Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Do people have a right to migrate?

On 17 November 2018, John Allen Chau was killed when he tried to reach North Sentinel Island. The indigenous population used bow and arrow to fend off the intruder. For years, the Indian government has forbidden human contact with the people living on that remote island. The violent hostile attitude by the Sentinelese is often the default human response towards intruders.

To a large extent, the hostile attitude in Europe and USA towards economic migrants mirrors that default human response. Asylum seekers are often still welcome. However, a 2018 Dutch WODC study revealed that less than 25% of all migrants request for asylum (Trouw, WODC). The majority of migrants is looking for work and income. Essentially, they claim a right to migrate.

I expect that the second part of this century (2050-2100) will show mass migration within Europe and USA towards higher elevations. No doubt, they will claim that they have a right to migrate to safer areas. Hence, some 10-15 million people from the Low Countries or Netherlands (sic!) will want to migrate to Germany. People outside the European Union will be less fortunate.

Wikipedia claims that “[t]he origins and early history of nation states are disputed”. The earliest fortified city-states might well be Sumerian, like Eridu, Kish, Nippur and Ur, the birthplace of Abraham. The once undisputed right to migrate was severely restricted following the rise of urbanization (eg, city-states, nation-states).

My blog’s title comes close to another question: do we have a right to believe – or do – whatever we want to? Your Ego will decide on your answer: yes or no. Also see this 2018 Aeon essay and my 2018 blogs of May and October.

Our views on rights and obligations are closely connected to our Ego. The bigger our Ego, the more likely we will claim: yes, we do have a right. The smaller your Ego, the more likely you will take into account other people’s rights before claiming your own right.

Such philosophical debates are meaningless in case of urgencies, like (personal) safety and security (eg, asylum, climate change). People at the receiving end will understand these urgencies, but will also expect these to be reciprocal when they would ever need help.

I still think, feel and believe that the Arab expat solution would be best for economic migrants:

  • a right (permit) to work for a predefined maximum period;
  • a right (permit) to rent property for that same period;
  • an obligation to adhere to local customs, laws and regulations;
  • an obligation to pay taxes and social security premiums;
  • an obligation to leave when permits expire;
  • absence of domestic benefits, like asylum, subsidies, voting rights, and/or welfare.

A House is Not a Home (1981) by Luther Vandross
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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