anyone and have to start your life from scratch is considered a courageous act. Apart from adopting a different lifestyle, parting pain from immediate family, lack of government support, unemployment, etc. are some issues migrants might face. 

Even though immigration is not all beds of roses, there are a lot of reasons people try to escape their native lands, which can be divided into push and pull factors. We also know push factors as driving factors where the people wish to leave their motherland, and the pull factor stands for the reason the individuals want to settle in a new area. These factors can be social, economic, political , and environmental .

Immigration to the USA and Canada

The USA is a land the immigrants built and flourish that. But today the USA is facing immigration pressure as there is an influx of working immigrants’ waves from the poor regions, even though they already have a massive group of skilled migrants and asylees. Ever since 11th September, American immigration laws have become more robust.

America is also deciding to build a wall to stop the influx of migrants from their poor neighbouring regions, especially to the south of their area. Most of the immigrants come to the USA for survival, especially those who are migrating from Mexico because of their country’s poverty. 

Compared to the USA, Canada also has been mostly shaped by immigrants into society and culture. With a small population and vast areas unoccupied, they fuelled their immigration policies with the need for the expansion, with immigrants encouraging them to settle in the rural areas of the land.

The country also provides language training to immigrants and access to the country’s health care and social welfare programs. Admission of highly skilled immigrants from less developed countries is creating an issue for Canada as the country from which the migrants are coming complain that Canada is poaching their talented people for their own benefit and their countries cannot afford the loss. There are two types of entry one is temporary, and the other one is permanent.

The short acts like a tourist visa so you can visit the country as a tourist or visit relatives or take admission as a student. The permanent entry is the path taken by a migrant based on their desire to settle in Canada-based on their qualification, work experience, and knowledge.

Illegal Immigration

Migrating, by violating the immigration laws of the host country, is known as illegal immigration. It has a socio-economic effect on the country. The illicit migrants might be a risk of facing deportation or any other sanction.

But an individual might resort to such a process if he is trying to escape civil war or oppression in the country of origin. Families also work this process so they can provide their children with a better life to succeed.

Pros and Cons of Immigration

Because of the modern globalisation and merging the entire world into a single economic space, people are free to transfer for employment or business to any country. Immigration will become a familiar and massive spread phenomenon.

  • One of the principal reasons for immigration is to better the quality of life by engaging favourable employment and earning opportunities, social security, and less crime environment .
  • The migrant’s a unique challenge, which makes them more independent as they live alone.
  • They save so they can meet the new living standards. It also makes them take up new professional commitments, making them skill full and more experience.
  • As they travel through the new land, they study and learn more about the new culture. They get to learn and understand the language and overcome the barrier. 
  • A completely additional aspect of life opens with the latest knowledge they gain by understanding the history of the country.
  • But there are only a few countries hospitable to migrants, as most of them subject to racial discrimination or intolerance to the new culture.
  • Initially, when the individual immigrates to an unfamiliar country, they face a language barrier to understand the underlying social etiquette of the new country like the traffic sign meaning.
  • Because of the process of immigration, unknown diseases to disperse into the host country. For example, the devastation of the northern tribal population of North America is highly documented.
  • When migrants come to a developed country from a developing world, they will do jobs at lower wages compared to the local non-immigrant. If it is a lot of individuals ready to work with low wages, it causes wage disparity with local people, which might affect job growth.
  • The labour laws of the host countries have not caught up with the modern practice of immigration. Even if the people have legally entered the country, it is easy for local people to inform the local police of them as a possible illegal immigrant. Refusing to pay the owed wages, filing false charges, and even physical abuse are some common issues a migrant faces.

Apart from the advantages and disadvantages of the migrants, the immigration process has its own benefits and drawbacks for both the countries, one who is hosting the people and the one which is losing the people. I hope you liked this informative post Essay on immigration.

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FACT SHEET: President   Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence

Today, President Biden is issuing a landmark Executive Order to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The Executive Order establishes new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world, and more. As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive strategy for responsible innovation, the Executive Order builds on previous actions the President has taken, including work that led to voluntary commitments from 15 leading companies to drive safe, secure, and trustworthy development of AI. The Executive Order directs the following actions: New Standards for AI Safety and Security

As AI’s capabilities grow, so do its implications for Americans’ safety and security.  With this Executive Order, the  President directs the  most sweeping  actions  ever taken  to protect Americans from  the potential  risks  of  AI  systems :

  • Require that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government.  In accordance with the Defense Production Act, the Order will require that companies developing any foundation model that poses a serious risk to national security, national economic security, or national public health and safety must notify the federal government when training the model, and must share the results of all red-team safety tests. These measures will ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy before companies make them public. 
  • Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology will set the rigorous standards for extensive red-team testing to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Homeland Security will apply those standards to critical infrastructure sectors and establish the AI Safety and Security Board. The Departments of Energy and Homeland Security will also address AI systems’ threats to critical infrastructure, as well as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks. Together, these are the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety.
  • Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials  by developing strong new standards for biological synthesis screening. Agencies that fund life-science projects will establish these standards as a condition of federal funding, creating powerful incentives to ensure appropriate screening and manage risks potentially made worse by AI.
  • Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content . The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication and watermarking to clearly label AI-generated content. Federal agencies will use these tools to make it easy for Americans to know that the communications they receive from their government are authentic—and set an example for the private sector and governments around the world.
  • Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software,  building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing AI Cyber Challenge. Together, these efforts will harness AI’s potentially game-changing cyber capabilities to make software and networks more secure.
  • Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security,  to be developed by the National Security Council and White House Chief of Staff. This document will ensure that the United States military and intelligence community use AI safely, ethically, and effectively in their missions, and will direct actions to counter adversaries’ military use of AI.

Protecting Americans’ Privacy

Without safeguards, AI can put Americans’ privacy further at risk. AI not only makes it easier to extract, identify, and exploit personal data, but it also heightens incentives to do so because companies use data to train AI systems.  To better protect Americans’ privacy, including from the risks posed by AI, the President calls on Congress to pass bipartisan data privacy legislation to protect all Americans, especially kids, and directs the following actions:

  • Protect Americans’ privacy by prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques— including ones that use cutting-edge AI and that let AI systems be trained while preserving the privacy of the training data.  
  • Strengthen privacy-preserving research   and technologies,  such as cryptographic tools that preserve individuals’ privacy, by funding a Research Coordination Network to advance rapid breakthroughs and development. The National Science Foundation will also work with this network to promote the adoption of leading-edge privacy-preserving technologies by federal agencies.
  • Evaluate how agencies collect and use commercially available information —including information they procure from data brokers—and  strengthen privacy guidance for federal agencies  to account for AI risks. This work will focus in particular on commercially available information containing personally identifiable data.
  • Develop guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques,  including those used in AI systems. These guidelines will advance agency efforts to protect Americans’ data.

Advancing Equity and Civil Rights

Irresponsible uses of AI can lead to and deepen discrimination, bias, and other abuses in justice, healthcare, and housing. The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken action by publishing the  Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights  and issuing an  Executive Order directing agencies to combat algorithmic discrimination , while enforcing existing authorities to protect people’s rights and safety.  To ensure that AI advances equity and civil rights, the President directs the following additional actions:

  • Provide clear guidance to landlords, Federal benefits programs, and federal contractors  to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination.
  • Address algorithmic discrimination  through training, technical assistance, and coordination between the Department of Justice and Federal civil rights offices on best practices for investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations related to AI.
  • Ensure fairness throughout the criminal justice system  by developing best practices on the use of AI in sentencing, parole and probation, pretrial release and detention, risk assessments, surveillance, crime forecasting and predictive policing, and forensic analysis.

Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students

AI can bring real benefits to consumers—for example, by making products better, cheaper, and more widely available. But AI also raises the risk of injuring, misleading, or otherwise harming Americans.  To protect consumers while ensuring that AI can make Americans better off, the President directs the following actions:

  • Advance the responsible use of AI  in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services will also establish a safety program to receive reports of—and act to remedy – harms or unsafe healthcare practices involving AI. 
  • Shape AI’s potential to transform education  by creating resources to support educators deploying AI-enabled educational tools, such as personalized tutoring in schools.

