Short Discussion

Immigration continues to be a very critical topic in the US.  Although the issue of immigration is currently focused on what happens to children, the issue of immigration is very complex and is really well understood by not too many people.  In this discussion, I want you to consider the current aspects of the immigration issue in the media AND the explanations from our chapter (and summarized below) of the push-pull factors.

Whether people immigrate through proper channels (and with documents) or not, one of the aspects of immigration we study in this chapter is the push and pull of immigration.  Why do people leave home countries and why do they try to reach certain receiving or destination countries?  I’ve summarized this aspect below.  Your assignment follows the summary.

Push Factors – Push factors come in many forms. Sometimes these factors leave people with no choice but to leave their country of origin. The major push factors are – 

(1) Civil Strife/War/Political and Religious Persecution:  Some migrants are impelled to cross national borders by war, genocide, or persecution in their home countries.  These immigrants are considered refugees or asylum seekers in receiving countries. The 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defined the qualifications for such migrants and bound the countries that signed the Geneva Convention (including the US) not to return these newcomers to places where they could be persecuted. According to the Geneva Convention text, a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted or killed for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion (1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees).

(2) Survival due to Environment, Climate, or Disasters: Environmental problems and natural disasters often cause the loss of money, homes, and jobs. Decades of drought, warming earth, and rising seas have rendered some previously habitable places on earth as not able to sustain life.  People who have lives in these places must leave their homelands or they will die.

(3) Lack of Jobs/Poverty: Economic factors provide another motivation behind migration. In some countries, jobs simply do not exist for a great deal of the population and people cannot earn a living to support families or to survive.

Pull Factors: Just as push factors drive migrants out of their countries of origin, pull factors are responsible for dictating where these travelers end up. The positive aspects of some countries serve to attract more immigrants than others. Below are three examples of pull factors that draw migrants to receiving countries.

(1) Higher standards of living/Higher wages: People moving to more developed countries will often find that the same work they were doing at home is rewarded abroad with higher wages.

(2) Labor Demand: Almost all developed countries have found that they need migrants low skill labor to support their growing economies. These economies create millions of jobs that workers born in receiving countries may not fill because of their low wages and minimal opportunity for professional advancement.

(3) Political and Religious Freedom: Much like discrimination and persecution provide strong push factors for people to leave their home countries, the existence of tolerant government policies with regard to religion, race, political views, and so on, may make certain countries more attractive to potential migrants.  This pull factor is especially relevant to those migrants who are escaping situations of persecution (and may be considered refugees, as noted above) though it can apply to other migrants as well.

Other pull factors include superior medical care or education, family links, or simply a personal fondness of a certain place, whether it may be linked to culture, language, weather conditions, or other influencing factors.

For your written assignment, consider the current stories we are hearing in the media and the information in the text. Do you think the factors creating the situation we are hearing about are more push or more pull?  Write your 200 word response as an explanation of why you selected push or pull.  This is a really important forum to read peer responses as, to an extent, our posts will reflect the different ways people in the US approach this issue.

If you want additional information, the United Nations has an excellent database you can use for this – (Links to an external site.) .  The CIA (yes, that CIA) also has an extensive library of factual information – (Links to an external site.) , and this one from a university has information on environmental disaster affected countries - (Links to an external site.)

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