Unit 4 Immigration

Chapter 5 A Global Perspective

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Ask yourself:

  • What are the responsibilities of the world’s nations for helping those in need?
  • What are Canada’s responsibilities?

Today there are more refugees worldwide than at any time since World War II. After a look at the statistics, information, video links and lessons in this chapter, you will be better equipped to analyze the challenges facing global citizens today – many in desperate situations of conflict, genocide, and poverty. Your own research will give you additional information about global migration today.

Action 1  

Do  

Considering Migration
Do you know what Canada does to welcome and support refugees, newcomers and migrant workers?

The Canadian Council for Refugees and Newcomers works to help people resettle in Canada. They offer free services and resources to support the rights of refugees, which includes valuable information on human rights for families and migrant workers.
The site: http://ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers

Our Vision: Rights and dignity for all!

This means:

  • Giving all migrant workers access to permanent resident status, not only those coming for high-wage jobs
  • Effective protection of migrant workers' rights via legislation and enforcement
  • Empowering migrant workers to seek recourse for unjust treatment through access to information, access to services, and access to justice

These guides provide information for migrant workers to ensure their rights are being protected in Canada, as well as resources available to them: http://www.migrantworkerguide.ca

Match the items in List A with the items in List B (numbers from Dec. 2016)

LIST ALIST B
LIST A LIST B
525,000 approximate number of displaced people worldwide
65,600,000 approximate population of Canada
80,000,000 number of migrant workers in Canada
500,000 population of world’s largest refugee camp in Jordan
36,743,000 Approximate number of Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh

*Correct answers may be found at the end of the chapter.

We have always migrated, even in the era of settlements, towns, cities, and states. Some of us travel in search of land, gold, adventure, and the dream of a better life; others to save our own and our family’s lives.

In this unit we have explored issues around migration, especially with groups forced out of their home countries for various reasons.

Canada has been a destination for many groups in the past few hundred years. Sometimes we welcomed immigrants; sometimes we kept them out. In many case people came to Canada as a station on the way to the United States. For some groups, such as escaped slaves in the 1800s, the route was from the U.S. to Canada. (see U1 Ch4 Screening the Black Experience: https://www.voicesintoaction.ca/Learn/Unit1/Chapter4 )

Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. October 11, 2015. enlarge image
Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. October 11, 2015.

Source: © 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch

Action 2  

Do  

Renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei visiting refugee camp at Greece/Macedonia border in 2016 enlarge image
Renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei visiting refugee camp at Greece/Macedonia border in 2016

http://www.scoutmag.ph/section/art-design/ai-weiwei-making-film-focusing-refugee-crisis/

To get a better idea of what groups are currently experiencing globally, watch this interview with world-renowned artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, as he talks about his current documentary Human Flow. Weiwei visited refugee camps in 23 countries and interviewed over 600 refugees in this illuminating film. The film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico and Turkey. The documentary is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future.

Video interview with Ai Weiwei about Human Flow

Ai Weiwei was born in 1957 in Beijing. His father was Ai Qing, a famous poet, and his mother, Gao Ying, was a writer. When Ai Weiwei was a year old, his father was named an enemy of the people and he and his family were sent to a hard labour camp in the Gobi Desert in northwest China. Ai Weiwei spent the following 16 years growing up in hard labour camps with harsh conditions and almost no formal education. When he was 19, his family returned to Beijing where he enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy to study animation. At this school, he became part of an avant-garde group of artists who came together to protest government control of the arts. Their slogan was "We demand political democracy and artistic freedom". For further information, research his biography online.

Action 3  

Think  

There are many facts and circumstances to consider when learning about immigration, refugees, and the responsibility of each country to protect and support global citizens. Read, watch and discuss the information below and then decide what particular topic interests you most. Research that topic by accessing a wide range of media sources.

The largest refugee camp in Jordan, Za’Atari refugee camp, home to more than 80,000 displaced Syrians enlarge image
The largest refugee camp in Jordan, Za’Atari refugee camp, home to more than 80,000 displaced Syrians

Image: REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool

Source: World Economic Forum

Some good news: On November 17, 2017 Jordan inaugurated the first solar park to operate in a refugee camp at the Zaatari desert camp, home to over 80,000 displaced Syrians. Providing 14 hours of electricity per day means that women and girls can now move safely about the camp after dark! (Rape and assault have been a huge issue for many of them.) Germany financed the project for $17.5 million. Prior to this, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was providing electricity for 8 hours a day at the cost of $500,000 a month. Solar energy has no monthly cost and these extra hours of electricity means children can study at night and people can store food in refrigerators, as well as communicate with the outside world.

A boy looks on behind a net at the refugee camp of Schisto in Athens, Greece, on June 8, 2016. enlarge image
A boy looks on behind a net at the refugee camp of Schisto in Athens, Greece, on June 8, 2016.

Source: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

The Rohingyas from Myanmar

Over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar, mostly to Bangladesh living in makeshift camps. More than half of the displaced people are children. Myanmar, a country with a Buddhist majority, has never recognized as citizens the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority living in Rakhine state. Human rights groups consider them to be the among the most persecuted people in the world. Since the late 1970s Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar but the violence and persecution has escalated.

Action 4  

Do  

Research articles online and in national papers about the plight of the Rohingyas. Choose one of the following questions and write a paper about it.

A. Why are they being persecuted and why aren’t they being recognized?

B. Is this a genocide? Support your answer.

C. The leader of Myanmar, State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize. Why did she receive it and does she deserve to keep it?

