Monday, November 12, 2012

Global Migration Discrimination: Migrant Latins Exploited

 Dr. Carlos E. Ponce S.

Published in Nueva Politica (English edition) November 2012
Nobody is willing to leave their families, friends, and the peace of their countries for the risk of the unknown or to live in another country. Economic circumstances are extreme, research opportunities / professional development or persecution, among many causes, which lead people to migrate. More than 215 million people, or 3% of the world population, live outside their home country. In the case of Latin America have seen how it went from a region receiving European migration, seeking better horizons, which was supported by our countries, to an area of internal and external migrations. It is estimated that 30.2 million Latin Americans are immigrants or 5.2% of the population of Latin America is immigrant. Large flows of workers have migrated from our countries to the United States, because of political persecution or seeking better economic opportunities. Another group has migrated to Europe by exploiting the pre-crisis and has been an increase in migration between countries of the region. While migration between neighboring countries has given, as it was in the case of Colombia to Venezuela, now there is a more extensive set of migratory movement between many countries. From Bolivia and Ecuador are mobilized to Colombia and Chile, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to Costa Rica and Mexico, and in the case of Venezuela has invested as host to a professional exporter of Colombia, Canada, Europe and the United USA. Although it is thought that migration is a matter of south developing countries to Northern developed countries, World Bank studies show that the volume of South-South migration (migration between developing countries) is greater than the South migration to high-income countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD.

Unfortunately migration is frowned upon in many countries, even in those who have emerged thanks to migrants. The migratory discrimination is not a new fact, throughout history has frequently appeared in all societies. Despite the importance of migrant labor to the development of all economies, often they are stigmatized. From the worker who helps fulfill the tasks that nobody is willing to develop, such as pipe cleaning, many doctors and PhDs that help to develop technology or science, famous artists and writers, migrants contribute positively to the development of nations.

We've written before on "New Policy" about the discrimination against immigrants, particularly in "Discriminated Latins in America: the hypocrisy of taxes without benefits" where we indicated the economic strength of the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and the discrimination and double standards when "regarding the burden of Latin Americans in services”. We speak about a society and a government with a double standard and a high hypocrisy load; illegal Latins are criticized, because they use education and health system, or because they are "a burden" for the country, but they forget that 16 years ago (1996) established a Tax Identification Number (Single Taxpayer Identification Number, STIN) to facilitate payment of taxes to people without Social Security Number, no matter if was a legal or illegal resident. And is that approximately 40 million people are immigrants (legal or illegal) non-citizens, who actively contribute to the economy of a country created by immigrants.

But it is easier for the Tea Party and other radical groups to attack the immigrant, because allegedly they are "stealing" the Americans jobs, than think in effective formulas to boost the economy, so that there is less protectionism and more and innovation in order to generate more jobs. If we remove legal or illegal immigrants, residents, or those who have become Citizens the truth is that there would be no innovation or industry standing. But of course, there will always be discrimination. At the beginning of the century, after European migration flow to the United States, were discriminated newcomers but now they are considered part of the "Caucasian". Unfortunately that is not the case of Latin Americans, even those who come from Puerto Rico (Commonwealth).

On the issue of illegal people, not that they want to stay out leaving their countries unable to return to visit their families and friends, but simply the system and immigration laws always favoring illegal immigration by not providing alternatives.

At European level the situation is not the best, discrimination against immigrants is permanent, ranging from discrimination against Arab immigrants, Africans and of course against the Latin Americans. In Spain, where it receives the largest flow of Latin Americans, according to figures from INE 2011, there are 6.7 million immigrants, but a country that should be grateful with the international reception of millions of persecuted Spanish during the Franco era or fallen into poverty during the War and found fortune in Latin America, is a country where there are high levels of persecution and racism against our region immigrants.

And is that migrant workers are the groups most affected by economic downturns, partly because they often are employed in construction, general services and tourism, which make them easy victims of nationalist groups, conservatives and radicals. It is easier to blame the immigrant worker for job losses, that the corrupt government for bad economic policies, or economic power groups by a lack of social commitment, or to the banking systems by exploitation of markets, and abuse of power.

