New wave of migrants puts US and other countries to the test on how to cope with increasing numbers of young, healthy and willing to work people joining the stream of immigrants from Mexico and Central America
The United States, a country that used to be a beacon of freedom and opportunity, is struggling to cope with the influx of immigrants coming from some of the world’s poorest countries.
As more people come, governments have struggled with how to manage the influx and find ways to support them. They are facing the dilemma of whether to welcome them, or to deport them.
To deal with the problem, some governments are taking advantage of existing social programmes to turn away the influx on the presumption that that the immigrants are illegal immigrants. Others have tried turning the immigrants away by taking away their rights under international law. And still others have tried to assimilate the immigrants to the existing national communities by integrating them into the workforce and by providing jobs and housing.
Immigration in the US is already at record levels, with some estimates suggesting that the country will have a million more migrant workers by the end of this year.
The challenge is that the migrant labour force is mostly young, well-educated, and highly flexible. This is a new pool of people able to work when government agencies find it difficult to find staff for their jobs.
Migrant workers – as they are generally referred to in the media – want to work in the US. However, they generally cannot find jobs. Instead, they have to compete against illegal immigrants for jobs. This competition creates a labour market that is competitive and leads to higher wages. But it also means that in the end, many of the jobs created by the influx still go to illegal migrants.
The US is trying to deal with the challenge of the increasing number of migrants by two ways. One is by pushing its citizens to compete with the illegal immigrants for jobs, and to do so in a manner that is acceptable to the government. The other is by looking for ways to integrate the migrants into broader communities.
These two strategies conflict with each other. Migrant workers might choose to stay in the country if jobs are available, but they could also choose