Immigration hasn’t always been something that I thought about. I think that is the case for most people, as most of us have grown up in only one country. However, the recent migrant crisis in Europe, and the political importance of the issue made me realise that I ought to follow it. Other than that, I have an immigrant father and a multicultural family background with many members of my family living outside of their native country. Furthermore, I would like to study abroad and my ability to do that, does concern immigration policies around the world.
I knew quite a lot about immigration in general going into this particular unit, yet I still don’t have a completely set global opinion about it, especially regarding refugees and how we should deal with them. I also didn’t concentrate much on immigration in our history, and immigration in the US. Now, I can’t necessarily say that learning more about it changed my overall view on immigration, since most of what I know is quite similar to the historical aspects of this topic set in the States, but it has definitely deepened my understanding. Learning about the same issues which occur in different parts of the world only broadens your general knowledge and perspective, which I think is beneficial for me, as a person who is engaged in following global news and events.
A parallel between Europe and the US I have noticed is that border control always hasn’t been that much of a an issue, in fact the creation of the European Union was the result of people wanting to come together. However, it has gained political ground just lately, because different demographics of citizens are concerned with lack of sovereignty, loss of their workplaces to immigrants, and income inequality. The main difference is that in Europe, this is happening because of the free movement privilege granted by the EU, not because of illegal immigration as it is in the US. That doesn’t mean though, that I am for deporting undocumented immigrants. In fact, I think that even they bring benefits to a country and that stance was strengthened by learning about immigration in the US.
Especially exploring the regional job polarisation – how many people occupy different positions in the job market – in the US largely affects whether immigration is beneficial, since immigrants who come to the US have a bigger variety of previous occupation, which qualifies them to work different jobs once they immigrate. Undocumented immigrants are mostly qualified to do blue collar jobs, things that require manual work. That means that regions where these workplaces aren’t filled benefit from an influx of people who can fill them quite easily and quickly. This has happened in the past and it largely makes the case for admitting refugees in Europe as well because many European countries, like Germany, are experiencing job polarisation. Of course, sometimes immigrants may be overqualified, yet they are still able to contribute by having to work jobs which aren’t occupied by natives.
Immigration in the US is a topic that deepened my understanding of immigration as a whole and made me realise that there is a slightly different side of the highly discussed issue as well, along with discovering facts I hadn’t known before even about my own home continent.