Supporting Workers

AI is changing America’s jobs and workplaces, offering both the promise of improved productivity but also the dangers of increased workplace surveillance, bias, and job displacement.  To mitigate these risks, support workers’ ability to bargain collectively, and invest in workforce training and development that is accessible to all, the President directs the following actions:

  • Develop principles and best practices to mitigate the harms and maximize the benefits of AI for workers  by addressing job displacement; labor standards; workplace equity, health, and safety; and data collection. These principles and best practices will benefit workers by providing guidance to prevent employers from undercompensating workers, evaluating job applications unfairly, or impinging on workers’ ability to organize.
  • Produce a report on AI’s potential labor-market impacts , and  study and identify options for strengthening federal support for workers facing labor disruptions , including from AI.

Promoting Innovation and Competition

America already leads in AI innovation—more AI startups raised first-time capital in the United States last year than in the next seven countries combined.  The Executive Order ensures that we continue to lead the way in innovation and competition through the following actions:

  • Catalyze AI research across the United States  through a pilot of the National AI Research Resource—a tool that will provide AI researchers and students access to key AI resources and data—and expanded grants for AI research in vital areas like healthcare and climate change.
  • Promote a fair, open, and competitive AI ecosystem  by providing small developers and entrepreneurs access to technical assistance and resources, helping small businesses commercialize AI breakthroughs, and encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to exercise its authorities.
  • Use existing authorities to expand the ability of highly skilled immigrants and nonimmigrants with expertise in critical areas to study, stay, and work in the United States  by modernizing and streamlining visa criteria, interviews, and reviews.

Advancing American Leadership Abroad

AI’s challenges and opportunities are global.  The Biden-Harris Administration will continue working with other nations to support safe, secure, and trustworthy deployment and use of AI worldwide. To that end, the President directs the following actions:

  • Expand bilateral, multilateral, and multistakeholder engagements to collaborate on AI . The State Department, in collaboration, with the Commerce Department will lead an effort to establish robust international frameworks for harnessing AI’s benefits and managing its risks and ensuring safety. In addition, this week, Vice President Harris will speak at the UK Summit on AI Safety, hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
  • Accelerate development and implementation of vital AI standards  with international partners and in standards organizations, ensuring that the technology is safe, secure, trustworthy, and interoperable.
  • Promote the safe, responsible, and rights-affirming development and deployment of AI abroad to solve global challenges,  such as advancing sustainable development and mitigating dangers to critical infrastructure.

Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI

AI can help government deliver better results for the American people. It can expand agencies’ capacity to regulate, govern, and disburse benefits, and it can cut costs and enhance the security of government systems. However, use of AI can pose risks, such as discrimination and unsafe decisions.  To ensure the responsible government deployment of AI and modernize federal AI infrastructure, the President directs the following actions:

  • Issue guidance for agencies’ use of AI,  including clear standards to protect rights and safety, improve AI procurement, and strengthen AI deployment.  
  • Help agencies acquire specified AI products and services  faster, more cheaply, and more effectively through more rapid and efficient contracting.
  • Accelerate the rapid hiring of AI professionals  as part of a government-wide AI talent surge led by the Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellowship. Agencies will provide AI training for employees at all levels in relevant fields.

As we advance this agenda at home, the Administration will work with allies and partners abroad on a strong international framework to govern the development and use of AI. The Administration has already consulted widely on AI governance frameworks over the past several months—engaging with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the UAE, and the UK. The actions taken today support and complement Japan’s leadership of the G-7 Hiroshima Process, the UK Summit on AI Safety, India’s leadership as Chair of the Global Partnership on AI, and ongoing discussions at the United Nations. The actions that President Biden directed today are vital steps forward in the U.S.’s approach on safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. More action will be required, and the Administration will continue to work with Congress to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible innovation. For more on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance AI, and for opportunities to join the Federal AI workforce, visit AI.gov .

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Global migration: causes and consequences.

  • Benjamin Helms Benjamin Helms Department of Politics, University of Virginia
  •  and  David Leblang David Leblang Department of Politics, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia
  • https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.631
  • Published online: 25 February 2019

International migration is a multifaceted process with distinct stages and decision points. An initial decision to leave one’s country of birth may be made by the individual or the family unit, and this decision may reflect a desire to reconnect with friends and family who have already moved abroad, a need to diversify the family’s access to financial capital, a demand to increase wages, or a belief that conditions abroad will provide social and/or political benefits not available in the homeland. Once the individual has decided to move abroad, the next decision is the choice of destination. Standard explanations of destination choice have focused on the physical costs associated with moving—moving shorter distances is often less expensive than moving to a destination farther away; these explanations have recently been modified to include other social, political, familial, and cultural dimensions as part of the transaction cost associated with migrating. Arrival in a host country does not mean that an émigré’s relationship with their homeland is over. Migrant networks are an engine of global economic integration—expatriates help expand trade and investment flows, they transmit skills and knowledge back to their homelands, and they remit financial and human capital. Aware of the value of their external populations, home countries have developed a range of policies that enable them to “harness” their diasporas.

  • immigration
  • international political economy
  • factor flows
  • gravity models


The steady growth of international labor migration is an important, yet underappreciated, aspect of globalization. 1 In 1970 , just 78 million people, or about 2.1% of the global population, lived outside their country of birth. By 1990 , that number had nearly doubled to more than 150 million people, or about 2.8% of the global population (United Nations Population Division, 2012 ). Despite the growth of populist political parties and restrictionist movements in key destination countries, the growth in global migration shows no signs of slowing down, with nearly 250 million people living outside their country of birth as of 2015 . While 34% of all global migrants live in industrialized countries (with the United States and Germany leading the way), 38% of all global migration occurs between developing countries (World Bank, 2016 ).

Identifying the causes and consequences of international labor migration is essential to our broader understanding of globalization. Scholars across diverse academic fields, including economics, political science, sociology, law, and demography, have attempted to explain why individuals voluntarily leave their homelands. The dominant thread in the labor migration literature is influenced by microeconomics, which posits that individuals contemplating migration are rational, utility-maximizing actors who carefully weigh the potential costs and benefits of leaving their country of origin (e.g., Borjas, 1989 ; Portes & Böröcz, 1989 ; Grogger & Hanson, 2011 ). The act of migration, from this perspective, is typically conceptualized as an investment from which a migrant expects to receive some benefit, whether it be in the form of increased income, political freedom, or enhanced social ties (Schultz, 1961 ; Sjaastad, 1962 ; Collier & Hoeffler, 2014 ).

In this article we go beyond the treatment of migration as a single decision and conceive of it as a multifaceted process with distinct stages and decision points. We identify factors that are relevant at different stages in the migration process and highlight how and when certain factors interact with others during the migration process. Economic factors such as the wage differential between origin and destination countries, for example, may be the driving factor behind someone’s initial decision to migrate (Borjas, 1989 ). But when choosing a specific destination, economic factors may be conditioned by political or social conditions in that destination (Fitzgerald, Leblang, & Teets, 2014 ). Each stage or decision point has distinguishing features that are important in determining how (potential) migrants respond to the driving forces identified by scholars.

This is certainly not a theoretical innovation; migration has long been conceived of as a multi-step process, and scholars often identify the stage or decision point to which their argument best applies. However, most interdisciplinary syntheses of the literature on international labor migration do not provide a systematic treatment of this defining feature, instead organizing theoretical and empirical contributions by field of study, unit or level of analysis, or theoretical tradition (e.g., Portes & Böröcz, 1989 ; Massey et al., 1993 ; European Asylum Support Office, 2016 ). Such approaches are undoubtedly valuable in their own right. Our decision to organize this discussion by stage allows us to understand this as a process, rather than as a set of discrete events. As a result, we conceptualize international labor migration as three stages or decision points: (a) the decision to migrate or to remain at home, (b) the choice of destination, and (c) the manner by which expatriates re-engage—or choose not to re-engage—with their country of origin once abroad. We also use these decision points to highlight a number of potential new directions for future research in this still-evolving field.

Figure 1. Global migration intentions by educational attainment, 2008–2017.

Should I Stay or Should I Go, Now?

