Why Do People Migrate? Part 1: Facts

Chapters 2 › Unit 2: SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS View instructions Hide instructions


`Start by reading this article and discuss in your journal how current official definitions of "migrants", "refugees" and "asylum seekers" are challenged by the on-going migration crisis at the South-East borders of Europe.

You can also see Unit 2.1 for more information about irregular migration in Mediterranean region, Unit 2.2 about EU norms on asylum seeking, and Unit 2.3 on the case of Syrian refugees.

Don't forget to have a look to what others have done in their journals!

Categories of Migrants


There are at least three issues here:
* The three categories of "migrants", "refugees" and "asylum seekers" are not specific enough to describe a vast spectrum of reasons people may leave their home countries. While there can never be enough categories to accurately describe everyone, and it may not be easy to place everyone in a mutually-agreeable category, additional categories are probably a good idea.

  • While "refugee" may have a strict international definition, each country may apply it differently so that an individual may be considered a refugee in some places and not others. The migrant themself may personally have either a greater or lesser fear of persecution than the foreign officials credit them with. But this is consistent with other characterizations: someone may be an "attorney" in their home country but not allowed to practice elsewhere, and may consider themselves an attorney even after they retire and cease to pay their dues.

  • The term "refugee" is oriented towards political repression, and there is no term to describe people who migrate due to natural disaster where their home country simply can't cope with it. And "economic migrant" can mean either someone with a good job who moves for a better one or a resident of a country with no repression because everyone suffers from poverty and disease.

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