Construir a paz nas mentes dos homens e das mulheres

Immigrants on the borderline

Mobility is a key feature of today’s world...mobility of capital, goods, images, sounds...and people. International migrations have never taken place to such a massive extent — on a scale that is even higher between countries of the South than between South and North. But while numbers seem to be growing inexorably, more and more obstacles are being put in place to keep them down. And while the motives for migration continue to be poverty, oppression and war, receiving countries are offering a cooler welcome to immigrant workers. Frontiers are closing, police intervention is being stepped up. One often-heard argument for this is that there are fewer and fewer jobs. The fact is, however, that immigration gives rise to many prejudices because of a reflex that is as perverse as it is ancient: fear of change fuels a search for scapegoats, and immigrants, the “foreigners” on the doorstep, are tailor-made for this role because of their “difference” and their vulnerability.

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November 1998