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Immigrants

Your Country Needs Them

By Philippe Legrain
15-minute read
Audio available
Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain

Immigrants offers a compelling case for a total revamp of the way most people view immigration and immigrants. It provides a detailed description of the case against immigration, while providing solid evidence for the great benefits, both social and economic, that migration provides.

  • Anyone concerned by migration
  • Anyone unimpressed by the notion of a more open world
  • Anyone trying to understand why anyone would want to leave their home country

Philippe Legrain is an economist and political scientist whose writings on globalization and migration appear in the Guardian. In addition, he has authored a number of critically acclaimed books, including Open World: The Truth about Globalization and Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis.

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Immigrants

Your Country Needs Them

By Philippe Legrain
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain
Synopsis

Immigrants offers a compelling case for a total revamp of the way most people view immigration and immigrants. It provides a detailed description of the case against immigration, while providing solid evidence for the great benefits, both social and economic, that migration provides.

Key idea 1 of 9

Migration is a human right that has been asserted throughout history.

No matter where you live on the planet, you’ll probably notice that a portion of the population has a certain animosity toward immigrants and immigration. In many countries the media is awash with stories about the “floods” of immigrants crossing the border to snatch up jobs and welfare.

However, these fears are misplaced.

For starters, the process of migration has been ongoing for thousands of years, and is by no means a recent phenomenon. Indeed, people have been on the move since the dawn of human history. Our ancient ancestors, for example, migrated to the four corners of the globe from a central point: Africa.

In the nineteenth century, technological innovations, such as the steam ship and train, accelerated the process of migration. During this period, most migration was from the Old World – Europe – to the New World of the Americas.

However, in the twentieth century, the dynamics of migration took a 180-degree turn: suddenly people were mostly moving from the developing world to the developed one.

It is this change that conjured up the idea of a mass exodus to the West. But there is no such exodus. If you look at the numbers, the migrant population remains relatively small: only a few million people migrate to the West annually, compared to the billions of people who remain behind in the developing world.

Immigration only seems high because migrants head to only a handful of destination countries.

History aside, migration is also a human right.

All too often, when we look at those who enter our country, we only see one side of their experience: immigration. But migration is a two-way process: every immigrant is also an emigrant.

People leave their home countries for an endless number of reasons, and the right to emigrate is even codified by Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thus, in impeding someone’s ability to migrate – and thus emigrate – you are a denying them their basic human rights.

Nevertheless, as you’ll see in the following blinks, many governments try to curb the amount of immigrants coming into their country.

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