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Immigration: Causes, Effects and Control


The Merriam Webster dictionary defines immigration as the act of entering a foreign country and establishing oneself as a permanent citizen. Many people move away from their native countries in search of more resources to better their lives. Immigration in the 21st century has particularly increased because of economic, political, and social glitches. Many developing countries-especially those in Africa and in India-have limited resources in terms of infrastructure, education, social amenities and jobs for their citizens. Other major contributors are social problems of insecurity and drugs. This fuels poverty and desperation making it a necessity to seek a better life elsewhere. As a result, majority of the immigrants in the world today target first world countries such as the US, UK and countries in Europe. The US alone boasts of hosting 20 percent of the total global immigrants making up 13 percent of its total population. The Human Development Report of 2009 estimated the total number of people living and working in foreign countries to be about 214 million in 2008. Immigration is a global issue and has different effects on the countries involved.

Effects of Immigration

Immigration is a persistent issue; it has caused researchers and government officials sleepless nights in a bid to discover its impacts on both receiver and sender countries. The general argument is that immigration may have both negative and positive effects on the economy and social stability of a country. Immigration affects the labor market by increasing the workforce. Immigrant workers fill low-end jobs that otherwise disgust native workers. Such jobs may include construction jobs and cleaning jobs. Immigrants also bring exemplary skills. Consequently, some of them create jobs for native workers through their entrepreneurial skills. As a result, a receiver country may experience long-term economic growth directly attributed to the immigrants. On the other hand, sender countries enjoy a boost in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) emanating from remittances. Immigrants often send money to relatives back in their mother countries. The receiving family members use this money for development, which alleviates poverty in their households.

Immigration negatively affects sender countries by draining their brainpower. This results from the migration of highly educated professionals in developing countries to the first world countries in search of better-paying jobs. As a result, the developing countries experience shortages in skilled professionals such as doctors and engineers. Natives in receiving countries may also accuse immigrants of consuming more than their share of resources. Such may include welfare benefits such as housing incentives and education grants. However, many researchers argue that immigrants end up paying for these resources through their tax contributions though this might only be true for later generations of immigrants.

Controlling Immigration

Immigration itself is not a bad thing but when it attracts illegal activities such as illegal migration, drug trafficking and terrorism, it becomes a social problem that authorities must deal with. Such problems have driven many developed countries to set up immigration policies, laws and regulations for example, the U.S. through INA (The Immigration and Naturalization Act) limits the annual number of permanent immigrants to 675,000. However, it gives exceptions for close family member. Authority bodies such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) have a task of controlling illegal immigration. Such bodies identify illegal immigrants, apprehend them and then deport them to their countries of origin or take any other necessary measures on them. Such measures make sure that a country is able to contain illegal immigration and problems that come with it.

Immigration is a major issue that affects many people in the world today. It is mainly because of biting poverty in developing countries. Immigration poses a threat to the stability of both developed and developing economies. As such, authorities should put measures in place to control immigration-both legal and illegal immigration-effectively.

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