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Crossing the Globe: A Migratory Voyage of Discovery


What is migration?  Is it permanent relocation or transient passing?  What are the forces inherent to any migratory situation?  And how does migration differ in the dynamically different regions around the world?  The following articles will attempt to provide some insight into such questions.  Ranging from such Asian cornerstones as Japan and Hong Kong to such European colonial powers as Spain, migration is a complex relationship of past, present, and future.  Past colonial legacy can have heavy influence in the networks of today, and pose certain implications to future generations of migrants.  The push and pull of competing economic, political, and commercial factors have reshaped the world as we know it, functioning outside the control of many governments. 

So in a world where domestic workers labor for a pittance of their worth, rural women are sold into sex slavery by relatives, and governments scatter entire villages without compensation, what is the responsibility of the rest of the world in the future of migratory causes?  At what expense is capitalism bringing cheap goods to our American doorsteps?  What action should the international community take in investigating the reality of many migratory patterns that challenge the world today?  Migration has been a constant throughout human history, sending our ancestors across the continents to establish the foundations of our present civilization.  But pressures have certainly changed in this era of globalization, forcing the human race to analyze and interpret the motivations for migration in an effort to understand the complicated nature of our own society.  Through the understanding of migration, one gains the power to study a vast range of disciplines from a more comprehensive scope.


            Family ties can alter the projection of an entire family.  Although some of these instances occur by chance, many more are the product of some sort of linkage between the home country and the host country.  Colonial legacy plays a key role in world wide migration.  Relationships that have been present for hundreds of years, even if volatile, create a series of tendencies and opportunities within a relative zone of comfort.  Settling into a certain niche, many foreigners rotate in shifts from their homes to their country of occupation, as seen in India and Japan.  Whether dictated by visa limitations or by seasonal business, the six month cycle of a wide range of migrants has implications in what is truly considered home.  The meaning of the word home changes from place of origin to where ones livelihood exists.  So if a migrant is following family or colonial linkages to one place for half the year and then reverting back to their home country for the remaining half, isnít it fair to say that the country receiving the migrant could easily qualify as home?  This debate brushes over a vast range of factors, but the overall point of the argument is to illustrate how the issue of self identification can become rather ambiguous as migration flows.

            Politics can shape migration in many ways, ranging from direct resettlement to disruptive policy formulation see in Myanmar.  The manner in which governments combat the issue of globalization and the migratory trends that follow will shape the future of the society as a whole.  If a government is able to assimilate migrants into an effective sector of society then everyone will ideally benefit.  But when a government takes a phobic stance against the swarms of parasites attacking their very sovereignty, they defy the very forces that brought their country into being.  Todayís political landscape is the end result of thousands of years of migration and to deny the contributions of such migratory people is to deny the very thing that allegedly needs protecting.  The EU faces an array of challenges - explored in the article EU Integration - as it redefines it borders and boundaries. Phillipe Fargues explores the problems for governments in his article "Migration and Mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean Area."  Desired guest workers have transitioned to permanent settlers and the opportunities guarenteed to migrants have been few and far between.  Such issues fuel the animosity and negative opinion of immigration within the EU.   But borders have been constantly shifting since time was time.  Ideally those with the power to influence the future of migration will possess a complete grasp of the nature of the concept, not as a destructive force to be quelled but rather a compounding notion that creates exponential potential to combine the best qualities of all people.  People in power need to understand that migration is not caused by one thing or another.  Migration doesnít exist in a vacuum and thus shouldnít be treated as a linear issue capable of being examined objectively.  The series of relationships and pressure that motivate people to uproot could provide valuable insight into the failures of those in charge.


        The framework of this study will hopefully only inspire continued investigation into the dynamic relationship between migration and related mitigating factors. As indicated in Douglas Massey's article "Five Myths About Migration," people donít simply decide one day to move thousands of miles away to lands filled with strange languages.  Massey's US border analysis finds application in many areas of the world as it refutes an array of myths: Migration is caused by lack of economic development in the home country, is caused by rapid population growth, migrants move in response to wages differences, migrants are attracted by public benefits, and immigrants intend to settle permanently.  Massey's discourse dispells these myths, citing that international migrants do not live in the world's poorest countries, the highest fertility rates are in non immigrant sending nations, public spending challenges in the home country cause migration, migrants generally do not utilize public services, and most migrants desire circular migration but policy formulation creates situations where migrants are forced to stay.  Families arenít ripped apart over trivial decisions.  The goal of such personal reflections is undoubtedly to allow the unaware a chance to search deeper into the causes and effects of migration.  The reshaping of terminology is demosntrated in Nina Schiller's article "Transnationalism: A New Analytic Framework for Understanding Migration."  This article focuses on an array of points centered around the effects of migration outside political boundaries and the inherent challenges of the interational community in regulation.  Citing transnationalism as a product of world capitalism, as a cultural flow, and the complex identities of migrants, transnationalism is forcing both migrants and politicians to rethink the meaning of class, nationalism, ethnicity, and race.  Whether in the position to shape future migratory policy or simply relate the complexities to a friend or family member, the enlightened few who venture through the clicks of this simple web site will hopefully approach the issue of migration in a different light.


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