How Migrants Can Be the Engine of a Changing World

Millions migrate due to politics, economics, and climate change. Often marginalized, they can be drivers of development through skills, remittances. US policy creates a complex situation in Mexico and Latin America, with both restriction and reliance on migrant labor.

How Migrants Can Be the Engine of a Changing World
Push and Pull: The human cost and economic benefit of migration.

They crisscross continents, driven by winds of change – political, economic, sometimes even climatic. These are the 281 million migrants, 3.6% of the global population, a number that's constantly on the rise. Yet, for all the legalities of seeking refuge, their lives are often painted in shades of marginalization and vulnerability.

This is the complex pattern that Dr. Silvia Elena Giorguli Saucedo, president of El Colegio de México, unravels. She challenges the perception of migrants as a threat. Instead, she argues, they hold the key to unlocking solutions. A human tide not just of bodies, but of skills, innovation, and a lifeline to aging societies with low birth rates. Dr. Giorguli paints a picture: remittances of a staggering $702 billion in 2022, a bridge across borders that fuels development. These migrants, she argues, can be the unseen caregivers, the silent contributors to a more robust global economy.

The map of migration is a fascinating one. The US, Germany, Saudi Arabia – these are the magnetic norths, drawing millions towards their shores. India, Mexico, Syria – these are the sending grounds, where push factors like violence and economic hardship propel people outwards. Latin America and the Caribbean are caught in a web of their own, with the US and Canada acting as continental magnets, while nations like Argentina and Chile become destinations for intraregional flows.

Dr. Tonatiuh Guillén López throws a political wrench into the works. He reminds us that migration isn't just about economics or climate change. Politics, that firebrand, often ignites the flames of migration crises. Look no further than the US, where xenophobia and racism are not just ugly stains, but tools wielded in the electoral arena.

Luciana Gandini, a legal scholar, paints a stark picture. Latin America and the Caribbean have seen a near-doubling of migrants and asylum seekers since 2010. Forced displacement, a brutal reality for 1 in every 73 people globally, has tripled in the last decade.

Mexico, caught in this global churn, presents a fascinating case study. Nuty Cárdenas Alamino, an economist, dissects the factors at play. A stricter US border policy, an aging Mexican population, and a surprising economic boom with a million-plus job vacancies – all these contribute to Mexico's evolving role as a recipient nation. Yet, the reasons for Mexicans leaving their homeland paint a bleaker picture – economic hardship, political repression, and the siren song of a better life north of the border.

This push-and-pull creates a policy conundrum. Dr. Carlos Heredia Zubieta exposes the hypocrisy of the US – a nation that implements harsh border controls while simultaneously relying on cheap migrant labor. Mexicans toil in American homes, farms, and factories, their undocumented status a hidden subsidy to the US economy. The specter of Donald Trump's deportation threats looms large, a stark reminder of the precariousness of migrant lives.

The story of migration is far from a simple narrative. It's a story of resilience, of yearning for a better life, and the complex interplay of global forces. As Dr. Giorguli suggests, these restless millions can be a source of solutions, not just problems. The challenge lies in crafting migration policies that are humane, forward-thinking, and recognize the human potential surging across borders.