SEATTLE, Washington — The current number of forcibly displaced people around the globe is more than 68 million. This means that every two seconds, one person is displaced from his or her home. While it is imperative that these people find a safe place to replant their lives, developing countries without the proper infrastructure or economic development are receiving a large number of these refugees. In order to analyze the impact of migration on developing countries, it’s crucial to also discuss the causes and solutions.
Causes of Forced Migration
- War & Conflict. Instability creates a vacuum for violence, criminal activity and corruption. Countries that are experiencing war or conflict also have a large population of forcibly displaced migrants. Hoping to flee danger, migrants are driven to seek refuge for a safer life.
- Environmental. Environmental crises like drought, flooding and earthquakes are some of the largest reasons for migration. Affecting livelihoods and communities, environmental disasters can drive populations to other countries.
- Hunger. Hunger can derive from both environmental factors and conflict factors. While circumstances like drought can deplete the food supply, war or conflict creates a lack of access to markets. On some occasions, food supplies might even be stolen or destroyed.
The Impact of Forced Migration
Forced migration has international consequences. These consequences involve global health, politics and economics. While there is a risk of spreading infectious diseases or causing instability, the economic impacts of migration on developing countries can be the largest burden. More than 85 percent of refugees reside in developing countries that lack support to care for these populations.
Geographical location plays a large role in the migration patterns of displaced people. The U.N. Refugee Agency has found that four out of five refugees migrate to countries next door to their own. For example, Syrian refugees are one of the largest groups of displaced persons on the globe. Its neighboring country Turkey is the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. It is home to 3.5 million refugees, the majority of whom are from Syria. Lebanon, sharing another border with Syria, has the most refugees per capita with 232 per 1,000 inhabitants.
Many migrants arrive in places where there are few job opportunities or pathways to work legally. The Guardian reported that nearly six million migrants are trapped in a form of forced labor in 2018, especially in developing countries. The people forced from their home countries have skills and seek job opportunities. When they have a way to make a living without exploitation, they can contribute to both their host country and their origin country. Migrant remittances back to their home countries added up to more than $600 billion in 2017 alone.
Alleviating the Negative Impact
International development is the key to solving some of the negative impacts of migration on developing countries. The World Bank suggests a three-pronged solution that strengthens the resilience of populations that stay in their origin countries, supports the host communities and helps the migrants that have been forcibly displaced with aid and resources.
The World Bank report seeks to inspire countries to approve and implement progressive policies that would allow refugees pathways to work. Aside from gaining economic independence, working will help migrants assimilate within their host community and establish more sustainable methods to address the growing immigration crisis.
Advocating for United States legislation can help to create a more durable global dynamic. Supporting bills like the Global Fragility Act of 2019 can help ease the negative impacts of migration on developing countries by stabilizing origin countries. The Global Fragility Act of 2019 focuses on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries all over the globe through U.S. diplomatic, development and security efforts. Conflict prevention keeps everyone safe.
– Trey Ross