The massive growth in international labor migration in the age of globalization is remarkable, but the fact remains that over 95% of the world’s population never leave their country of origin (United Nations Population Division, 2012 ). Figure 1 shows the percentage of people who expressed an intention to move abroad between 2008 and 2017 by educational attainment, according to data from the Gallup World Poll. Over this time period, it appears that those who were highly educated expressed intent to migrate in greater numbers than those who had less than a college education, although these two groups have converged in recent years. What is most striking, however, is that a vast majority of people, regardless of educational attainment, expressed no desire to move abroad. Even though absolute flows of migrants have grown at a near-exponential rate, relative to their non-migrating counterparts, they remain a small minority. What factors are important in determining who decides to migrate and who decides to remain at home? 2

From Neoclassical Economics to the Mobility Transition

Neoclassical economic models posit that the primary driving factor behind migration is the expected difference in wages (discounted future income streams) between origin and destination countries (Sjaastad, 1962 ; Borjas, 1989 ; Clark, Hatton, & Williamson, 2007 ). All else equal, when the wage gap, minus the costs associated with moving between origin and destination, is high, these models predict large flows of labor migrants. In equilibrium, as more individuals move from origin to destination countries, the wage differential narrows, which in turn leads to zero net migration (Lewis, 1954 ; Harris & Todaro, 1970 ). Traditional models predict a negative monotonic relationship between the wage gap and the number of migrants (e.g., Sjaastad, 1962 ). However, the predictions of neoclassical models are not well supported by the empirical record. Empirical evidence shows that, at least in a cross-section, the relationship between economic development and migration is more akin to an inverted U. For countries with low levels of per capita income, we observe little migration due to a liquidity constraint: at this end of the income distribution, individuals do not have sufficient resources to cover even minor costs associated with moving abroad. Increasing income helps to decrease this constraint, and consequently we observe increased levels of emigration as incomes rise (de Haas, 2007 ). This effect, however, is not monotonic: as countries reach middle-income status, declining wage differentials lead to flattening rates of emigration, and then decreasing rates as countries enter later stages of economic development. 3

Some research explains this curvilinear relationship by focusing on the interaction between emigration incentives and constraints : for example, increased income initially makes migration more affordable (reduces constraints), but also simultaneously reduces the relative economic benefits of migrating as the wage differential narrows (as potential migrants now have the financial capacity to enhance local amenities) (Dao, Docquier, Parsons, & Peri, 2016 ). The theoretical underpinnings of this interaction, however, are not without controversy. Clemens identifies several classes of theory that attempt to explain this curvilinear relationship—a relationship that has been referred to in the literature as the mobility transition (Clemens, 2014 ). These theories include: demographic changes resulting from development that also favor emigration up to a point (Easterlin, 1961 ; Tomaske, 1971 ), the loosening of credit restraints on would-be migrants (Vanderkamp, 1971 ; Hatton & Williamson, 1994 ), a breakdown of information barriers via the building of transnational social networks (Epstein, 2008 ), structural economic changes in the development process that result in worker dislocation (Zelinsky, 1971 ; Massey, 1988 ), the dynamics of economic inequality and relative deprivation (Stark, 1984 ; Stark & Yitzhaki, 1988 ; Stark & Taylor, 1991 ), and changing immigration policies in destination countries toward increasingly wealthy countries (Clemens, 2014 ). While each of these play some role in the mobility transition curve, Dao et al. ( 2016 ) run an empirical horse race between numerous explanations and find that changing skill composition resulting from economic development is the most substantively important driver. Economic development is correlated with an increase in a country’s level of education; an increase in the level of education, in turn, is correlated with increased emigration. However, traditional explanations involving microeconomic drivers such as income, credit constraints, and economic inequality remain important factors (Dao et al., 2016 ). The diversity of explanations offered for the mobility transition curve indicates that while most research agrees the inverted-U relationship is an accurate empirical portrayal of the relationship between development and migration, little theoretical agreement exists on what drives this relationship. Complicating this disagreement is the difficulty of empirically disentangling highly correlated factors such as income, skill composition, and demographic trends in order to identify robust causal relationships.

Political Conditions at the Origin

While there is a scholarly consensus around the mobility transition and the role of economic conditions, emerging research suggests that the political environment in the origin country may also be salient. We do not refer here to forced migration, such as in the case of those who leave because they are fleeing political persecution or violent conflict. Rather, we focus on political conditions in the homeland that influence a potential migrant’s decision to emigrate voluntarily. Interpretations of how, and the extent to which, political conditions in origin countries (independent of economic conditions) influence the decision to migrate have been heavily influenced by Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty” framework (Hirschman, 1970 , 1978 ). Hirschman argues that the opportunity to exit—to exit a firm, an organization, or a country—places pressure on the local authorities; voting with one’s feet forces organizations to reassess their operations.

When applied to the politics of emigration, Hirschman’s framework generates two different hypotheses. On the one hand, politicians may allow, encourage, or force the emigration of groups that oppose the regime as a political safety valve of sorts. This provides the government with a mechanism with which to manage potential political challengers by encouraging their exit. On the other hand, politicians—especially those in autocracies—may actively work to prevent exit because they fear the emigration of economic elites, the highly skilled, and others who have resources vital to the survival of the regime. 4

A small number of studies investigate how local-level, rather than national, political circumstances affect a potential migrant’s calculus. The limited empirical evidence currently available suggests that local conditions are substantively important determinants of the emigration decision. When individuals are highly satisfied with local amenities such as their own standard of living, quality of public services, and overall sense of physical security, they express far less intention to migrate compared with highly dissatisfied individuals (Dustmann & Okatenko, 2014 ). Furthermore, availability of public transport and access to better education facilities decreases the propensity to express an intention to emigrate (Cazzuffi & Modrego, 2018 ). This relationship holds across all levels of wealth and economic development, and there is some evidence that satisfaction with local amenities matters as much as, or even more than, income or wealth (Dustmann & Okatenko, 2014 ).

Political corruption, on both national and local levels, also has substantively important effects on potential migrants, especially those who are highly skilled. Broadly defined as the use of public office for political gain, political corruption operates as both a direct and an indirect factor promoting emigration. 5 Firstly, corruption may have a direct effect on the desire to emigrate in that it can decrease the political and economic power of an individual, leading to a lower standard of living and poorer quality of life in origin countries. If the reduction in life satisfaction resulting from corruption is sufficiently high—either by itself or in combination with other “push” factors—then the exit option becomes more attractive (Cooray & Schneider, 2016 ). Secondly, corruption also operates through indirect channels that influence other push factors. Given the large literature on how political corruption influences a number of development outcomes, it is conceivable that corruption affects the decision-making process of a potential migrant through its negative effect on social spending, education, and public health (Mo, 2001 ; Mauro, 1998 ; Gupta, Davoodi, & Thigonson, 2001 ).

The combination of its direct and indirect impacts means that corruption could be a significant part of a migrant’s decision-making process. At present there is limited work exploring this question, and the research does not yield a consensus. Some scholars argue that political corruption has no substantive effect on total bilateral migration, but that it does encourage migration among the highly skilled (Dimant, Krieger, & Meierrieks, 2013 ). This is the case, the argument goes, because corruption causes the greatest relative harm to the utility of those who have invested in human capital, who migrate to escape the negative effect on their fixed investment. In contrast, others find that a high level of corruption does increase emigration at the aggregate level (Poprawe, 2015 ). More nuanced arguments take into account the intensity of corruption: low to moderate levels of corruption lead to increased emigration of all groups, and especially of the highly skilled. But at high levels of corruption, emigration begins to decrease, indicating that intense corruption can act as a mobility constraint (Cooray & Schneider, 2016 ). All of these existing accounts, however, employ state-level measures of corruption by non-governmental organizations, such as those produced by Transparency International. Scholars have yet to harness micro-level survey data to explore the influence of personal corruption perception on the individual’s decision-making process.

The Land of Hopes and Dreams

Given that an individual has decided to emigrate, the next decision point is to choose a destination country. Advanced industrial democracies, such as those in the OECD, are major migrant-receiving countries, but so are Russia and several Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (World Bank, 2016 ). A country’s constellation of political, economic, and social attributes is crucial to understanding an emigrant’s choice of destination. Potential migrants weigh all of these factors simultaneously when choosing a destination: will the destination allow political rights for the migrant and their children, is access to the labor market possible, and does the destination provide an opportunity for reunification with friends and family? In this section we focus on the non-economic factors that draw migrants to certain countries over others. In addition, we emphasize how skill level adds layers of complexity to a migrant’s calculus.

