This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UN Confirms That Life is Not Easy for Immigrants

On the same day that the US Court of Appeals took up the legality of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, the United Nations General Assembly heard about the plight of immigrants in many countries of the world. Githu Muigai is a Kenyan lawyer who is also the U.N. Human Rights Council's special investigator on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. He spoke to reporters after presenting reports to the General Assembly on efforts to eliminate these practices:
"If I have found any specific group of people to be the subject of the most insidious contemporary forms of racial discrimination, those are migrants," he said. "And I think in many parts of the world today, immigrants bear the brunt of xenophobic intolerance — and this is true of the United States, and it is of Europe, and it is of many parts of the world."
Obviously xenophobia, which literally means fear of strangers, is going to be aimed especially at immigrants. The fact that the word comes from the ancient Greeks tells us that this is something that human societies have been dealing with forever. Having said that, however, it is nonetheless important to be regularly reminded that if immigrants are appropriately integrated into the host society, they then become the in-group members. 

On a related note, the MSNBC site from which this story was pulled also has a very useful time-line of immigration to the United States.

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