Monday, June 22, 2015

Number of global refugees surged in 2014

The 2014 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicates there were nearly 60 million displaced people worldwide in 2014, a record number. This number includes 11 million people who are internally displaced, or remain in their own country. Half of the 60 million are children, and most are in poor countries. About 14 million people were displaced in 2014, many from Syria and countries in Africa. The New York Times had a long article about the report and some very cool maps.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

French Police Dismantle Migrants’ Camps in Paris and Calais

Following Madeline's post, a WSJ article on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, (see link below) discussed how French police have dismantled migrant camps in Paris and the Port of Calais over the past week. These migrants are moving through France from Africa and Syria to head to the UK, but get stuck in France and set up camps and way stations on their journey.  Just this week, 380 migrants from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia were relocated to emergency housing after they had set up a migrant camp under a subway bridge in northern Paris.  Two camps in and outside the port of Calais were also dismantled by police and about 140 people were either being detained or relocated. 

As the WJS article mentions, the EU has been struggling to address the large flows of both undocumented immigrants in search of employment and political refugees who are entering Europe from the South.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Difficult journeys to enter the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article on May 30-31, 2015, about the arduous journeys some migrants undertake to enter the United States illicitly. The article focuses on migrants who cross the Darien Gap, which connects Panama with South America. From there, migrants typically make their way overland through nine more countries to the U.S. border. The route is attractive to some migrants because they can get a visa to enter some South American countries. Interestingly, even some migrants from Cuba--who will qualify for legal status if they can reach the U.S.--use the route, which involves dangers ranging from bloodsucking bats to poisonous snakes to predatory smugglers and gangs.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The novel Americanah

I recently read an inspiring book entitled Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  The novel is about a Nigerian woman who migrates (legally) to the United States for college in the midst of political turmoil at home. Years later, her boyfriend migrates to the United Kingdom illegally. The story documents each of their experiences, their reasons behind their migrations, their search for education and work abroad, and their desires to return home some day. The novel also addressed the complicated aspects of being African in the U.S. and the U.K. (A recent op-ed in the NY Times also sheds light on this.)

While most economics professors do not have students read novels as a part of their classwork, I highly recommend reading a novel that documents other aspects of the immigrant experience. Books such as Americanah will help you remember that immigration has significant personal, social and psychic costs that are often difficult to quantify (as discussed in Chapter 2 of the textbook).