Political Environment, Both Formal and Informal

As noted earlier, traditional neoclassical models and their extensions place wage differentials and associated economic variables at the heart of a migrant’s choice. Gravity models posit that migrants choose a destination country based on their expected income—which itself is a function of the wage rate and the probability of finding employment in the destination—less the costs associated with moving (Ravenstein, 1885 ; Todaro, 1969 ; Borjas, 1989 ). A rigid focus on economic factors, however, blinds us to the empirical reality that a destination country’s political environment influences what destination a migrant chooses (Borjas, 1989 ). A country’s legal and political rights structure for migrants, as well as its level of tolerance for newcomers, is critical to migrants discriminating between an array of potential destinations. Fitzgerald, Leblang, and Teets ( 2014 ) argue, for example, that states with restrictive citizenship policies and strong radical right anti-immigrant parties will receive fewer migrants, while states with relatively liberal citizenship requirements and weak radical right political movements will receive more migrants. In the rational actor framework, migrants seek countries with hospitable political environments to maximize both their political representation in government and their access to labor market opportunities as a result of citizenship rights and social acceptance (Fitzgerald et al., 2014 ).

Using a broad sample of origin countries and 18 destination countries, they find that relative restrictiveness of citizenship policies and level of domestic support for the radical right are substantively important determinants of global migratory flows. Further, they find that these political variables condition a migrant’s choice of destination: the relative importance of economic factors such as the unemployment rate or the wage differential diminishes as a destination country’s political environment becomes more open for migrants. In other words, when migrants are choosing a destination country, political considerations may trump economic ones—a finding that is an important amendment to the primarily economics-focused calculus of the initial stage of the immigration decision.

However, prior to choosing and entering a destination country, a migrant must also navigate a country’s immigration policy—the regulation of both migrant entry and the rights and status of current migrants. While it is often assumed that a relatively more restrictive immigration policy deters entry, and vice versa, a lack of quantitative data has limited the ability of scholars to confirm this intuition cross-nationally. Money ( 1999 ) emphasizes that the policy output of immigration politics does not necessarily correlate with the outcome of international migrant flows. There are a number of unanswered questions in this field, including: is immigration policy a meaningful determinant of global flows of migration? Do certain kinds of immigration policies matter more than others? How does immigration policy interact with other political and economic factors, such as unemployment and social networks?

Only a handful of studies analyze whether or not immigration policy is a significant determinant of the size and character of migratory flows. Perhaps the most prominent answer to this question is the “gap hypothesis,” which posits that immigration rates continue to increase despite increasingly restrictive immigration policies in advanced countries (Cornelius & Tsuda, 2004 ). Some subsequent work seems to grant support to the gap hypothesis, indicating that immigration policy may not be a relevant factor and that national sovereignty as it relates to dictating migrant inflows has eroded significantly (Sassen, 1996 ; Castles, 2004 ). The gap hypothesis is not without its critics, with other scholars arguing that the existing empirical evidence actually lends it little or no support (Messina, 2007 ).

A more recent body of literature does indicate that immigration policy matters. Brücker and Schröder ( 2011 ), for example, find that immigration policies built to attract highly skilled migrants lead to higher admittance rates. They also show that diffusion processes cause neighboring countries to implement similar policy measures. Ortega and Peri ( 2013 ), in contrast to the gap hypothesis literature, find that restrictive immigration policy indeed reduces migrant inflows. But immigration policy can also have unintended effects on international migration: when entry requirements increase, migrant inflows decrease, but migrant outflows also decrease (Czaika & de Haas, 2016 ). This indicates that restrictive immigration policy may also lead to reduced circular migrant flows and encourage long-term settlement in destination countries.

Disaggregating immigration policy into its different components provides a clearer picture of how immigration policy may matter, and whether certain components matter more than others. Immigration policy is composed of both external and internal regulations. External regulations refer to policies that control migrant entry, such as eligibility requirements for migrants and additional conditions of entry. Internal regulations refer to policies that apply to migrants who have already gained status in the country, such as the security of a migrant’s legal status and the rights they are afforded. Helbling and Leblang ( 2017 ), using a comprehensive data set of bilateral migrant flows and the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) data set, find that, in general, external regulations prove slightly more important in understanding migrant inflows (Helbling, Bjerre, Römer, & Zobel, 2017 ). This indicates that potential migrants focus more on how to cross borders, and less on the security of their status and rights once they settle. They do find, however, that both external and internal components of immigration are substantively important to international migrant flows.

The effects of policy, however, cannot be understood in isolation from other drivers of migration. Firstly, poor economic conditions and restrictive immigration policy are mutually reinforcing: when the unemployment rate is elevated, restrictive policies are more effective in deterring migrant flows. An increase in policy effectiveness in poor economic conditions suggests that states care more about deterring immigration when the economy is performing poorly. Secondly, a destination country’s restrictive immigration policy is more effective when migrants come from origin countries that have a common colonial heritage. This suggests that cultural similarities and migrant networks help to spread information about the immigration policy environment in the destination country. Social networks prove to be crucial in determining how much migrants know about the immigration policies of destination countries, regardless of other cultural factors such as colonial heritage or common language (Helbling & Leblang, 2017 ). In summary, more recent work supports the idea that immigration policy of destination countries exerts a significant influence on both the size and character of international migration flows. Much work remains to be done in terms of understanding the nuances of specific immigration policy components, the effect of policy change over time, and through what mechanisms immigration policy operates.

Transnational Social Networks

None of this should be taken to suggest that only political and economic considerations matter when a potential migrant contemplates a potential destination; perhaps one of the biggest contributions to the study of bilateral migration is the role played by transnational social networks. Migrating is a risky undertaking, and to minimize that risk, migrants are more likely to move to destinations where they can “readily tap into networks of co-ethnics” (Fitzgerald et al., 2014 , p. 410). Dense networks of co-ethnics not only help provide information about economic opportunities, but also serve as a social safety net which, in turn, helps decrease the risks associated with migration, including, but not limited to, finding housing and integrating into a new community (Massey, 1988 ; Portes & Böröcz, 1989 ; Portes, 1995 ; Massey et al., 1993 ; Faist, 2000 ; Sassen, 1995 ; Light, Bernard, & Kim, 1999 ). Having a transnational network of family members is quite important to destination choice; if a destination country has an immigration policy that emphasizes family reunification, migrants can use their familial connections to gain economically valuable permanent resident or citizenship status more easily than in other countries (Massey et al., 1993 , p. 450; Helbing & Leblang, 2017 ). When the migrant is comparing potential destinations, countries in which that migrant has a strong social network will be heavily favored in a cost–benefit analysis.

Note, however, that even outside of a strict rational actor framework with perfect information, transnational social networks still may be quite salient to destination choice. An interesting alternative hypothesis for the patterns we observe draws on theories from financial market behavior which focus on herding. Migrants choosing a destination observe the decisions of their co-ethnics who previously migrated and assume that those decisions were based on a relevant set of information, such as job opportunities or social tolerance of migrants. New migrants then choose the same destination as their co-ethnics not based on actual exchanges of valuable information, but based solely on the assumption that previous migration decisions were based on rational calculation (Epstein & Gang, 2006 ; Epstein, 2008 ). This is a classic example of herding, and the existing empirical evidence on the importance of transnational social networks cannot invalidate this alternative hypothesis. One could also explain social network effects through the lens of cumulative causation or feedback loops: the initial existence of connections in destination countries makes the act of migration less risky and attracts additional co-ethnics. This further expands migrant networks in a destination, further decreasing risk for future waves of migrants, and so on (Massey, 1990 ; Fussel & Massey, 2004 ; Fussel, 2010 ).

No matter the pathway by which social networks operate, the empirical evidence indicates that they are one of the most important determinants of destination choice. Potential migrants from Mexico, for example, who are able to tap into existing networks in the United States face lower direct, opportunity, and psychological costs of international migration (Massey & Garcia España, 1987 ). This same relationship holds in the European context; a study of Bulgarian and Italian migrants indicates that those with “social capital” in a destination community are more likely to migrate and to choose that particular destination (Haug, 2008 ). Studies that are more broadly cross-national in nature also confirm the social network hypothesis across a range of contexts and time periods (e.g., Clark et al., 2007 ; Hatton & Williamson, 2011 ; Fitzgerald et al., 2014 ).

Despite the importance of social networks, it is, again, important to qualify their role in framing the choice of destinations. It seems that the existence of co-ethnics in destination countries most strongly influences emigration when they are relatively few in number. Clark et al. ( 2007 ), in their study of migration to the United States, find that the “friends and relatives effect” falls to zero once the migrant stock in the United States reaches 8.3% of the source-country population. In addition, social networks alone cannot explain destination choice because their explanatory power is context-dependent. For instance, restrictive immigration policies limiting legal migration channels and family reunification may dampen the effectiveness of networks (Böcker, 1994 ; Collyer, 2006 ). Social networks are not an independent force, but also interact with economic and political realities to produce the global migration patterns we observe.

