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Demographic structure of society - immigration

Created by Sydney Brown.

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Video transcript

Voiceover: Immigrants often face severe challenges when arriving in a new country. People seem the conflicting desire to help others and the fear of anything different. This internal conflict really comes to life when considering immigrants. People want to help but are wary of the different cultures and customs immigrants bring with them. But the main issue here is that number of immigrants can put a pressure on the job opportunities and welfare capabilities of a country. Immigrants tend to move to the more industrialized nations, like the large numbers of immigrants moving into North America, the oil rich areas of the Middle East and the industrial economies of Europe and Asia. Two points: these immigrants can be functional to the receiving country by alleviating labor shortages and also for the sending country by reducing the population there which can relieve some of the strain on an economy that can't support a large number of people depending on it. But immigration can also be dysfunctional. For these same economic reason, immigrants can also be exploited by countries that are interested in maximizing their profits while being unconcerned about the global, social and economical inequality that results from their profit-seeking. The immigration itself can cause problems sometimes. If too many people move to one area the social services there are not able to handle the sudden increase in demand. Or if too many skilled people leave a country it can be harmful to the future of that country. Then of course there is a fear and dislike of immigrants who are a different race than those of the host country. People will migrate for many different reasons, often though it is because of war or famine in their home country or because a person simply can't make a living in their home country. Transnational people move across borders to find better jobs and education. Some people will seek to obtain dual-citizenship so they aren't bound by a single country. Transnational corporations take advantage of cheap labor in different countries to bring cost down and revenue up. Every country has their own immigration policies but they're often biased depending on where the applicant is originally from. Race and ethnicity tend to be the cause for biased policies and different expectations of people based on their socially constructed group. In 1986, the United States passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which forbade the hiring of illegal immigrants but it also extended amnesty and legal status to the illegal immigrants already living in the United States. Recently, some countries are implementing policies that encourage the families of immigrants to also move into the country, to help keep money in their economy instead of the immigrants sending it to their families abroad. An interesting effect of globalization on immigration, can be seen on the European Union. Residents of countries in the EU can live and work in any country in the EU, linking the economies of those countries even more tightly. Since September 11th 2001, immigration has become more difficult across the globe. Countries have increased security checks and scrutiny on people seeking to move to a different country. But for many, even this it not enough to discourage their desire to migrate in hopes of a better life.