Andres Davila | News Director
Following a re-emergence of the immigration debate in the United States, FIU’s Office of Global Learning Initiatives dedicated Oct. 17, Tuesday’s Time Roundtable to the patterns and motivations of global migration.
Marcie Washington, a politics and international relations professor, addressed the definition of global migration and its impacts on migrants.
Washington, who earned a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University, allows an acknowledgment of the power refugees and the diaspora have when promoting peace and generating sociopolitical movements.
Immigration matters, Washington said.
“As much as we like to limit people’s movement by sovereign territory, the reality is people move for opportunity, move for safety, move for family, and they will continue to move,” said Washington.
Beginning with the foundations of migration, she went to the technical definitions of what the freedom of movement means for people, according to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Washington asked the audience what it means to have freedom of movement, generating an argument that it depends on the country an individual is coming from.
“The freedom of movement means that individuals may have the opportunity to get education beyond their borders, to get education in another state, to travel to meet family members to gauge an opportunity for a job, etc. That’s what the freedom movement means, but does it allow for true freedom?” Washington said.
Immigrants have newer, more pressing reasons to emigrate – like climate change, Washington said.
“Climate change is what we call a conflict multiplier. And it prompts people to move increasingly so when they’re already dealing with a fragile situation within their own environment that they’re in,” she said.
Washington refers to the data released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which demonstrates the salaries of refugees and databases of migrations throughout countries.
“Data matters. Not just understanding that data matters, but also understanding that terms matter,” she said.
Washington highlighted the stereotyping and struggles of migrants assimilating to a different culture, due to media and current conflicts around the world.
This refers to understanding how media impacts the way it impacts migrants when escaping their countries from conflicts.
“Unfortunately, when it happens, we think about how this has played a significant role in reinforcing stereotypes. When you’re reinforcing in-group, out-group [immigrant] dynamics, how is that influencing your view of the other population?” Washington said.