The Lens of Skill

For ease of presentation, we have up to now treated migrants as a relatively homogeneous group that faces similar push and pull factors throughout the decision-making process. Of course, not all migrants experience the same economic, political, and social incentives in the same way at each stage of the decision-making process. Perhaps the most salient differentiating feature of migrants is skill or education level. Generally, one can discuss a spectrum of skill and education level for current migrants, from relatively less educated (having attained a high school degree or less) to relatively more educated (having attained a college or post-graduate degree). The factors presented here that influence destination choice interact with a migrant’s skill level to produce differing destination choice patterns.

A migrant’s level of education, or human capital, often serves as a filter for the political treatment he or she anticipates in a particular destination country. For instance, the American public has a favorable view of highly educated migrants who hold higher-status jobs, while simultaneously having an opposite view of migrants who have less job training and do not hold a college degree (Hainmueller & Hiscox, 2010 ; Hainmueller & Hopkins, 2015 ). Indeed, the political discourse surrounding migration often emphasizes skill level and education as markers of migrants who “should be” admitted, across both countries and the ideological spectrum. 6 While political tolerance may be a condition of entry for migrants in the aggregate, the relatively privileged status of highly educated and skilled migrants in most destination countries may mean that this condition is not as salient.

While it is still an open question to what extent immigration policy influences international migration, it is clear that not all migrants face evenly applied migration restrictions. Most attractive destination countries have policies that explicitly favor highly skilled migrants, since these individuals often fill labor shortages in advanced industries such as high technology and applied science. Countries such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand all employ so-called “points-based” immigration systems in which those with advanced degrees and needed skills are institutionally favored for legal entry (Papademetriou & Sumption, 2011 ). Meanwhile, the United States maintains the H-1B visa program, which is restricted by educational attainment and can only be used to fill jobs in which no native talent is available (USCIS). Even if destination countries decide to adopt more restrictive immigration policies, the move toward restriction has typically been focused on low-skilled migrants (Peters, 2017 ). In other words, even if immigration policy worldwide becomes more restrictive, this will almost certainly not occur at the expense of highly skilled migrants and will not prevent them choosing their most preferred destination.

Bring It on Home to Me

This article began by asserting that international labor migration is an important piece of globalization, as significant as cross-border flows of capital, goods, and services. This section argues that migrant flows enhance flows of capital and commodities. Uniquely modern conditions such as advanced telecommunications, affordable and efficient international travel, and the liberalization of financial flows mean that diasporas—populations of migrants living outside their countries of origin—and home countries often re-engage with each other (Vertovec, 2004 ; Waldinger, 2008 ). This section reviews some of the newest and most thought-provoking research on international labor migration, research that explores diaspora re-engagement and how that re-engagement alters international flows of income, portfolio and foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, and migratory flows themselves.


As previously argued, migration is often driven by the prospect of higher wages. Rational, utility-maximizing migrants incur the cost of migration in order to earn increased income that they could not earn at home. But when migrants obtain higher wages, this additional increment to income is not always designated for individual consumption. Often, migrants use their new income to send remittances, direct transfers of money from one individual to another across national borders. Once a marginal financial flow, in 2015 remittances totaled $431 billion, far outpacing foreign aid ($135 billion) and nearly passing private debt and portfolio equity ($443 billion). More than 70% of total global remittances flow into developing countries (World Bank, 2016 ). In comparison with other financial flows such as portfolio investment and FDI, remittances are more impervious to economic crises, suggesting that they may be a countercyclical force to global downturns (Leblang, 2017 ).

Remittances represent one of the most common ways in which migrants re-engage with their homeland and alter both global income flows and distribution. Why do migrants surrender large portions of their new income, supposedly the very reason they migrated in the first place, to their families back home? New economics of labor migration (NELM) theory argues that immigration itself is motivated by a family’s need or demand for remittances—that remittances are an integral part of a family’s strategy for diversifying household financial risk (Stark & Bloom, 1985 ). Remittances “are a manifestation of informal contractual agreements between migrants and the households from which they move,” indicating that remitting is not an individual-level or purely altruistic action but rather occurs in a larger social context, that of one’s immediate or extended family (European Asylum Support Office, 2016 , p. 15).

The impact of migrant remittances on countries of origin is multifaceted yet somewhat ambiguous. Most scholarly work focuses on whether remittances positively or negatively influence existing economic conditions. A number of studies find that remittances modestly reduce poverty levels in developing countries (Adams & Page, 2005 ; Yang & Martinez, 2006 ; Acosta, Calderon, Fajnzybler, & Lopez, 2008 ; Lokshin, Bontch-Osmolovski, & Glinskaya, 2010 ). On other measures of economic well-being, such as growth, inequality, and health, the literature is quite mixed and no definitive conclusions can be drawn. For instance, some studies find that remittances encourage investment in human capital (Yang, 2008 ; Adams & Cuecuecha, 2010 ), while others find no such effect and suggest that families typically spend remittances on non-productive consumption goods (Chami, Fullenkamp, & Jahjah, 2003 ). Here we can only scratch the surface of the empirical work on remittances and economic outcomes. 7

Some of the most recent research in the field argues that remittances have a distinct political dimension, affecting regime support in developing countries and altering the conditions in which elections are held. Ahmed ( 2012 ), grouping remittances with foreign aid, argues that increased remittances allow autocratic governments to extend their tenure in office. These governments can strategically channel unearned government and household income to finance political patronage networks, which leads to a reduced likelihood of autocratic turnover, regime collapse, and mass protests against the regime. More recent research posits nearly the exact opposite: remittances are linked to a greater likelihood of democratization under autocratic regimes. Escriba-Folch, Meseguer, and Wright ( 2015 ) argue that since remittances directly increase household incomes, they reduce voter reliance on political patronage networks, undermining a key tool of autocratic stability.

Remittances may also play an important role in countries with democratic institutions, yet more research is needed to fully understand the conditions under which they matter and their substantive impact. Particularly, remittances may alter the dynamics of an election as an additional and external financial flow. There is evidence of political remittance cycles : the value of remittances spikes in the run-up to elections in developing countries. The total value of remittances to the average developing country increases by 6.6% during election years, and by 12% in elections in which no incumbent or named successor is running (O’Mahony, 2012 ). The effect is even larger in the poorest of developing countries. Finer-grained tests of this hypothesis provide additional support: using monthly and quarterly data confirms the existence of political remittance cycles, as well as using subnational rather than cross-national data (Nyblade & O’Mahony, 2014 ). However, these studies do not reveal why remittances spike, or what the effects of that spike are on electoral outcomes such as vote share, campaign financing, and political strategy.

Remittances represent a massive international financial flow that warrants more scholarly attention. While there are numerous studies on the relationship between remittances and key economic indicators, there remains much room for further work on their relationship to political outcomes in developing countries. Do remittances hasten the downfall of autocratic regimes, or do they contribute to autocratic stability? In democratic contexts, do remittances substantively influence electoral outcomes, and if so, which outcomes and how? Finally, do remittances prevent even more migration because they allow one “breadwinner from abroad” to provide for the household that remains in the homeland? While data limitations are formidable, these questions are important to the study of both international and comparative political economy.

Bilateral Trade

The argument that migrant or co-ethnic networks play an important role in international economic exchange is not novel. Greif ( 1989 , 1993 ) illustrates the role that the Maghrebi traders of the 11th century played in providing informal institutional guarantees that facilitated trade. This is but a single example. Cowen’s historical survey identifies not only the Phoenicians but also the “Spanish Jews [who] were indispensable for international commerce in the Middle Ages. The Armenians controlled the overland route between the Orient and Europe as late as the nineteenth century . Lebanese Christians developed trade between the various parts of the Ottoman empire” (Cowen, 1997 , p. 170). Rauch and Trindade ( 2002 ) provide robust empirical evidence linking the Chinese diaspora to patterns of imports and exports with their home country.

A variety of case studies document the importance of migrant networks in helping overcome problems of information asymmetries. In his study of Indian expatriates residing in the United States, Kapur ( 2014 ) documents how that community provides U.S. investors with a signal of the work ethic, labor quality, and business culture that exists in India. Likewise, Weidenbaum and Hughes ( 1996 ) chronicle the Bamboo Network—the linkages between ethnic Chinese living outside mainland China and their homeland—and how these linkages provide superior access to information and opportunities for investment.

