Research Topic

Immigration in the Global Era: Migrants and the People and Laws at Origin and Destination

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Every day, and all around the world, people are moving – from something, to something; with help, without help; openly or in secret; for a short time or forever . Meanwhile, every day, and all around the world, people are expressing views and making ...

Every day, and all around the world, people are moving – from something, to something; with help, without help; openly or in secret; for a short time or forever . Meanwhile, every day, and all around the world, people are expressing views and making laws and policies – whom to welcome and whom to bar; whom to keep and whom to send away . And larger natural, economic, and political forces are making some regions uninhabitable. From the interplay of these activities and events emerge the migration flows that comprise one of the most central social processes in contemporary societies.

Social science has accumulated major insights, models, methods, data, and findings. These include ideas and results about migration selectivity, modes of incorporation, the second generation, and the impacts of migration both on the migrants themselves and on others at both origin and destination. But each of those encompasses many dimensions, and there is much yet to learn about their inner workings – about language acquisition, citizenship acquisition, identity formation, the parts played by government authorities and private agencies, together with the new intergroup processes that arise when natives experience fear and threat and newcomers experience discrimination and stress, the population devolving into “insiders” and “outsiders”. All these processes occur within and are shaped by social/legal contexts and historical periods. Documenting and understanding them is an important challenge, and especially so when there are differences between natives and migrants in material well-being or in ethnic characteristics.

Moreover, everything is in flux. People change; countries and their laws change. To the prospective migrant, some countries become more attractive, others become less attractive. To countries and their residents, some recent or prospective migrants become more attractive, others become less attractive. Documenting and understanding these alterations is also critically important. To illustrate, consider that the major question about economic well-being was once, how many years does it take for an immigrant’s wages to catch up to a native’s, but now it often is, how many generations does it take for an immigrant’s descendants to match the education, occupation, earnings, wealth, homeownership, employment benefits, health insurance, and retirement pension funds of natives.

The goal of this Research Topic is to gain a deeper understanding of international migration. In general, we hope to stimulate interest in exploring new questions and new ways to address old questions. Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, immigration flows and their magnitudes, the integration of immigrants into society, different types of immigrants including returnees, shedding the habits of elitism, shedding the habits of illegality, contacts between immigrants and natives and the impact of contacts on attitudes, labor market assimilation, health of immigrants, sources of anti-immigrant sentiment, change in attitudes, perceptions among immigrants, sense of discrimination and stress among immigrants, selectivity, remittances – and how these are shaped by the laws on exit and entry in origin and destination countries, respectively, the behavior of these countries’ residents, and the web of kin, marital, occupational, or other affiliations between natives and newcomers.


Keywords: Migrant selectivity, integration of immigrants and their descendants, impacts of immigration, laws on exit and entry, public attitudes toward migrants in both origin and destination countries


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