At Scalabrini, one of the first things we learned in orientation was about the mission of the organization. By working with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, they wanted to frame migration as an opportunity rather than something negative.
Being the child of immigrants, I already had this idea instilled in me and never thought anything else of it. It always baffled me that others didn’t think the way I did, and it still does to this day – especially when people like President Trump so frequently demonize those who choose to leave their home countries.
The main argument that I hear against migration is that “immigrants are stealing our jobs”. I believe that there are many problems with this thinking, but I read an interesting spin on it in TimesLive. Titled “Attitudes to immigration may stop SA from being Africa’s Silicon Valley,” Andrew Human details that if South Africa wants to create hubs like New York, where people go to start powerful business or achieve their dreams, then there needs to be more acceptance of immigrants. He says, “How can we possibly have aspirations to be the next New York, the next Silicon Valley, when we don’t have the very first thing required: a welcoming approach to foreigners?”
I loved reading the article, because I wholeheartedly agree. The diversity that immigrants bring to the table is so valuable. Without immigrants, like the author stated, we wouldn’t have companies like Apple or Google, things which I rely on heavily myself (especially because I’m typing this blog on my Mac laptop, and used Google to find this article). Maybe if everyone adopted Scalabrini’s attitude, Johannesburg could become the next New York.
So yes, migration is an opportunity. Not only for those doing the migrating, but for the host country to gain a new perspective and potentially new great inventions that the whole country can be proud of. Hopefully, though, more people can realize this fact and work together with migrants to make their countries the best they can be.