Dec 19, 2017 in Sociology

Migration as a Social Problem

Social problem can be defined as a condition that is viewed as undesirable or harmful to many people as well as to the society at large. (Mooney et al. 2011, p. 2) Additionally, such condition must be changed because it has negative effects on the society. What different people perceive as social problems is in most cases highly subjective and varies among different groups of people. Definition of social problems depends on various variables, for instance, whether the problem at hand has affected a large number of people or not. Additionally, it depends on whether those people possess power and whether the problem will affect a significant number of people. If the problem at hand has an effect on a large number of people in the society, it can be regarded as a social problem.

It is difficult to define whether a problem can be qualified to be a social problem in the society

This is because what can be perceived as a social problem by a certain group of people may not be a social problem in another group of people in the society. For instance, young people who play loud music in public places and parks do not perceive the situation as a social problem, but other people can perceive this situation as undesirable. On the other hand, many nonsmokers consider smoking in public places as undesirable social conditions while smokers do not perceive these conditions as a social problem.

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However, some conditions are obviously considered as social problems by all people in the society

The most common social problems that are regarded as such by many people in the society and include things like violence, drug abuse, crime, unemployment, ineffective healthcare systems, and environmental problems in the society (JSTOR 2007, p. 3). For instance, in the United States of America, the most pressing social problems are immigration, unemployment, racism and health care system. Such social problems can be traced on local, national and international levels. Although such problems can be addressed, it can take many years before they become fully solved. Social problems have adverse effects on the society and should be avoided as much as possible since some of them can be fatal. Additionally, social problems affect the stability of a society and nation at large. For instance, a social problem such as unemployment in a country increases the dependency ratio within the society and in the country.  This is because unemployment leads to low standards of living and the government of any nation allocates a substantial amount of funds to cater for the needs of such people at the expense of other development projects.

This paper studies migration as a social problem; it deals with the study of social problems that are caused by human migration in the society. In addition, this paper will provide some comprehensive information on the effects of migration and policies that can be undertaken in order to reduce or eliminate social problems caused by migration.

Migration can be defined as a process through which people move from one country or locality to another (Samers 2009, p. 2). It has a great positive effect since it creates opportunities that can result to productive work in the host country. This is because migration of people, especially professionals, attracts a wide pool of knowledge, skills and innovation in the host country, which contribute to the economic stability of that country. Migration also results into numerous social issues among migrants and among people in the host countries.

On the other hand, migration can result to social problems in the host countries

This can be seen in the form of working conditions and nature of work as well as in the chances for migrant workers being abused by their employers, and others. For instance, some people in the host country can feel that an increased number of migrants might take up their jobs, thus leading to conflict and discrimination.

Although migration results into social problems, a country like the United States of America has attracted a wide pool of knowledge and innovation as a result of migration. This is because, highly educated people from various parts of the world move to the United States of America with the aim of getting higher remunerations. They use their knowledge, skills and creativity for the benefit of the country. Additionally, the United States of America has enjoyed a wide range of cultural diversity as a result of migration, thus making the country one of the most interesting countries in the world.

In 1980’s, migration was overwhelming, and a country like the United States accepted approximately 8 million migrants from different parts of the world. This was about 800,000 immigrants per year, comprising both legal admissions and migrants who entered the country illegally. Illegal entrants were later given amnesty by the United States government and received legal residence in the country. In 1990’s, the number of immigrants entering the United States was overwhelming with about 900,000 people gaining access to the country every year (Adler and Gielen 2003, p. 7).

Migration has consistently been a global phenomenon. According to the United Nations, 2% of people in the entire world are migrants from different parts of the globe who move from their home country to other host countries due to various reasons. Despite the estimated percentage of migrants by the United Nations, it is evident that the number of people migrating from one country to another has increased drastically. Some people move to other countries in search of greener pastures in terms of job opportunities, safety, favorable economic conditions, strong healthcare systems, high quality education among other factors.

Reasons Why People Migrate

People coming from different parts of the world move from their home countries to foreign countries due to a number of reasons. One of the main reasons that make people move from their country is economical factors. Such economic factors can be unemployment, inflation or high cost of living in the country. Many migrants move to other countries in search of jobs, for instance, people who are poorly paid in their home countries move to foreign countries in search of well paid jobs so as to improve their standards of living (Hesse-Biber 1991, p. 64). Other people migrate due to the high cost of living as a result of inflation in their home countries; they leave their countries and go to another in search of a more stable economy where the cost of living is lower.

Other people migrate to foreign countries due to political reasons. In a country that experiences political instability, people move to other countries in search of a safe place to live. Early migration was mostly motivated by political instability where people escaped from their countries as a result of persistent wars. In the contemporary world, political reasons also play a significant role in today’s migration.

Moreover, a significant number of migrants move from their countries to another for academic reasons. For instance, people from developing countries migrate to developed countries in search of high quality education. Many people who move from their countries for academic reasons mostly move to the United States of America, while others move to the parts of Europe. However, the United States has the largest population of migrants in the world, and this has resulted to a number of social problems in the country.

Social Problems Cause by Migration

Migration causes a dramatic increase in population in the host country; obviously, this affects the host country in numerous ways. For instance, the government of the host country is obliged to increase its national expenditures as a result of a high increase in population due to migration. This implies that the government of the host country must allocate a lot of funds to public sectors so as to improve public service to all citizens regardless of their race, religion or country of origin.