Get inspired to support refugees to Canada. Get Involved with the Canadian Council for Refugees Youth Network!

A. If you’d like to welcome and support refugees and newcomers to Canada, check out the CCR Youth Network (established 2006) to learn more about their empowering initiatives. You can participate in online discussions, teleconferences, youth-led workshops and strategy session. The Youth Network works within a gender justice and anti-oppression framework. Help give newcomer youth a voice by putting your own voice into action! http://ccrweb.ca/en/youth/welcome

B. Watch this video of the last Youth Action Gathering:
https://youtu.be/ZFCnUPEGBcQ

C. Take a look at some of the cartoons that teenagers from all over the world created about the topic of immigration and being a newcomer to Canada:
http://ccrweb.ca/en/youth/nyce-project/myth-busting-cartoons

Action 5  

Do  

Media Clipping Thesis

Much of what we know or learn about immigration and the role governments and citizens can play in Canada and the world, comes from the media. So it’s important to learn how to analyze media treatment of any issue. A thesis is a statement about an issue supported by evidence and based on clear criteria. This can be a component of the culminating end-of-unit task to be displayed or handed in if there is a current event that has attracted the class’s interest.

A. Working either individually, in small groups, or as a whole class select a problem or current issue in Canada today you wish to explore.

B. Collect stories, pictures, or information, about the topic over a three or four-week period from the local newspaper or other media, including appropriate and online sources. Some of the websites linked to the federal government such as Parks Canada, Statistic Canada, and the National Archives may also serve as sources to investigate.

C. Prepare an analysis which might include such aspects as the following:

  • historical background to the issue (as reported in the newspaper and in the text);
  • the perspective(s) taken by the newspaper or other media examined;
  • a weighting of the different perspectives in order to arrive at a defensible conclusion on the issue in question.

The following are just some of the topics and questions that you may use for developing theses based on readings from your local paper and other media sources.

TopicCritical Question
Topic Critical Question
Refugees from Haiti Should we bring them to Canada? Under what conditions?
Emigration Why would people choose to leave their country or region of their birth to move to a new place?
Immigration Why would people choose to live in Canada?
Illegal Immigration How serious a problem is this for Canada?
Immigration Consultants Help or hindrance to newcomers?
Public opinion What does the public in your community / province / territory think of issues in immigration?
What does the Canadian public think as a whole on immigration issues?
Role of Government What is current government immigration policy?
What influence should the provinces and territories have on immigration policy?
Refugees What groups coming to Canada are claiming refugee status?
How strong are the arguments for and against admission of refugees?
Climate Refugees Do they exist or is this a made up idea with no merit?
Refugee camps Are these temporary or permanent solutions?
What makes a camp “adequate” for the refugees?
Global migration Where are the places where there is massive migration?
Why are these migrations occurring?
What can / should Canada do about the issues causing such migration?
Canada’s economy Should the health of Canada’s economy affect immigration and refugee policy?
Border security How secure are our borders? How secure should they be?
Challenges to newcomers What challenges do newcomers to Canada face?
Temporary Workers How important are they to the Canadian economy?
What are our obligations to this group?
Hopes and realities What has happened to immigrants who came to Canada in the past?
Multiculturalism Contributor or hindrance to Canadian identity?
Studying immigration Is it better to study immigrants as groups of people or concentrate on individual stories to learn more about the issues?
The brain “gain” By encouraging highly skilled and educated immigrants are we damaging the home countries by taking their “best and brightest”?

The clippings can be included as a portfolio or cited in an essay on the topic in question. Some school libraries have signed on to databases of various news media, including newspapers, magazines, television, and cable news sources. Some are free of charge such as:

You can compare daily front-page coverage from a dozen Canadian newspapers and hundreds from more than 50 countries by checking Washington’s Newseum.

The clipping thesis helps you go beyond the headline to trace the story. If the news story is the first draft of history it will not be the last.

Online selection can be part of a “media file” to develop the clipping thesis. Here you might begin by working with your classmates to develop:

  • search techniques, in addition to just “Googling”
  • questions for any online investigation or web quest
  • criteria for evaluating the usefulness of the website itself.

As you share your work, you can discuss or write position papers (see unit Overview Action 2) based on your examination of the issues shared in all of the theses.

PM Justin Trudeau greets Syrian refugees arriving at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Dec. 11, 2015 enlarge image
PM Justin Trudeau greets Syrian refugees arriving at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Dec. 11, 2015

Credit: www.citynews.ca

PM Justin Trudeau greets Syrian refugees arriving at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Dec. 11, 2015 enlarge image
PM Justin Trudeau greets Syrian refugees arriving at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Dec. 11, 2015

Credit: CP24

“Immigration is critical to job creation and long-term economic growth for the middle class. In so many ways, Canada is what it is today thanks to the entreprenurial spirit of those who chose to build their lives here.” – PM Trudeau

Further Resources:

Salam Neighbor - a documentary released in 2016 by the film production companies Living on One Dollar and 1001 MEDIA.[1][2] The title means "hello" neighbor.[3] The film takes place in the largest refugee camp in Jordan. Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/W6SxPSZVD9o

A New York Times short film about Myanmar and the ethnic cleansing of the Muslims (Rohingya). https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000002939059/21st-century-concentration-camps.html?mcubz=3

Answers to Action 1 Chart – Considering Migration:

Approximate number of displaced people worldwide - 65.6 million
Approximate population of Canada - 36,742,853
Number of migrant workers in Canada - over 500,000
Population of world’s largest refugee camp in Jordan A. - 80,000
Approximate number of Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh - 525,000