While the Arizona immigration law continues to cause a great deal of controversy within the United States, the failing global economy is causing problems for immigrants across the world, according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor. Countries, developing and developed alike, are struggling to deal with an increased anti-immigration backlash.
According to the UNDP, only about one-third of immigrants move from a developing country to a developed one. And yet, it is developed countries that have a stronger ability to adapt to new people and integrate them into the workforce. Intolerance toward immigrants is particularly high in developing countries like South Africa that struggle to absorb the additional labor, according to the Christian Science Monitor story.
The source of this resentment in developing countries is much the same as in developed ones: immigrants increase competition for scarce resources like housing and most importantly, jobs. In South Africa, a country where about a quarter of the population is unemployed, South Africans are more concerned for their own wellbeing than accommodating the floods of refugees and immigrants entering their country. "In South Africa, you have high unemployment, high poverty rates, and people want houses, but they don't get them," says Miriam Altman, director of a South African think tank mentioned in the Christian Science Monitor article. "So then they see outsiders coming in and moving next door" and view them as rivals rather than neighbors.
A global "anti-immigration" sentiment, however, might only serve to shuffle migrants -- who often come from the world's poorest populations -- from one country to the next. This constant movement could prevent these people from finding the permanent work they need to break out of poverty.