Beating the odds

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2526613664_90340247ba_bMigration is first and foremost about rewards – whether they are real or imagined. This is why an economic recession might hinder immigration but it will not stop it. Migrants hope they can make it against all odds, where others have failed. There is the underlying belief that, as we say in French, ça n’arrive qu’aux autres (it only happens to others).  So, even if the economy is not doing great, I will find a job, I will make it. This reminds me of the Sri Lankan housemaids I interviewed when working on my Ph.D. Stories of negative experiences encountered in host countries did circulate in Sri Lanka (whether through the local media or more directly through returnees themselves). Yet, and despite these ‘warnings’, women kept coming. I asked one housemaid: ‘Why do Sri Lankans keep coming here despite all the problems? Don’t women warn them when they go back to Sri Lanka?’ Her answer was: ‘Yes, we do, but they do not believe us, they think we are lying to keep them from coming here, they think we are jealous and are trying to discourage them from travelling and earning money’. To the same question, the Sri Lankan ambassador in post at the time replied: ‘Bad stories do reach Sri Lanka, media, TV, papers, etc., but people probably think: “It won’t happen to us, our luck is going to be better”’.

In general, migrants are not desperate beings willing to risk everything for a chance of a better life as human activists and politicians often portray them to be. Neither is human mobility reduced to “acts of love.” Immigrants are men and women driven by imagined opportunities who dream of a brighter future for themselves and their children. They are ambitious human beings who believe they can beat the system.

Immigration ultimately comes down to having faith in one’s luck or star.

One should, however, remind migrants that often, not always, it does happen to them…

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12 Comments

  1. avatar

    I say this because I saw some comments being censored by u which amazes me u censored….. it is like as if either u r too young and inexperienced or basically a full blown obsolete GOP fanatic…

  2. avatar
    LC in Texas on

    “In the first place, We should insist that if the immigrant Who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
    Words of: Theodore Roosevelt
    http:Hwoody.typepad.comf

  3. avatar

    Obama is making suckers of EVERY Legal American citizen by not enforcing our immigration laws and deliberately
    undermining them with his orders “to not enforce” ! He should be charged for TREASON for arming avowed enemies of USA and not supporting our laws!

    • avatar

      The only way is he is going to get the message is if more people write, call or email the White House and let them know how the average American feels about his lack of support for our immigration laws. I email the White house on a regular basis and encourage others to do the same.

  4. avatar

    How many people can America hold and not turn into a Third World hellhole? Will FOX, CNN, or 60 Minutes PLEASE start asking that question?

    Will the Republicans start asking it?

    Will the Democrats start asking it?

    And where the Hades are the Environmentalists? I cannot take them seriously anymore with their pathetic silence on massive LEGAL and illegal immigration and massive population growth.

    Bye Bye America

  5. avatar

    the government of this country wants to redistribute income in the country, not only from citizen to citizen, but also from citizen to non-citizen. If we had a real federal government that wanted to act in the interest of our country, this mass illegal entry into the country could be halted almost over night. But those in power think that by allowing illegals into the country will mean more voters to keep themselves in power.

  6. avatar

    ALL ILLEGALS should be deported back to country of origins!!!! Return the proper way and will be welcomed

  7. avatar

    Really good explanation of why so many illegal aliens continue to cross our southern border illegally, even knowing that illegal aliens are mistreated in Mexico and risk death and disability in trying to cross the desert. The bad things just won’t happen to THEM.

    • avatar

      What is beating the odds?…..what is the right/wrong thing to do?………………..we all have a different opinion at it when immigration reform………………the point and a fact is that these illegals are being abused, at least the good ones…….and they come in all flavors.,,,,,,,,with/without a career…white blue chinese etc etc

      will there be Immigration reform….YES SOONER OR LATER!!@

      • avatar

        INS reform for what?. there is nothing wrong with the existing INS laws. what’s wrong is the fed, the POTUS in particular have not been doing the job of deporting illegal aliens for decades, the POTUS is the only one who can legally deport these illegal aliens, now too arrogant, ready to be suckers, once legalize with long term goal to change american cultures to their cultures. BO is the worst, abusing his power by forcing to lawful american throats, swallow his ideologues of rewriting the INS laws, which is the most unlawful motive of a POTUS in legalizing illegalities should make citizen stomachs sick with vomitus.

  8. avatar

    This Article Does a Good Job Describing the Open Border Pundit Lack of Scientific Common Sense for Their Beliefs

    The main method these anarchists use for the recent current/past overpopulation invasion of America is those against amnesty are against people and therefore are “bad”. Those against overpopulation amnesty have credible demography science backing them up that the Earth can only sustain about 1-2 billion people. Those for a 10 billion populated Earth have Mother Goose imagination backing them up.

    The open border pundits remind me of the 15th Century “Flat Earthers” who relegated the sciences of astronomy , physics and math as “evil witchcrafts” countering their liesand those for current depopulation today, the only way to fix America’s economy, are branded “bad” by anequivalent MSM church, because they are alleged against people.

    No wonder they want all the engineers outsourced….they think too pragmatic and use truthful scientific rationales for their opinions.