Connections between migrant communities across countries affect cross-national investment even when these connections do not provide information about investment opportunities. In his work on the Maghrebi traders of the 11th century , Greif argues that this trading network was effective because it was able to credibly threaten collective punishment by all merchants if even one of them defected (Greif, 1989 , 1993 ). Grief shows that this co-ethnic network was able to share information regarding the past actions of actors (they could communicate a reputation)—something that was essential for the efficient functioning of markets in the absence of formal legal rules. Weidenbaum and Hughes reach a similar conclusion about the effectiveness of the Bamboo Network, remarking that “if a business owner violates an agreement, he is blacklisted. This is far worse than being sued, because the entire Chinese networks will refrain from doing business with the guilty party” (Hughes, 1996 , p. 51).

Migrants not only alter the flow of income by remitting to their countries of origin, but also influence patterns of international portfolio investment and FDI. Most existing literature on international capital allocation emphasizes monadic factors such as the importance of credible commitments and state institutional quality, failing to address explicitly dyadic phenomena that may also drive investment. Diaspora networks, in particular, facilitate cross-border investment in a number of ways. They foster a higher degree of familiarity between home and host countries, leading to a greater preference for investment in specific countries. Diaspora networks can also decrease information asymmetries in highly uncertain international capital markets in two ways. Firstly, they can provide investors with salient information about their homeland, such as consumer tastes, that can influence investment decision-making. Secondly, they can share knowledge about investment opportunities, regulation and procedures, and customs that decrease transaction costs associated with cross-border investment (Leblang, 2010 ). This place of importance for migrants suggests to the broader international political economy literature the importance of non-institutional mechanisms for channeling economic activity.

Although the hypothesized link between migrants and international investment has only recently been identified, the quantitative evidence available supports that hypothesis. Leblang ( 2010 ), using dyadic cross-sectional data, finds that diaspora networks “have both a substantively significant effect and a statistically significant effect on cross-border investment,” including international portfolio investment and FDI (p. 584). The effect of bilateral migratory flows correlates positively with the degree of information asymmetry: when informational imperfections are more pervasive in a dyad, migrants (especially the highly skilled) play a disproportionately large role in international capital allocation (Kugler, Levinthal, & Rapoport, 2017 ). Other quantitative studies find substantively similar results for FDI alone (e.g., Javorcik, Özden, Spatareanu, & Neagu, 2011 ; Aubry, Rapoport, & Reshef, 2016 ).

Many questions still remain unanswered. Firstly, does the effect of migrants on investment follow the waves of the global economy, or is it countercyclical as remittances have been shown to be? Secondly, how does this additional investment, facilitated by migrants, affect socioeconomic outcomes such as inequality, poverty, and economic development (Leblang, 2010 )? Does the participation of migrants lead to more successful FDI projects in developing countries because of their ability to break down information barriers? Within portfolio investment, do migrants lead to a preference for certain asset classes over others, and if so, what are the effects on bilateral and international capital markets? These are just a few directions in an area ripe for additional research.

Return Migration and Dual Citizenship

Besides financial flows, migrants themselves directly contribute to global flows of capital by returning to their countries of origin in large numbers. This phenomenon of return migration—or circular migration—can come in a few temporal forms, including long-term migration followed by a permanent return to a country of origin, or repeat migration in which a migrant regularly moves between destination and origin countries (Dumont & Spielvogel, 2008 ). While comparable data on return migration is scarce, some reports suggest that 20% to 50% of all immigrants leave their destination country within five years after their arrival (e.g., Borjas & Bratsberg, 1996 ; Aydemir & Robinson, 2008 ; Bratsberg, Raaum, & Sørlie, 2007 ; Dustmann & Weiss, 2007 ). An independent theoretical and empirical account of return migration does not yet exist in the literature and is beyond the scope of this paper. But in the rational actor framework, motivations to return home include a failure to realize the expected benefits of migration, changing preferences toward a migrant’s home country, achievement of a savings or other economic goal, or the opening of additional employment opportunities back home due to newly acquired experience or greater levels of economic development (Dumont & Spielvogel, 2008 ).

While most migration literature treats the country of origin as a passive actor that only provides the conditions for migration, new literature on return migration gives home country policies pride of place. Origin countries can craft policies that encourage diaspora re-engagement, incentivizing individuals to return home. Dual citizenship, for example, is an extension of extraterritorial rights, allowing migrants to retain full legal status in their home country. Dual citizenship “decreases the transaction costs associated with entering a host country’s labor market and makes it easier for migrants to return home” (Leblang, 2017 , p. 77). This leads migrants to invest their financial resources in the form of remittances back home as well as their valuable human capital. When states provide such extraterritorial rights, expatriates are 10% more likely to remit and 3% more likely to return home. Dual citizenship is also associated with a doubling of the dollar amount of remittances received by a home country (Leblang, 2017 ). These striking results suggest that in addition to the power of migrants to affect cross-border flows of money and people, countries of origin can also play a significant role.

Conclusion and Future Directions

This brief article has attempted to synthesize a broad range of literature from political science, economics, sociology, migration studies, and more to construct an account of international labor migration. To do so, the migratory process was broken down into distinct stages and decision points, focusing particularly on the decision to migrate, destination choice, and the re-engagement of migrants with their homeland. In doing so, the article also discussed the interlinkages of international migration with other fields of study in international political economy, including cross-border financial flows, trade, and investment. Through a multiplicity of approaches, we have gained a greater understanding of why people decide to move, why they decide to move to one country over another, and how and why they engage with the global economy and their homeland. Despite this intellectual progress, there remain many paths for future research at each stage of the migratory process; we highlight just a few of them here.

We know that income differentials, social ties, and local political conditions are important variables influencing the migration process. Yet the question remains: why do a small but growing number of people choose to leave while the overwhelming majority of people remain in their country of birth? Here, individual- or family-level subjective characteristics may be significant. There are a handful of observational studies that explore the relationship between subjective well-being or life satisfaction and the intention to migrate, with the nascent consensus being that life dissatisfaction increases the intention to migrate (Cai, Esipova, Oppenheimer, & Feng, 2014 ; Otrachshenko & Popova, 2014 ; Nikolova & Graham, 2015 ). But more research on intrinsic or subjective measures is needed to understand (a) their independent importance more fully and (b) how they interact with objective economic, political, and social factors. For instance, do those who are more optimistic migrate in larger numbers? Do minority individuals who feel they live in an environment in which diversity is not accepted feel a greater urge to leave home? Synthesizing these types of subjective variables and perceptions with the more prominent gravity-style models could result in a more complete picture of the international migration process.

For the “typical” migrant, one who is relatively less educated than the population in the chosen destination and does not have specialized skills, social networks are key to minimizing the risk of migrating and quickly tapping into economic opportunities in destination countries. Does this remain true for those who are highly educated? Although little empirical research exists on the topic, greater human capital and often-accompanying financial resources may operate as a substitute for the advantages offered by social networks, such as housing, overcoming linguistic barriers, and finding gainful employment. This would indicate that the “friends and family effect” is not as influential for this subset of migrants. Economic considerations, such as which destination offers the largest relative wage differential, or political considerations, such as the ease of quickly acquiring full citizenship rights, may matter more for the highly skilled. Neoclassical economic models of migration may best capture the behavior of migrants who hold human capital and who have the financial resources to independently migrate in a way that maximizes income or utility more broadly.

Since we have focused on international migration as a series of discrete decision points in this article, we have perhaps underemphasized the complexity of the physical migration process. In reality, migrants often do not pick a country and travel directly there, but travel through (perhaps several) countries of transit such as Mexico, Morocco, or Turkey along the way (Angel Castillo, 2006 ; Natter, 2013 ; Icduygu, 2005 ). There is little existing theoretical work to understand the role of transit countries in the migratory process, with much of it focusing on the potential for cooperation between destination and transit countries in managing primarily illegal immigration (Kahana & Lecker, 2005 ; Djajic & Michael, 2014 ; Djajic & Michael, 2016 ). Another related strand of the literature focuses on how wealthy destination countries are “externalizing” their immigration policy, encompassing a broader part of the migratory process than simply crossing a physically demarcated border (Duvell, 2012 ; Menjivar, 2014 ). But many questions remain, such as the following: how do we understand those who desire to enter, say, the United States, but instead relocate permanently to Mexico along the way? How do countries of transit handle the pressure of transit migrants, and how does this affect economic and political outcomes in these countries?

