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human migration


Globalization is sending people packing. That is, they are packing their belongings and sending themselves across national boundaries to find better paying jobs. These transnational families maintain deep roots in their home countries while they establish new social networks within the host country. An increasing number of women are leaving their children behind in order to provide a better life for them in the future. What does it take to make it to the US and secure that elusive green card?

Globalization’s Impact on Families


Strong family ties make civilization work. When important family members move thousands of miles away, those ties are broken. Workers from less-developed nations often find themselves marginalized by the more prosperous societies they have moved to and are restricted to low-paying positions within it.

Relocated workers have a powerful impetus to remain working within their more prosperous neighbors. Most send money back home to support family members unable to find work there. In fact, these remittances account of 20% of the GDP in some nations.

If workers arrive without a green card, and many do, the process of obtaining one begins. Without a green card, they run the risk of not being able to return to the host country after a trip home. Since this process can take many years, it effectively breaks down long-standing family bonds. Getting a green card for parents of individuals who have already become a citizen can be a trialing process that challenges many to succeed.

Globalization: The Journey to a New Land

When money is scarce, desperate individuals will do just about anything to find work. Stories abound of local area markets where illegal immigrants find work for pennies on the dollar with the promise that legal help for a green card will be provided. Some of the most horrific news stories tell the tale of truckloads of people left to die as they were being smuggled into the US.

Workers flock to areas where their native language is spoken to learn how to negotiate their new home. Those areas are often high in crime with sub-optimal housing. Companies such as WalMart provide profitable money wiring services so that temporary workers, unable to secure a banking account, can send their wages home. Globalization is big business in more ways than one.

The Economic Effect on Local Economies of a Large Migrant Workforce

Much of the disruption of families during this period of globalization stems from their inability to get legal paperwork completed to ensure that family members are able to return for regular visits. These difficulties are fueled by ideas that the wealth of the host country is being diminished when large numbers of migrating workers from low-wage nations arise. Is this truly the case?

Many migrants don’t apply for legal status because they wish to return to their home nations once they have saved some money. By loosening the restrictions for legal residence, local economies can actually thrive by keeping the best workers. Mobile workforces can be available for peak production periods. Workers who have been able to maintain their family ties will be much less isolated and more likely to contribute to the society at large.

What do you think? Should nations like the US that attract many workers from less industrialized nations take steps to help migrant workers maintain their traditional family structures? Do transnational families help or harm the local and national economies?

Millions of people across the world are preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, the most important annual holiday in much of Asia.

Chinese New Year begins on Sunday, when the new moon is seen in the sky.

In the Chinese zodiac, this year will be the year of the snake, taking over from the dragon of 2012.

In China, an estimated 200 million people are travelling to be with their families in what is considered the biggest mass human migration on Earth.

Vast crowds of people have passed through railway stations, airports and bus stations onto crowded transport, many of them making journeys of thousands of miles, sometimes lasting several days.

Migrant workers in China often only have one holiday a year in which to visit their home towns, and will be taking the money they have saved back to their families.

“For Chinese, the most important thing is to be with family. Family always comes first,” Jin Yuan, a 34-year-old worker in Beijing told Reuters.

“No matter how busy I am, I must go home. That is why so many people in Beijing are travelling home for the Lunar New Year.”

Vietnamese media said tens of thousands of people were also on the move there.

Markets and shops across the region have been selling red and gold decorations – colors considered lucky – for the past few weeks, bearing messages wishing good fortune and prosperity.

Chinese New Year begins on Sunday, when the new moon is seen in the sky

Chinese New Year begins on Sunday, when the new moon is seen in the sky

“Tet is an important event and the house must be decorated,” said Dam Duc Thong, a shopper in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, using the Vietnamese name for the holiday.

“I buy these ornaments with hope to bring good luck to my family.”

Traditional foods associated with long life or good luck are a key part of lunar new year festivities.

“I’m slicing the rice cake so that people can make rice noodle soup during the holidays,” said Oh Jung-sook, a 72-year-old rice cake seller in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

“People say that eating rice noodle soup can keep them healthy, age one more year and have no unfortunate events for the family throughout the year.”

The new year is traditionally brought in with fireworks and firecrackers, but residents of Beijing have been asked to set off fewer this year, in an attempt to minimize additional pollution in the frequently smog-bound city.

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