Hifza Farooqi, a student at UC Irvine, explores human migration and the positive and negative actions involved with migration.
The movement of people from one city to another with the intent of settlement.
Prior to the industrial revolution, migration was fueled by natural disasters or a lack of food caused by overcrowding. Regardless of the reasoning, human migration has an effect on the location where migration occurs, be it in the form of changing political structures, agricultural differences, or social differences in language and behaviors. In the late 18th to the 20th century, with the start of revolutions and the beginnings of a global capitalist economy, migration booms and immigration patterns began to dramatically change.
Immigrants now have different reasons for immigrating, such as the search of employment, better living conditions, or finding safety.
With enough immigrants in the world to create the 5th most populous country, countries are encouraged to change or create legislation involving immigration and citizenship. For example, the United States regulate how many immigrants enter the country each year and only allow certain immigrants to work.
In Europe, migrations from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries were welcomed commonplace during the 1960s when the European economy wanted new sources of labor. However, as the size of the immigrant populations grew, reaching 258 million in 2017 up from 173 million in 2000, and the economies slowed, conservative anti-immigration movements rose up to protest any further immigration. Racial prejudices often fueled these immigration restrictions.
The fact that immigration bans and restrictions are being made does not necessarily lead to an ultimate negative impact; on the contrary, racism and anti-immigration laws are exactly what led to the creation of many of the ethnic enclaves in the United States.
Take San Francisco’s Chinatown for example; Chinese people migrated to the United States to work as miners during the gold rush and later laborers. As anti-Chinese movements grew, many Chinese people were massacred, forced to face riots and extreme legal restrictions, which led to Chinese people unifying and creating a combined cultural entity.
Similarly, the creation of Little Arabia in California and various other areas densely populated with people of a certain culture stemmed from the isolation and segregation experienced by many immigrants. There are some positives among the negatives.