News / Africa

Report: Migrants Often Scapegoats for Society’s Problems

Migrant workers from Africa stand in a line after they arrive by ship from Misrata during an evacuation operation organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the port of Benghazi May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Migrant workers from Africa stand in a line after they arrive by ship from Misrata during an evacuation operation organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the port of Benghazi May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Joe DeCapua

A new report says few areas of public policy are subject to greater bias, polarization and political debate than migration. The International Organization for Migration, IOM, calls it one of the most misunderstood issues of our time.

The IOM says we’re living in an era of the greatest human migration in recorded history, calling it one of the defining features of the contemporary world.

“Nobody can deny that migration will play a bigger even role in the future. So, you love it or hate it, but migration is here to stay, said IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe, adding, “It is a natural process in human evolution, if you like.”

Let’s talk about it

The new report is entitled World Migration Report 2011: Communicating Effectively about Migration. It recommends a fundamental shift in the way people talk about it.

“There is a lot of negative reporting. Not only negative reporting, but also there is a lot of misrepresentation of the migration debate. And we think that by allowing migrants themselves to speak about themselves rather than being spoken about them, this will at least rectify the imbalance that exists today,” he said.

Jumbe said the media are partly to blame for the misrepresentation.

“First of all, the media do not represent the migrants themselves and very few media houses have migrant staff members. And the second thing is that most of the media houses we have followed do not understand the migration issue. Migration is a very complex issue,” he said.

Blame game

Jumbe said migration has become a scapegoat or catchall issue that “masks the public’s fear and uncertainties.”

“So migration is blamed for everything, starting from economic, social and even political issues. So this is a huge misrepresentation because it does not look at all sides of migration. We don’t deny that there are some negatives in migration,” he said.

For example, migrants may put a strain on social services or act in a way that is criticized by host communities. But Jumbe says the positives outweigh the negatives through an exchange of talent, services, skills and diverse experience. In addition, migrants send billions of dollars to their home countries in the form of remittances. These may be a huge part of national budgets.

The IOM report also says the public often overestimates the size of the migrant populations in their country. In the United States, for example, an opinion poll indicated the public believed migrants made up 39 percent of the population. The actual figure was 14 percent. Another poll showed Italians believed migrants were 25 percent of the population, when in reality the figure was seven just percent.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid