Groups of people moving from one place to another has been part of human nature since the very beginning. Archaeologist have found proof that groups of people relocating (small and large) has been part of our history.
As the world has become a more connected and complex place, immigration has also become quite a complicated equation. In my opinion, today we face three different types of immigration phenomena (regardless of the amount of people relocating):
Opportunity immigration: People that relocate in search of a better life. Most of these people will work hard to achieve their goal and will for the most part be grateful to the communities that have given them the opportunity to become a better student, professional, artist… but above all, person.
Forced immigration: People that must to leave their homes behind due external causes such natural disasters, wars and other factors they cannot control. Most media outlets refer to them as refugees (I personally don’t like the word).
bad-apple immigration: Sadly, there are some people that will move to a different place with bad intentions. Being from abusing the social support system to harm other people. This is probably the smallest group but the one that causes the most damage to the immigrants image.
Regardless of the opinion of some ill-informed politicians, immigration is a good thing for most countries. This is one of the ways they have to welcome professionals, artists, writers, sports stars, etc. that enrich society and promote development.
You can see today that most scientific breakthroughs are achieved by multidisciplinary, multi nationality teams. Have a quick look to the International Space Station crew and you will immediately see a collection of different flags.
How many times have you seen Olympic medalists that represent a country they were not born in, but immigrated to it?
And the lists goes on and on… the challenge for many nations today will be how to approach the different kinds of immigrants. Welcome the opportunity immigrant while ignoring the forced ones?
Establishing a system to identify the bad-apples and prevent them from relocating in the first place? Offer equal opportunities to forced and opportunity immigrants?
I don’t have the answer, but what I know is that no country can just ignore the facts and turn the other way when it comes to immigration. One way of the other, it will still happen as it has for thousand of years.
We might as well openly discuss the issue and find a solution that respects people, offers opportunities and allows countries to further develop.
And yes, in case you were wondering I have been an immigrant most of my life…