Posts Tagged ‘migration’

internal migration in China

Monday, May 6th, 2019

I just finished reading a delightful book written by Chinese journalist Karoline Kan. Her work is autobiographical, and more, since she writes also about the lives of a cousin, her parents, grandparents and great-uncle. The 300-page book is very readable, and, at the same time, very informative. I recommend it highly. Among other things, I learned that government control of internal migration began centuries ago, long before the Communist government came to power.

Here is a portion of the book that explains the migration controls. In her memoir, Ms Kan goes on to explain the effect these controls had on her, and on the lives of her parents and grandparents. (more…)

immigration policies of Republican presidents

Monday, June 25th, 2018

FT columnist Edward Luce, in an op-ed last week, highlighted the rise of anti-Americanism in the world. “US pollsters”, he wrote, “routinely find that more of the world trusts China to uphold global stability than America”. What caught my attention, though, was Luce’s point that Trump’s treatment of immigrants is so different from that of his Republican predecessors:

Both Reagan and Bush junior were keen to create new citizens. Reagan gave amnesty to 3m [3 million] illegal immigrants. Mr Bush said if Mexicans could make it across the border, “hell we want ‘em”. Mr Trump called African countries “shitholes” and uses words such as “animals”, “infest” and “criminals” when talking of Central America.

Edward Luce, “The rise of a new generation of anti-Americans“, Financial Times, 22 June 2018 (gated paywall).

murderous Muslim refugees

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

FT columnist Simon Kuper, a self-described liberal and globalist, responds to criticisms he has received from nationalist readers. Among the many “forcefully argued comments” he addresses, this one seems particularly important.

“Given Islamist terrorism, it’s naive to let Muslim refugees into Europe.” Anyone surveying the Crusades or the ruins of Europe in 1648, 1918 or 1945 would have been puzzled by the proposition that Islam is uniquely murderous. But it’s true that since the 1980s it’s become the only major religion in which a tiny minority has joined a death cult. The refugees of 2015 arrived in Europe unscreened, so we have no idea who among them are suspect. A study by the liberal German newspaper Die Zeit also shows that the recent arrivals are disproportionately more likely to commit violent crime.

However, almost all the refugees are peaceful people fleeing war, which seems fair enough. If we’re going to bar them because a tiny minority might be murderous, then the US should kick out all young American males, chief perpetrators of the country’s 250,000 homicides over the past 15 years. In that period, Islamic terrorists have killed somewhere under 1,000 people across the west. [Emphasis added.]

Europe cannot let in unlimited refugees. However, a continent that handled millions when at rock-bottom in 1945 can take under two million now.

Simon Kuper, “My comeback on Trump, Le Pen, Brexit, climate change …“, Financial Times, 27 April 2017 (gated paywall).

anti-immigrant xenophobia in the United States

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

This weekend’s Financial Times contains a very dark essay from FT columnist Simon Schama. He argues, correctly, that nativism is nothing new in the United States. What worries him is that it now dominates the office of the President.

[T]he moral stench of anti-immigrant xenophobia is nothing new in American history. What is new is that it now lodges in the White House. This is a radical departure from presidential norms, Republican as well as Democratic. …. Ronald Reagan declared his aim to secure control of American borders but not before he had given an amnesty to 3m illegal immigrants. George W Bush tried time and again to persuade his party towards a humane immigration policy and, six days after 9/11, made a point of going to the Islamic Center in Washington to denounce precisely the conflation of Islam and terrorism that now animates the incumbent.

The world is separating into two irreconcilable halves: those who want to live only alongside those who look, pray and speak like them, and those millions in the great ethnically jumbled cities who want to share the neighbourhood.

Simon Schama, “America’s immigrant dream collides with nativist nightmares“, Financial Times, 4 February 2017 (gated paywall).

reflections of a Vietnam war refugee

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

This weekend’s Financial Times contains a number of ‘must read’ essays. Here is one of them, a reflection by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen on American identity and the treatment of refugees in the United States. (more…)

refugees in the USA

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

President Donald Trump last week blocked all admission of Syrian refugees and temporarily suspended the entire US refugee programme. This are incredible measures, especially given that the US has few refugees compared to other countries. Below are two charts from an FT column that illustrate this point. I remind you that refugees are defined as those who flee their home country because of persecution or violence, and must prove they face “serious harm” should they return home. Migrants are those who voluntarily choose to leave their home country, often for economic reasons.

Source: Lauren Leatherby, “Trump clampdown: four charts on the US refugee programme“, 28 January 2017 (metered paywall).

There are two more charts, and a wealth of information, at the link above.




Trump’s coming restriction of visas for skilled workers

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

This week, the US tech companies were disturbed to learn that Donald Trump had won the presidential election. The fear is that Trump will carry out a promise to restrict H1-B visas, making it difficult for them to recruit skilled guest workers.

