Reflection: migration, refugee flows, and security

Subject: Political
Pages: 2
Word count: 627
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Migration has been a common phenomenon, especially following globalization that has interconnected regions through infrastructure and aided access to information about places. People migrate for different reasons, and even though migration could have benefits to both the sending and receiving countries, it has been associated with threats to security of both types of countries.

Knowledge of the possible relationship between migration and security is important because, according to Weiner (1992), migration is likely to persist. It, however, is likely to become more challenging because more people want to migrate than the receiving countries can accommodate. Political factors, besides economic factors, influence determination of inflow and outflow. Inability to control flow, for example, is considered a lack of sovereignty. Political aspects can cause migration as governments may force emigration for achieving cultural homogeneity or asserting dominance of a culture, dealing with political dissidents or class enemies, or pursuing a foreign policy objective (Weiner, 1992). Once it occurs, migration is a threat to security and stability when. Immigrants are considered threats to both the sending and receiving countries, as they can move with conflict to a country or can reorganize themselves in the foreign country for an attack back in their native land. A presence of immigrants can also be a political or security threat. They can also threaten cultural, social, and economic status of the receiving countries through infiltration with negative aspects. In addition, a receiving country can use migrants as a tool of a threat to a sending country. Countries may welcome immigrants or control their entry through sealing borders, incurring costs to avoid inflow such as aiding needy countries, use of threats to halt emigration, or put and implement a ceiling (Weiner, 1992). Weiner identifies significance of immigration as a contemporary security threat that is likely to persist and consistency in the position with other literature identifies validity. Adamson (2006) notes significance of migration to security threats and proposes a framework for understanding the relationship between international migration and national security through. Immigration, according to Adamson, influences state sovereignty, balance of power between sending and receiving states, and the nature of violent conflicts between countries. Lohrmann (2000) supports the significance of migration to security and argues for cooperation between sending and receiving countries for managing the threat.

Weiner, Adamson, and Lohrman convey the significance of migration as a threat to security of both receiving and sending countries and identify the need for solutions. A bias against immigrants is identifiable because of the lack of focus on possible management of migration that does not victimize refugees. Identifying victims of wars, poor economic conditions, and natural calamities such as drought as some of the causes of migrants, persons with conflicting agendas like political dissidents and people with terrorist intentions, means that some migrants may not be automatic threats to security of either the receiving or sending nations. The issue, however, remains complex because of the difficulty to determine threats that individuals pose and diversity of the threats that could even be economic or cultural. Empirical results that ascertain effects of refugees in fueling international conflict (Salehyan, 2008; Salehyan & Gleditsch, 2006) confirms significance of immigration to security threats in both receiving and sending countries and the case of migration policy in Canada confirms victimization of immigrants with the aim of safeguarding internal security (Ibrahim, 2005). Posen (1996), however, notes existence of many solutions to possible threats of immigrants, including peaceful and military interventions for managing triggers of migration. Consequently, migration exists and is a significant threat to different aspects of security. Focus, however, has been put on security measures rather than the interest and benefits of migrants and this identifies bias.

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  1. Adamson, F. (2006). Crossing borders: International migration and national security. The International Security, 31(1), 165-199.
  2. Ibrahim, M. (2005). The securitization of migration: A racial discourse. The International Migration, 43(5), 163-187.
  3. Lohrmann, R. (2000). Migrants, refugees and insecurity: Current threats to peace? The International Migration, 38(4), 1-22.
  4. Posen, B. (1996). Military responses to refugee disasters. The International Security, 21(1), 72-111.
  5. Salehyan, I. & Gleditsch, K. (2006). Refugees and the spread of civil war. The International Migration, 60(Spring 2006), 335-366.
  6. Salehyan, I. (2008). The externalities of civil strife: Refugees as a source of international conflict. The American Journal of Political Science, 52(4), 787-801.
  7. Weiner, M. (1992). Security, stability, and international migration. The International Security, 17(3), 91-126.
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