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December 18 marks international migrants day


There is a deep and difficult to shake off stigma around migration and 'migrants'. Where in fact, migration is simply the movement of people in search of a better life. This can be for a better climate, away from war, disease and violence. Human beings have been migrants for our entire history – continuously moving around the globe to better our lives and livelihood.

This year's international migrants day is here to remind us of that, and that movement rather than staying still is inherent to our very being. However, as the right-wing agenda rises around the world, the stigma and hostility toward migrants continuous to grow, fuelling prejudice and nationalism to extreme levels.

As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "All migrants are entitled to equal protection of all their human rights. On this International Day, I urge leaders and people everywhere to bring the Global Compact to life, so that migration works for all."

FairPlanet's weekly roundup is here once again, and this time, we're looking at migration.

The good


That's right. According to the United Nations Foundation, in 2017 alone, "migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, or roughly 15 per cent of their earnings, back to their countries of origin" which is the equivalent of approximately 3 times more than international development assistance.

migrants sending money back home

This means that not only are migrants good for boosting local economies by taking on work (oftentimes work that local citizens do not want to take on themselves), they are also much more effecting in booting their own economies back home and supporting their family than international aid.

In fact, in the same UN Foundation report, it is outlined that 40 per cent of the US's fortune 500 companies have been founded by migrants or descendants of migrants – proving once again how crucial migration, diversity and cultural difference are to a flourishing economic society.

The bad

tough anti-immigration laws are on the rise

You might have heard of how the West is beginning to close its borders, and how Europe and the US are using more and more aggressive laws and surveillance to curtail the number of migrants coming into their countries.

In the US, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, also known as ICE, uses enormous amounts of data to enforce family separation and deportation. But ICE does not do this alone, but with the aid of US tech giants such as Amazon's AWS, Palantir, Microsoft and Dell under multi-million dollar contracts.

Mijente, a Latinx non-profit advocating for immigrants’ rights has teamed up with legal scholars and high tech workers and launched a petition calling to end the companies’ contracts with ICE.

Titled “No Tech For ICE”, the petition is part of Mijente’s broader campaign to expose companies collaborating with ICE, educating communities about how to defend themselves from criminalisation, taking direct action against companies doing business with ICE and demanding they terminate the contracts and mobilising tech workers and students to use their influence over the companies in the fielda.

Sign the petition today and help end the multi-million dollar business of criminalising immigrants.


Sign the petition: No Tech For ICE

by Yair Oded

New petition calls on tech companies to end contracts with ICE and stop providing them with data used in arrests and deportation of migrants in the US.
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Country focus

Today, Ireland is one of the world's biggest tech hubs, with many tech giants setting up their headquarters in the capital, Dublin. But just a few decades ago, the island was largely made up of largely an agricultural focused economy.

In 1921 Britain divided the island into a predominantly Protestant North and the mainly Catholic South – with both remaining parts of the UK. However, the South very quickly strived for independence while the North remained a part of the UK – leading to decades of violent civil unrest between the supporters of united Ireland, and those fighting for a United Kingdom. A power-sharing agreement came into force in 1999.

With the so-called Brexit referendum in the UK in 2016 and the British government's following attempt to define its future relationship with the EU, the historical conflict became a highly controversial issue.

Ireland has also a significant history of migration, particularly since the 18th century when between 9 and 10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated. This is more than the population of Ireland at its historical peak of 8.5 million in the 1840s. The poorest of them went to Great Britain, especially Liverpool; those who could afford it went farther, including almost 5 million to the United States.

In 1890, 40% of Irish-born people were living abroad. By today, an estimated 80 million people worldwide claimed some Irish descent, which includes more than 36 million Americans who claim Irish as their primary ethnicity.

Today Ireland has become one of the world's fastest-growing liberal democracies, with same-sex marriage voted in through a referendum and an openly gay prime minister, and it recently voted to make abortions legal following a monumental referendum in 2018.