Finally, the focus of nearly all literature on international migration (and this article as a byproduct) implicitly views advanced economies as the only prominent destinations. However, this belies the fact that 38% of all migration stays within the “Global South” (World Bank, 2016 ). While there is certainly some literature on this phenomenon (see Ratha & Shaw, 2007 ; Gindling, 2009 ; Hujo & Piper, 2007 ), international political economy scholars have yet to sufficiently tackle this topic. The overarching research question here is: do the same push and pull factors that influence the decision to migrate and destination choice apply to those who migrate within the Global South? Do we need to construct new theories of international migration with less emphasis on factors such as wage differentials and political tolerance, or are these sufficient to understand this facet of the phenomenon? If we fail to answer these questions, we may miss explaining a significant proportion of international migration with its own consequences and policy implications.

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1. Our use of the term international labor migration follows academic and legal conventions; we use the term migration to refer to the voluntary movement of people across national borders, either in a temporary or permanent fashion. This excludes any discussion of refugees, asylum seekers, or any other groups that are forced to migrate.

2. We do not have space in this article to delve into the theoretical and empirical work unpacking the effect of demographic characteristics—age, gender, marital status, household size, and so forth on the migration decision and on subsequent flows of migrants. For comprehensive reviews, see Lichter ( 1983 ), Morrison and Lichter ( 1988 ); United Nations Population Division ( 2013 ); and Zaiceva and Zimmerman ( 2014 ).

3. Zelinsky ( 1971 ) originally identified this relationship and termed it mobility transition curve . A wealth of empirical work supports Zelinsky’s descriptive theory in a number of contexts (see Akerman, 1976 ; Gould, 1979 ; Hatton & Williamson, 1994 ; and Dao et al., 2016 ).

4. For a review of the arguments as well as some empirical tests, see Miller and Peters ( 2018 ) and Docquier, Lodigiani, Rapoport, and Schiff ( 2018 ).

5. Transparency International. “What is corruption?”

6. For example, former United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has called for the United Kingdom to adopt an immigration system that only allows in highly skilled migrants (“UKIP launches immigration policy”). In 2014, US President Barack Obama emphasized that he wanted to attract international students to American universities and that they “create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America” (USA Today: “Full text: Obama’s immigration speech”). A key issue in Germany’s 2018 government formation was the creation of skill-based migration laws (Severin & Martin, 2018 ).

7. For a more comprehensive review, see Rapoport and Docquier ( 2006 ); and Adams ( 2011 ).

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Immigration Issues in the United States

Introduction to the problem.

Global economic inequalities and the growing demand for highly skilled workers and the demographic decline in the industrial democracies have led to wide range of economic opportunities for migrants in the industrially advanced nations. This has opened up the movement of foreign nationals into the United States like any other country where there are more opportunities for earning a decent living.

Definition of the Issue

During greater part of this century, there has been considerable inflow of immigrants into the United States creating tensions among the Americans already living in the country. The native-born Americans believed that they lose their employment opportunities and the availability of other welfare measures to the immigrants thereby affecting the standards of living. The migration of people needs to be controlled by the US government like any other transnational economic activity such as trade or investment through proper legislator measures (Ueda, 2006). The need for formulating prudent immigration policies has been felt by even those who support the benefits and values the immigrants bring with them into the country. However, significant differences among different groups as to what could be an acceptable immigration policy.

This is because of the fact that there are several humanitarian, economic, political and ethical considerations go into the framing of the immigration policies by the government. This essay discusses the issues involved in the immigration into the United States and the ways in which such issues can be resolved.

Factors Contributing to Uncertainties or Ambiguities

The scope of the problem of illegal immigration in the United States has remained undefined due to the vagueness of the immigration policies. Since the issue is one of highly political nature there has never been well-defined legislative approach to the immigration issues in the US.

Economic considerations play a major role in deciding the extent of restrictions on immigration. The contribution of the immigrants to the growth of the economy is a key consideration and in the past the immigration policies of the US government had inconsistencies and contradictions. While many of the Americans could recognize the benefits of immigration, a large proportion of the people cannot understand them. As a result the immigrants have been blamed for a number of issues including the reduction in the employment opportunities and increase social service burden for the Americans.

Illegal immigration is one of the major issues in the United States. According to the estimates by academic and government agencies, there are more than 10 million illegal immigrants living in the country. However the Bear-Stearns investment firm has estimated the number of illegal immigrants living in the country close to 20 million. The illegal immigrants enter mostly from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia and other South and Central American regions. However, more than 50% of the illegal immigrants hail from Mexico (White, 2009).

There is no way the number and size of the illegal immigrants in the US can be estimated precisely. This also adds to the ambiguity of the problem.

Discussion and Critical Evaluation of the Evidence

Supporting evidence.

Immigration has varying impacts for different interest groups. Supporters to the immigration include corporations which enhance their profitability from the cheap foreign labor and ethnic minority groups which strive to increase their political base. There are religious activists, humanitarian organizations and civil rights groups which attempt to achieve their human rights and ethical goals also support immigration policies enabling increase in the inflow of foreign workers into the country. At the same time there are other interest groups who oppose the entry of immigrants who view such entry as a threat to the American culture and to the environmental conditions due to the growth in the population. One of the pieces of evidence is the empirical data on the flow of immigrants both legal and illegal into the United States.

The number of immigrants has been estimated at 1,000,000 legally and 300,000 to 500,000 illegally every year. According to Settles (2001) this figure has increased from 14,000 about 60 years ago to the magnitude indicated.

The second piece of evidence is the employment status among African Americans and Hispanics. Cohen (200) points out in 1983, African Americans held 280,000 more manufacturing jobs than Hispanics. While Hispanic employment grew to 139,000 jobs between 1983 and 1995, African American employment only grew by about 5,000 jobs. Therefore the labor advocates consider immigration responsible for significant losses of job opportunities to the native-born Americans and reduction in wage levels.

According to studies there is a high impact of immigration on the socio-economic groups. The study by National Academy of Science reports that while the investors in general have been benefited from the immigration wage earners have an adverse impact.

This situation is based on the economic theory that with the increase in the supply of labor there will be a decline in the real wage rates. It has been observed that immigration has significantly affected the wage levels in respect of certain professions like college teachers, scientists and physicians. Because of the fact that more than 80 percent of the immigrant workers tend to be characterized with lower levels of skills and poor education they tend to accept lower levels of wages. This has led to the decline of the annual earnings especially of farmworkers from 20 to30 percent in the past two decades.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Evidence

The first evidence provides a basis for assuming the magnitude of the issue of illegal immigrants

The strength of the second evidence is that it provides the basis for studying the ethnicity of the issue of immigration.

The first evidence suffers from the weakness of being unreliable as the empirical data has the character of being a mere estimation. There is no authority or official figures to back up the number of illegal immigrants stated to be between 300,000 and 500,000. Any statistical information cannot have a variation of 200,000 between the upper and lower boundary levels.

The second evidence suffers from the weakness of being biased and lacking any authority behind the stated figures. This evidence also is outdated to the current issue and hence cannot be accepted as valid evidence.

Bias/Assumption underlying the Perspectives

The first assumption is that the immigration policy should be hard-headed and there should be a guest worker program developed to deal with illegal immigrants’ issues.

The second assumption underlying the immigration issue is that entrusting the responsibility of protecting the borders, if left with the military, it might lead to undesirable consequences, as the military has not been trained to meet the challenges of civil issues. The other assumption is that it is possible for the military to deal with the civil problems only by use of lethal force, because the training, which makes the soldiers outstanding warriors, also makes them dangerous as cops.

Evaluation of the Evidence

The problem with the first evidence is that it is not possible to precisely estimate the number of illegal immigrants in the country and whatever figures reported can at best be an estimate. Therefore this evidence lacks validity.

The second evidence provides outdated statistical information. There might have been changes in the periods after the figures indicated as evidence. Moreover any statistics relied on as evidence without the backing of the official source or authority has to be considered as weak and it will not substantiate the findings of the study.

Conclusion including Solutions and Limitations

Solutions to the problem.

  • The immigration policies can be amended to include humanitarian considerations and the issue of national worker identification cards. There should be a restriction on the chain immigration restricting the entry to spouse and children, in addition to drastic reduction in the job-skills based immigration (Honey & Barry, 1997).
  • The number of immigration officers can be increased so that there can be better protection of the borders from the immigrants entering the country illegally.

