Immigration

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(from L. im, into, variant of in, and migrare, to move). Act of arriving in a country in order to take up residence in it. This step is taken for objectives that may be personal (reuniting a family), economic (seeking work, decent wages, etc.), or political (fleeing political persecution, to save one’s life, seeking personal dignity, the right to write and publish works, engage in artistic or journalistic activity, etc.). The majority of immigrants seek refuge from civil wars, genocide, religious persecution, “ethnic cleansing,” etc. I. is divided into legal i., in which immigrants enter a country having fulfilled all the legal requirements established by law; and illegal i., in which immigrants are undocumented and violate the requirements for entry. Currently, the extent of migration from the impoverished South to the rich North is of enormous dimension, reflecting the dynamics of the world labor market, since those who immigrate, especially illegally, earn unconscionably low wages. In Europe and the United States, immigrants also suffer the consequences of discrimination. I. has economic, social, political, religious and psychological consequences; it leads to increases in social tension and reactions of racism, xenophobia and fascism, which are exploited by the ruling oligarchies to take the offensive against social programs and entitlements, civil liberties, etc. Humanist politics emphasizes a concern for human rights, including the rights of immigrants, that is important in order to accomplish the task of humanizing social development and to diminish the negative aspects of the processes of regional integration, which is stimulating major migrations.