English Reading Passage – Migration

Migration

Migration

Human migration (derived from Latin: migratio) is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation.

 

Only a few nomadic people have retained this form of lifestyle in modern times. Migration has continued under the form of both voluntary migration within one’s region, country, or beyond and involuntary migration (which includes the slave trade, trafficking in human beings and ethnic cleansing). People who migrate into a territory are called immigrants, while at the departure point they are called emigrants. Small populations migrating to develop a territory considered void of settlement depending on historical setting, circumstances and perspective are referred to as settlers or colonists, while populations displaced by immigration and colonization are called refugees. The rest of this article will cover sense of a “change of residence”, rather than the temporary migrations of travel, tourism, pilgrimages, or the commute.

Definition

According to International Organization for Migration, man “no universally accepted definition for (migrant) exists. The term migrant was usually understood to cover all cases where the decision to migrate was taken freely by the individual concerned for reasons of “personal convenience” and without intervention of an external compelling factor; it therefore applied to persons, and family members, moving to another country or region to better their material or social conditions and improve the prospect for themselves or their family. The United Nations defines migrant as an individual who has resided in a foreign country for more than one year irrespective of the causes, voluntary or involuntary, and the means, regular or irregular, used to migrate. Under such a definition, those travelling for shorter periods as tourists and businesspersons would not be considered migrants. However, common usage includes certain kinds of shorter-term migrants, such as seasonal farm-workers who travel for short periods to work planting or harvesting farm products.” Also, human migration happened when the Paleo-Indians entered America.

Modern migrations

While the pace of migration had accelerated since the 18th century already (including the involuntary slave trade), it would increase further in the 19th century. Manning distinguishes three major types of migration: labor migration, refugee migrations, and urbanization. Millions of agricultural workers left the countryside and moved to the cities causing unprecedented levels of urbanization. This phenomenon began in Britain in the late 18th century and spread around the world and continues to this day in many areas.

Industrialization encouraged migration wherever it appeared. The increasingly global economy globalized the labor market. The Atlantic slave trade diminished sharply after 1820, which gave rise to self-bound contract labor migration from Europe and Asia to plantations. Overpopulation, open agricultural frontiers, and rising industrial centers attracted voluntary migrants. Moreover, migration was significantly made easier by improved transportation techniques.

Romantic nationalism also rose in the 19th century, and, with it, ethnocentrism. The great European industrial empires also rose. Both factors contributed to migration, as some countries favored their own ethnicities over outsiders and other countries appeared to be considerably more welcoming. For example, the Russian Empire identified with Eastern Orthodoxy, and confined Jews, who were not Eastern Orthodox, to the Pale of Settlement and imposed restrictions. Violence was also a problem. The United States was promoted as a better location, a “golden land” where Jews could live more openly. Another effect of imperialism, colonialism, led to the migration of some colonizing parties from “home countries” to “the colonies”, and eventually the migration of people from “colonies” to “home countries”.

Transnational labor migration reached a peak of three million migrants per year in the early twentieth century. Italy, Norway, Ireland and the Guangdong region of China were regions with especially high emigration rates during these years. These large migration flows influenced the process of nation state formation in many ways. Immigration restrictions have been developed, as well as diaspora cultures and myths that reflect the importance of migration to the foundation of certain nations, like the American melting pot. The transnational labor migration fell to a lower level from 1930s to the 1960s and then rebounded.

The United States experienced considerable internal migration related to industrialization, including its African American population. From 19101970, approximately 7 million African Americans migrated from the rural Southern United States, where blacks faced both poor economic opportunities and considerable political and social prejudice, to the industrial cities of the Northeast, Midwest and West, where relatively well-paid jobs were available. This phenomenon came to be known in the United States as its own Great Migration. With the demise of legalized segregation in the 1960s and greatly improved economic opportunities in the South in the subsequent decades, millions of blacks have returned to the South from other parts of the country since 1980 in what has been called the New Great Migration.

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