In a country like the United States of America, the drastic increase in the number of migrants has affected the country in many ways. For instance, migration has largely contributed to an increase in unemployment rates since people from that country compete for available job opportunities with the immigrants from other parts of the world. To some extent, people from that country feel that migrants have taken up their jobs since most people who move to the United States of America are equally well educated and are also considered during employment. Therefore, migration can be considered as a social problem in the United States of America as well as in other countries. This is due to the fact that migration increases unemployment rates, which is one of the biggest problems that affect people in the society.

Competition for job opportunities between people from the host country can sometimes trigger hatred and racial discrimination. This is because people from the host country might feel that the migrants took the jobs that would be given to them. This can have a negative impact on the society if it is not handled carefully.

Additionally, an increase in population as a result of migration makes it difficult for the government institutions to provide high quality service since available resources may be inadequate to provide quality services to all people in the host country. For instance, healthcare system might be largely affected by a dramatic increase in the number of migrants. Education sector may also be affected as well as settlement because migrants who are not financially stable are forced to live in slum areas, and this leads to the expansion of the informal sector in the host country.

Illegal migration can result in many social problems in the host country. This is because people who enter the host country illegally can be dangerous to the national security of the host country. For instance, terrorists migrate from their home countries to other countries illegally, and start organizing terrorist attacks. This can be fatal for the country since such people can also recruit individuals from the host country to join their terrorist groups.

Additionally, illegal migration facilitates the entry of illegal product in the host countries. Such illegal items can be weapons or drugs. Entry of such items can result in many social problems in the society if not controlled. For instance, illegal migrants play a critical role in the spread of drugs in various parts of the host country, eventually, the effects of drugs result to numerous social problems in the society as well as the country at large. Some of the social problems that can be caused by this phenomenon include increased crime rates in the society, low working productivity, increased mortality rates, as well as family problems.

In addition, illegal migrants share ideals different from those of people in the host country. This can result to racial tension and crime increase between the two groups of people. Illegal migrants can influence the behaviour of people from the host country and make them turn to criminal activities. This can affect peace and harmony in the society as well as threaten the national peace. Racial tension can arise due to the differences between the host country inhabitants and the migrants. Additionally, the government of the host country suffers from unpaid taxes through illegal migration of people into the country. This is because illegal migrants do not pay taxes charged on entry. Household owned by illegal migrants costs the federal government a lot of money. For instance, in 2002, household owned by illegal migrants was estimated to be about $26.3 billion in costs, however, only $16 billion was paid as taxes. This led to about $10 billion fiscal deficit to the government. Therefore, illegal migration has become a social problem in the United States of America and other parts of the globe.

To some extent, migration contributes to the high cost of living in the host country. For instance, house owners increase house rent because they know that migrants can pay more money as a rent. This leads to the social problem in the host country, especially in urban areas, because the people from the host country are compelled to pay higher rents, and this leads to the high cost of living. Another reason as to why migration results in the high cost of living in the host country is due to the fact that migrants replace less educated workers in the host country. This can be a social problem in the society because the replaced workers may find it difficult to survive without jobs. Therefore, a significant number of people in the host country, especially the less educated, perceive migration as a social problem because they undergo the risk of losing their jobs to the foreigners. The job opportunities that the federal government reserves for its citizens are occupied by foreigners. This affects the living standards of people in the host country, and increases the dependency ratio in the society, thus, migration is perceived as a social problem by such people.

Other than the host country, migration is also perceived as a social problem in the country where people migrate from due to a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is the fact that highly qualified people in developing countries migrate to developed countries in search of more attractive remuneration (Cunningham 2012, p. 4). This affects the quality of work in the home country since the federal government of the home country trains and educates its own workers for their knowledge and skills to benefit the host country. Therefore, migration of skillful workers from the developing countries into a developed country can be perceived as a social problem in the country where such people originate from.

Solution

In order to address various social problems caused by migration, effective policies should be established to find a lasting solution to such problems. Since a high increase in population affects many sectors of a country, federal governments must endeavor to control the amount of people entering their countries (Zolberg and Benda 2001, p. 95). Additionally, federal governments should ensure that people who migrate to their countries are only the highly skilled people so as to maintain the work quality in their countries. This is because some migrants are less educated and they are granted jobs because they demand lower salaries compared to people in the host country; thus, they are given jobs that would otherwise be done by the inhabitants. By ensuring that only highly skilled people gain access to a country, the government will be able to improve the standards of living of its people as well as reduce the dependency ratio.

Moreover, federal governments should eliminate entry of illegal migrants by tightening security along its boarders and ensuring surveillance of its borders at all times (Jordan and Duvell 2003, p. 62). This will play a highly critical role in preventing the entry of illegal items such as weapons and drugs. This is imperative as such illegal items can lead to social problems in the society. Additionally, tightening of security will enable federal governments to reduce the incidences of tax waiver by illegal aliens entering a country.

On the other hand, federal governments of the countries from where many migrants originate, especially in developing countries, should ensure that they offer competitive remunerations to their employees and reduce the cost of living. This is because the largest number of people who migrate from the developing countries move out of their countries in search of greener pastures, in terms of competitive salaries and attractive economic conditions. This initiative will enable federal governments to maintain highly skilled workforce, who contribute to a faster development of the economy.

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