Migration Boon or Bane.
Migration of its masses has been a standard feature, Throughout the history of humanity. The mere discovery of Indus valley civilization, Harappa and Mohenjodaro, in Indian history is due to migration of the Aryans to the Indus.
India has been for the last hundred years, a net emigrant nation. Today, an estimated 20 million people of Indian origin live outside its boundaries and together they have the purchasing power of almost 80% of India's GDP. So have been China, Philippines and Mexico. Despite this long history of migration, today it is a contentious issue in some host countries as to whether migration is helpful or harmful to their societies. These fears are based as much on economic reasons as well as social reasons.
Immigrants are basically made of three categories i.e., the skilled, the unskilled and the refugee. The rationale for skilled labor immigration has been well accepted by many nations now and atleast constitutionally speaking it is no longer an issue of debate. Many nations welcome immigrants having skills which the native population lacks or has it in inadequate numbers. The classic example is of course of the Indian IT workers. The logic is sound for the host nation as well as the immigrant. Host nations get a well polished, finished product on whom they did not have to spend a single cent by the way of education, welfare. The immigrant himself gets wage levels which are several times his prevailing one and in most cases access to better health care and social structure. These immigrants will contribute more to the economy over their lifespan than what they take from it.
However the social argument is that non integration of these people in the local population creates island ghettoes and resultant social rifts. No one wants to be friends with the family across the street whose food smells funny and they indeed might have a point incase they are referring to my cooking. The fact is social integration comes over a few generations. In countries like West Indies, South Africa, Mauritius etc where there has been an Indian presence over a few generations, the gears have meshed well although shadow ethnic boundaries still remain. These fault lines could be exploited by unscrupulous politicians as was the case in Fiji or Uganda under Idi Amin.
Social integration might be easier for the skilled immigrants as owing to their higher education level they pick up the local language faster. The unskilled counterpart however has it tougher. The pyramid is getting top heavy in terms of pension costs and health care. They need more young people to put something in the pension hat and also for the economy to grow. Developed nations need unskilled labor too. These developed economies in their wake have created many jobs which the natives don't want to take. The unskilled immigrant dovetails in to this gap. The social integration however takes a long time coming though. The emphasis on education as a population remains low and hence the result is chronic social problems like unemployment, crime etc. In US, the Hispanic and African-American population has a disproportionate presence in jails or by the same token also at University level. In Germany many second generation Turkish immigrants from unskilled migrant families can't speak German although with practice they can hear it very well.
Skilled or unskilled, many racial, political, social and now increasingly religious factors still make integration a delicate task. In certain nations like USA, Canada, Singapore etc which were basically founded by emigrants, the process is relatively easy. In European nations however, social acceptance could prove to be an onerous task. This is due to human nature than anything else which can't be legislated. One of the reasons people fear immigration is, the perception that their respective governments have lost control over their borders. The result is a tendency to view every foreigner on the streets as a serial murderer, who has most probably entered their country hiding in the undercarriage of rail bogies rather than as a skilled professional. If Governments educate their peoples that they are controlling the intake, perhaps the fear and the resultant hatred might subside.
The potential gains for every immigrant are enormous, therefore an argument can be held that since every immigrant pulls himself out of poverty, humanity as a whole benefits. Here, I am referring to only the unskilled labor as there the wage disparity is the highest. With the advent of globalization, many underprivileged people are being marginalized due to the equilibrium of the goods market. They constitute a major chunk of the unskilled labor. Migration is good for them as well as for the destination countries. As the Economist magazine said in it's coverage of the issue, the best remedy to alleviate the suffering of the victims of globalization is to redistribute the gains of globalization to them. So the question is, Is migration good? The floor is open to debate.