[Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration

Elizabeth Eames roeblingelizabeth at msn.com
Sat Jan 24 17:21:18 EST 2009

It is a good admonition to search for the root causes of immigration.

One of the root causes of the immigration issue (which is an issue all around the world on the borders of countries of unequal wealth) is the vast disparity of wealth between the "rich" and "poor" and the underlying assumption that "poor" is worse. For more on this search under the GINI index of wealth distribution.Much of this divide is inherent in the history of each nation, with Latin America being particular divided. 

In the compilation of global statistics, for instance, much is made over the fact that fully one half of the world's population lives below $2 a day. But within this statistic, there is no breakdown between the urban and rural poor, between people who are growing their food on their own land, and between squatters in urban communities. 

Much is made over the issue of literacy while little is made of the issue of self sufficiency. One interesting project is the Barefoot Colleges which are growing up around India, whose premise is that rural populations have all the intelligence needed within their communities, they are only lacking in technical assistance. 

Is our model the best one? The two parent working family? The concentration in urban centers? Industrialized agriculture? 

William Easterly, formerly of the World Bank, now a major critic and a professor of economics, has stated that the developing world loses 6 times as much money as it receives in unfair trade as it does in aid. Was that clear? That, for instance, by eliminating the agricultural subsidies in the developed world, developing world farmers would have an even playing field for their produce and gain as much as they do from all our aid projects. Here- in the DR- US rice comes in (illegally) across the border from Haiti,in large bags. One suspects that much of this rice is donated. Haiti stopped all rice production within months of US rice being introduced tariff free in 2004.

This is a topic which is under extreme discussion in the development field, how it is that the programs that were used to rebuild Europe after WW2 have been completely ineffective in the developing world.  

I was a bit dismayed two years ago at a larger Friends gathering when sitting with representatives of FCNL and various Peace and Earth Committees to learn that no one around the dozen or so Friends at the table had heard of the DOHA round of trade talks. That would be a good starting point for a deep discussion of immigration.

In addition, Friends might bring to their collective Light the increasing violence in Mexico with the transhippment of cocaine (also a very big issue here - Mexico is said to tranship 90%, we the other 10%). Under the heading of "taking away the occasion for war" There will be more immigrants escaping that violence. Are they to be entitled to stay in the US?

Thank you for your attentive Light


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