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Migration has been happening, in varying forms, for millennia but it still elicits fear and mistrust, and not just on the part of the “receiving” society. Communities from where people migrate often disapprove of the migrants’ decision and consider it treacherous. The recent reawakening of the debate about migration in the new millennium has evoked intense emotion particularly in the United States and Europe.
Global Crossings cuts through the jungle of myth, falsehood and misrepresentation that dominates the debate, clarifying the causes and consequences of human migration. Why do millions of people continue to risk their lives, and oftentimes lose it, in the pursuit of a chance to establish themselves in a foreign land?
The book first looks at the immigrant experience, which connects the present to the past, and America to the rest of the world, and explores who immigrants are and why they move. The conduct of today is no different than that in the past. And contrary to the claims by immigration critics, the patterns of contemporary migration do not differ fundamentally from those of other epochs.
Global Crossings then discusses immigration and culture. To what degree are foreigners culturally different? Can natives adapt? Can immigrants assimilate into the new society? In assessing whether critics are justified in pointing to a major cultural shift Alvaro Vargas Llosa reviews such topics as religion, education, entrepreneurial spirit, and attitudes toward the receiving society.
The book analyzes such economic factors as jobs, wages, education, and the welfare state. How can an economy continue to operate even in the face of major legal obstacles, and how have recessions and times of prosperity influenced—more significantly than government efforts—the number of immigrants coming into the United States and other countries? Vargas Llosa finds that immigration’s contributions to an economy far outweigh the costs.