Limitations to the Problems

  • The immigration issue always had a political bias. Therefore there is non guarantee that the government would introduce sweeping changes with respect to its immigration policies. Secondly the assessment of eligibility of people for issue of visas based on their respective skills is a complex phenomenon which is highly impractical. Hence this solution lacks practicality.
  • The mere increase in the number of immigration officers cannot solve the problem as there will be still the problems relating to the existing illegal immigrants and their families. The second limitation of this solution is that any number of immigration officers cannot prevent those immigrants who enter the country with valid travel documents and overstay in the country. It is not possible to crack down on the illegal immigrants and send them out of the country en-mass on a particular date.

Thus, formulating policies with respect to immigration has several ramifications in the form of economic, social and ethical considerations. The humanitarian considerations also weigh with the government in framing the policies covering the immigration. Protecting the standards of living and rights of native-born American citizens by strictly restricting the entry of illegal immigrants is another important concern of the government in the area of immigration policy. Strengthening border security alone cannot be considered as the solution to tackle the issues relating to immigration.

There must be several supporting actions that need to be taken by the government including strict enforcement of the Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986 acting against businesses engaging illegal immigrants. However it must be remembered that the US economy would simply collapse without the immigrant labor and therefore any immigration policy should be balanced taking both positive and negative sides of immigration issues.

Therefore I believe that controlling the illegal immigration issue should be left to the employers by introducing stricter legislation requiring the employers to control the immigration status of the people being employed by them. Since the other solutions discussed are far from practicality, the solution of insisting on the employers to advise the immigration status of all their employees can be considered suitable. Prescribing penal provisions for those employers who employ illegal immigrants would deter the proliferation of illegal immigrants.

Cohen, S. (2006) Deportation Is Freedom! The Orwellian World of Immigration Controls. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Honey, M., & Barry, T. (1997). In Focus: The Immigration Debate . Web.

Settles, B. H. (2001) Being at Home in a Global Society: A Model for Families’ Mobility and Immigration Decisions Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 32(4), 627.

Ueda, R. (2006). A Companion to American Immigration. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

White, D. (2009). Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation . Web.

migration problem essay

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Exercise Science


  1. Migration Essay

    migration problem essay

  2. International Migration to the UK Essay Example

    migration problem essay

  3. immigration essay thesis statement

    migration problem essay

  4. The impact of migration on families around the world

    migration problem essay

  5. The Great Migration -Accomodated

    migration problem essay

  6. 1 Introduction and Overview

    migration problem essay


  1. Migration as a Social Problem

    The major problems of migration include poverty, acculturation, education, social adjustment, employment, housing, and family difficulties. These problems are understood in different ways; how they affect the migrants, immigrants, their origin, and destination.

  2. Challenges Of Migration Essay

    Challenges Of Migration Essay. 1110 Words5 Pages. Migration presents both opportunities and challenges for societies, communities and individuals. Migration alters the structure of families. While it is true that economic factors are major drivers, migration involves highly diverse groups of people, including girls, boys, women, men, and better ...

  3. Essay on Migration

    (a) On the area experiencing immigration, (b) On the area experiencing out-migration, and (c) On the migrants themselves, the purpose of migration may be employment, business, education, family movement, marriage, calamity, etc. These migrants have very little skill and professional expertise, moreover they lack literacy.

  4. Migration Problem in the USA

    Migration Problem in the USA. The Trump organization has proposed intense cuts in lawful movement, dissimilar to any observed since the Migration Demonstration of 1924, as a major aspect of its sticker price to sanction the Visionaries who were qualified for an expulsion help program slaughtered by President Trump.

  5. Issues Related To Migration

    Issues Related To Migration. Migration influences the social, political, economic life of the people of a country which has higher immigrants. In India, migration either domestic or international, has a major effect on country's economy. International migration has become an important feature in globalized markets influencing the economic ...

  6. Migration Essay

    Migration is defined as a process of moving, either across an interna¬tional border, or within a country. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 1 billion migrants in the world today, of whom 214 million are international migrants and 740 millions internal migrants (WHO 2008). The globalized world of today is defined by ...

  7. Immigration Problem Solution Essay

    Immigration Problem Solution Essay. 965 Words4 Pages. Emigration, the act of such persons leaving their country and heading to a country of foreigners for different reasons. Immigration has never been an easy choice, but recently factors have made it easier. Immigrants, in my point of view, can be divided into two kinds, the first are people ...

  8. The Problem with Immigration Essay examples

    The Problem with Immigration Essay examples Decent Essays 1727 Words 7 Pages Open Document There are many, many issues when it comes to immigration and migration. Nothing is just black and white, and there is always at least two sides to a story, usually more than that.

  9. Why migration is in such a mess once more

    The EU's €6bn ($6.4bn) migration agreement with Turkey in 2016 was a desperate, and largely successful, attempt to block a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis, which scarred Europe. Despite ...

  10. Essay Migration Problem

    Essay Migration Problem. Level: College, University, High School, Master's, PHD, Undergraduate. 1753. Finished Papers. 1 (888)814-4206 1 (888)499-5521. Nursing Business and Economics Psychology Management +86.

  11. Migration Problem In Europe Essay

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  12. Essay Migration Problem

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  13. Immigration, Social Problem Problem Solution And Exploratory Essay

    Order custom essay Immigration, Social Problem with free plagiarism report 450+ experts on 30 subjects Starting from 3 hours delivery Get Essay Help. The reason why there has been valid and real concern about immigration is because of the unfettered immigration allowed by labor and the obvious failure of their policy's in the inner cities. ...

  14. Causes and effects of human migration (article)

    [Explanation] Causes of migration in Africa In the preindustrial era, environmental factors like droughts, natural disasters, and climate all influenced human decisions about where to migrate. The expansion of Bantu-speaking peoples through Central Africa illustrates this relationship between environment and migration.

  15. Immigration Problem Essay

    Immigration Problem Essay | Best Writing Service. User ID: 108253. 1800. Finished Papers. User ID: 109262. 1 (888)302-2675 1 (888)814-4206.

  16. Essay Migration Problem

    Essay Migration Problem - ID 1580252. Finished paper. Susanne. You can only compare 4 properties, any new property added will replace the first one from the comparison. Social Sciences.

  17. Essay Migration Problem

    College Paper Writing Service. REVIEWS HIRE. 1 (888)302-2675 1 (888)814-4206. The first step in making your write my essay request is filling out a 10-minute order form. Submit the instructions, desired sources, and deadline. If you want us to mimic your writing style, feel free to send us your works.

  18. Essay on Immigration, Its Issues, Pros and Cons

    Illegal Immigration Migrating, by violating the immigration laws of the host country, is known as illegal immigration. It has a socio-economic effect on the country. The illicit migrants might be a risk of facing deportation or any other sanction.

  19. FACT SHEET: President

    Next Post: FACT SHEET:Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic Investment to Bolster Nation's Electric Grid Infrastructure, Cut Energy Costs for Families, and Create Good-paying Jobs FACT ...

  20. Essay Migration Problem

    Essay Migration Problem, Cover Letter Edinburgh University, Order Phd Dissertation, Lesson 5 Homework Practice Graph Ratio Tables Answer Key, Free Salutatorian Speeches, Administrator Cover Letter Template Uk, Esl Case Study Editing Websites For College ...

  21. Global Migration: Causes and Consequences

    Introduction. The steady growth of international labor migration is an important, yet underappreciated, aspect of globalization. 1 In 1970, just 78 million people, or about 2.1% of the global population, lived outside their country of birth.By 1990, that number had nearly doubled to more than 150 million people, or about 2.8% of the global population (United Nations Population Division, 2012).

  22. 3 ways governments can solve migration crises

    The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.

  23. Disadvantages Of International Migration Essay

    Immigration Problem Solution Essay 965 Words | 4 Pages. Emigration, the act of such persons leaving their country and heading to a country of foreigners for different reasons. Immigration has never been an easy choice, but recently factors have made it easier. Immigrants, in my point of view, can be divided into two kinds, the first are people ...

  24. Immigration Issues in the United States

    In only 3 hours we'll deliver a custom Immigration Issues in the United States essay written 100% from scratch Learn more ... Solutions to the Problem. The immigration policies can be amended to include humanitarian considerations and the issue of national worker identification cards. There should be a restriction on the chain immigration ...

  25. Immigration Problem Essay

    Immigration Problem Essay, Article Ghostwriting Site Usa, Expository Essay Writer Free, Professional Home Work Ghostwriters Services For University, Sample Cover Letter Wikijob, How To Write A Telesales Cover Letter, With Criterion, reviewing is done directly with one another. Students are paired with each other using the course settings you've ...