According to Amnesty International (AI), in recent years, in Spain has been an increase in reports of abuse and discrimination against foreign and members of ethnic minorities, also detected a worrying increase of discrimination in employment, educational , in access to housing, entertainment, etc. All this is accompanied by an alarming increase in cases of torture and ill-treatment to immigrants and ethnic minorities by agents of the state ". In its report "Stop racism, not to people: Racial profiling and immigration control in Spain" (December 2011) IA exposes discriminatory and illegal practice of applying racial profiling to identify irregular migrants, and shows its negative consequences for migrants in Spain. Are normal the persecutions news, beatings, rapes, denigration and murders against Latin American immigrants in Spain. And not only have the problem of discrimination against nationals but often among immigrant groups from each other, whether by racial conditions, time of arrival in the country or by many other reasons.

Thus, immigrants only have the option of adapting to difficult scenarios and hope for the best for their descendants, who have the advantage of assimilation to the culture, but they have to take the tough decision of losing their roots to achieve lower discrimination.

When we address the issue of migration, it is easy to see from the point of view of extreme nationalism, but leaves out all the political, economic, social and cultural factors that are linked with the issue of migration.

On one hand migrant workers (at all levels) not only contribute to the economy of the countries where they work, but also generate flow redistribution through remittances to their countries of origin. It is estimated that in 2010, the flow of remittances worldwide exceeded US$440,000 million. In the case of Haiti is said to be US 2,100 million is the amount of remittances sent home by Haitians living abroad during 2011, which has been squandered. In other countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Guatemala, remittances are the main driver of the economy. In El Salvador, from 15 to 20% of GDP depends on remittances, and 80% come from the U.S. Honduras receives about 2,900 million dollars from family remittances of the 1.6 million Hondurans living abroad, equivalent to 18% of GDP. Guatemala receives more than 4,300 million dollars a year in remittances. All these resources go through a chain of intermediaries, which many economic powers have taken advantage. Banking systems and governments at the end are the biggest beneficiaries, but also illegal mafias.

Honduras receives about 2,900 million dollars from family remittances of the 1.6 million Hondurans living abroad, equivalent to 18% of GDP. Guatemala receives more than 4,300 million dollars a year in remittances. All these resources go through a chain of intermediaries, which many economic powers have taken advantage. Banking systems and governments at the end are the biggest beneficiaries, but also illegal mafias.


(Billion of US$)                                             1995     2000     2004     2005     2006      2007     2008     2009     2110

Remittance flows to inside                            13,3    20,2       43,4        50,1      59,2      63,3       64,6      56,9*   58.1
All developing countries                                55.2    81,3     159,3      191,1    226,7    278,5     324,8    307,1   325,5

Remittance flows abroad                                  1,1     2,0         2,1         2,3        2,7        3,6         4,3         3,8**
All developing countries                                 10,4     9,5       28,5       33,0      41,0      52,7       67,3       58,7

Table: Flow of remittances to Latin American countries, Migration and Remittances, World Bank 2011

Behind the issue of migration also have the issue of human trafficking gangs exploiting their financial need, charging hefty fees to pass by migratory corridors (under sub-human conditions, deceiving them to introduce them into drugs or prostitution business, providing false legalization services (scammers lawyers) and service providers to benefit from illegal status to swindle or charge hefty fees for goods, services and of course for the sending remittances. and in recipient countries, banks are charging high commissions for the money received or the "Maras" and illegal groups who charge percentage of funds received directly to the family. We then see that migrants are discriminated in the destination countries and exploited in their home countries.

This is severe in the case of migration by the search of better economic situations, but it is very serious in cases of people who are persecuted in their home countries and that they have no choice but to emigrate, they are abused and discriminated against in their new country, not have the option of returning. Many of these are professionals who see their lives transformed by simply disagreeing with a regime or a specific situation. That's why there is more to the issue of immigration that the simple conjectures of a few radicals that make a lot of noise, with many hidden racism and xenophobia that is simply pure and clear discrimination. Finally, the lack of legislation to date, effective and humane, only benefit exploiters of immigrants groups, leaving millions of people in a situation of helplessness and violation of their human rights.

No comments:

Post a Comment