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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Saturday, December 2, 2017

It Isn't Easy Being an "Undocumented Immigrant" in Beijing

Yesterday's NYTimes had a lengthy story about neighborhoods of migrant workers in Beijing being destroyed by the government [see the photo below]. You may recall that China has a household registration system that is designed especially to keep rural villagers in their rural villages, rather than respond to the demand for workers in the city. But, of course, people do move to the cities where the jobs are and they become illegal migrants in the process. 

The city government says they are being pushed out for their own safety, after a recent deadly fire in a migrant settlement. But many migrants say the government is using the fire as an excuse to ramp up efforts to drive them out and ease pressures in a city whose population has already soared beyond 20 million people.
Beijing has set a goal of limiting its population to 23 million residents by 2020, while also making room to attract more higher-paid, university-educated professionals. 
Despite such efforts, officials have so far failed to deter migrants from settling in the city, largely because Beijing still relies on them to be its cooks, couriers and cleaners.
This is exactly the situation that the U.S. faces with undocumented immigrants. The economy is very reliant on them, and an increase in deportations would have very negative effects not just on the migrants themselves, but on local communities whose businesses would be suddenly shorn of needed workers. China, like the U.S., has to come to grips with the idea that you can't need undocumented immigrants and want to destroy their lives at the same time. 

1 comment:

  1. fyi: