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Global Economic Crisis Affects Migration

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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reported that migration across international borders has slowed due to the global financial recession. Immigrants who cross borders to find work have been hardest hit by the recession, yet have chosen to remain rather than return to their home country.

Illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States dropped from 653,000 people during March 2004-2005 to 175,000 in the same period in 2008-2009. MPI attributed the decrease largely due to fewer job opportunities in the United States. In receding economies, migrant workers are usually the first to be laid off, to make way for citizen workers.

In the United Kingdom, one-half of immigrants from Eastern European countries returned home as the British economy receded. In Europe, Spanish migrant workers were hardest hit, accounting for 50 percent of jobs lost in the European Union during the first six months of the recession.

MPI president Demitrios G. Papademetrio stated that “the recession’s savaging of the sectors in which most migrants are employed has meant that more people in more countries have been affected than during any other downturn in most people’s memory” (MPI).

Andrew Walker, economics and business correspondent for the BBC, commented that the global financial crisis, which resulted in job losses among migrants, has had a huge impact on migrant families, who now receive less financial support.


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