Hannah Kuchler, FT San Francisco correspondent, provides the full story. One paragraph, which is very optimistic (at least for actuaries and for Canada!), caught my attention.

If Mr Trump does restrict immigration in the industry, tech companies will find other ways to benefit from foreign expertise. Mr [Rob] Atkinson [president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think-tank] said some might expand in countries that make it easier to hire immigrants such as Canada, where Justin Trudeau’s administration is creating an innovation policy that will encourage companies to hire high-skilled software engineers, wherever they are from. Mr [Brian] Kropp [human resources leader at CEB] suggested companies could launch more extensive training programmes, for example, taking a group of actuaries and training them to be data scientists.

Hannah Kuchler, “Silicon Valley frets over foreign worker crackdown“, Financial Times, 13 November 2016 (metered paywall).

I also found the following charts interesting. Note the large percentage of Indian nationals among recipients of H1-B visas.

foreigners and US politics

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

FT columnist Simon Kuper explains what many of us already knew: “the American election probably matters more to foreigners than it does to most Americans”.

The US inhabits a gated mansion in the safest neighbourhood in geopolitics. Even if the Red Army had rolled across western Europe, life in Alabama or Ohio would have been almost undisturbed. It’s telling that when Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign, he had to invent a foreign bogeyman, the Mexican rapist. The US is immune to the world in a way that British Brexiters can only fantasise about. This means that the American election probably matters more to foreigners than it does to most Americans. The US president has the power to protect the rest of the world, mess us up or simply ignore us.

Simon Kuper, “America’s elections — or the world’s?“, Financial Times, 27 October 2016 (metered paywall).

Mr Kuper’s point is especially applicable to Canada. Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919–2000) famously said, during a 1969 visit to Washington, DC: “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

Syrian refugees in Victoria, BC

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Canada last year made a commitment to bring 25,000 of Syria’s 4.5 million refugees to the country as immigrants. The 25,000 target was met in early 2016, and 30,862 Syrian refugees are now in Canada. This is a small number compared to the total number of refugees, but large compared to the 10,000 number of the USA, which attained this low target only in August of 2016. The US population is ten times larger than that of Canada, yet Canada has brought in three times as many refugees.

The small city of Victoria, BC (metropolitan population 345,000) has warmly welcomed 154 Syrian refugees (40 families). Some of the refugees are supported by Canada’s federal government, others by private sponsors such as churches, temples and mosques. There is no discrimination by religion. Jewish temples, for example, proudly sponsor Muslim refugees.

There has been little press coverage in Canada of this influx of Syrian refugees, a reflection of the fact that resettlement is taking place peacefully, without incidents. The initial flood of refugee support has unfortunately slowed, however, precisely because refugees rarely feature in the news. For this reason, I was pleased to see publication in a Victoria newspaper of a plea for more sponsors of refugees.

[Jean McRae, CEO of the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria] explained language is a significant issue for the newcomers.

“Without a working knowledge of English, it’s hard for them to find employment, and the children, who have already had significant disruptions in their education, find it difficult to catch up in a new language,” said McRae, adding the stellar work of the school system and volunteers in providing help with English education has helped to address the situation.

“We also run workshops on the Canadian workplace, teaching the refugees how to look for work, prepare a resume, reply to online job offerings and even how to handle interviews. It’s a completely different culture, and we know that getting them here was just the beginning of the work that needs to be done.” ….

The commitment of the government and private sponsors has been to provide housing and support for one year, noted McRae, adding that, for some, it may not be reasonable to expect full self sufficiency at the end of that time.

“Of course, we’ll stay in touch with them beyond the first year and help where we can. But I can tell you these people are quite amazing and I have no doubt they’ll soon find their way to becoming self sufficient and contributing residents to Victoria.”

Tim Collins, “Sponsors still needed for many more Syrian refugees“, Victoria News, 7 October 2016.

Canada’s unique refugee programme

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Canada’s private sponsorship programme is the oldest and best known in the world. Its implementation coincided with another conflict four decades ago.

The new policy came into force in 1978 under former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government, just as people were growing increasingly alarmed at the plight of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians fleeing communist regimes by sea in leaking, unsafe boats.

The programme, overseen by the federal government, allows groups of private citizens – often with ties to faith-based organisations, cultural groups or humanitarian organisations – to directly sponsor refugees. ….

From January 1979 to December 1980, Canada resettled 60,049 so-called “boat people.” More than 50%, were privately sponsored, often by complete strangers. ….

Since last November, Canada has welcomed over 30,000 Syrian refugees. Almost 11,300 were brought in through private sponsorship.

Jessica Murphy, “The unique programme that brings refugees to Canada“, BBC News, 20 September 2016.

There is much more – including video – at the link. It is worth noting that the USA, with ten times the population of Canada, has accepted fewer than 10,000 Syrian refugees.