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Who are immigrants? Problemsofframing, definition, distinction Maurizio Ambrosini, University of Milan, editor of the journal “Mondi migranti”
Definition • An immigrant is a person who moved to a foreign country, and who have been there for more than one year (UN) • Three elements: • Moving • Crossing a national border • For a prolonged period of time (1 year or more) • Problems: • Internal migrants • Seasonal immigrant workers • Second generations • Immigration policies have increased in their importance in the political agenda, in Europe and elsewhere • The general trend is towards more closure: voters seem to demandmore restrictions on further admissions of migrants, rights, and tolerance towards diversity • New political parties have gained ground, with big success in several countries, emphasizing opposition to immigrants and cultural diversity
The double Otherness of migrants • We do not define a person coming from US, Switzerland or Japan “immigrant”, even though he/she is included in the definition quoted above • We do not name a businessperson, or a football champion “immigrant”, even though he/she comes from a country of the Global South • Immigrants are people framed as “poor” and “strangers”
A dynamic vision • Italian, Spanish, Greek migrants in Northern Europe have improved their legal status and social representation over time • Citizens of EU new member countries are doing the same • The economic development has similar effects in legal treatment and social acceptance
Superdiversity? • The difficulty in the acceptance of people perceived as “the Others” is linked with the perception of a deep break of the social order and of the homogeneity of the Nation • we are obliged to live with people who are different because of their language, citizenship, religion, cultural habits… • Our social landscape is perceived as radically altered • These differences are combined with a social stigma: these people are seen as “inferior” • The term “immigrant” comes to imply a pejorative meaning
Different types of migrants • Economic migrants • Seasonal migrants (now: “circular migrants”, in a “triple win” scenario) • Skilled migrants and investors • Migrants for family reasons (or “secondary migrations”) • Second generations (are they immigrants?) • Asylum seekers and refugees • Irregular migrants, clandestines, victims of traffick • Return migrants
The historical periods of international migrations in contemporary history • 1830-1914: transatlantic migrations from Europe • 1914-1945: refugees and first regulations • 1945-1960: new refugees and reconstruction after the war • 1960-1974: migrations towards Northern Europe and economic development • 1974-now: restriction, selection, free circulation in the EU, irregular migrations
Four trends in contemporary migrations (Castles and Miller) • Globalization • Acceleration • Diversification • Feminization
Phases or stages of migrations • 1) First arrivals: young workers, without families, with the proposal to stay temporarily • 2) New arrivals, workers even now. People with less resources, but sponsored by the “hubs”. Time extends • 3) Family reunions: spouses and children arrive, Immigrants settle • 4) Formation of ethnic minorities. Political and cultural demands. Creation of ethnic institutions