The Migrant Challenge in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia

The governments of the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe must recognize the lasting impact of hosting migrant populations.

1 min read
London [Photo credit: Kai Pilger/ Unsplash]

It has been reported that the United Kingdom is facing a significant increase in knife-related crimes, with 50,489 incidents reported in the year ending March 2022. Within the UK, there has been a 7% rise in knife-related threats to life over 2021. In the USA, frequent reports of shootings in malls, schools, and other public spaces have resulted in injuries and the loss of innocent lives. Notably, France experienced a recent outbreak of violence when an African individual was shot by the police due to a traffic rule violation. Shootings in public areas are also regularly reported in Canada, while Australia grapples with its own set of challenges.

Many astute observers attribute the rise in violence and unrest in these countries to the substantial influx of migrant populations, both legal and illegal. Additionally, there appears to be a lenient approach by these democratic nations toward migrants, often treating migrant issues as humanitarian concerns.

Several US cities are currently struggling to address a homelessness crisis among migrants, resulting in individuals living on sidewalks and in flattened cardboard boxes. This crisis has been exacerbated by the massive influx of migrants, with New York City, for instance, grappling with nearly 100,000 recent arrivals, leaving over 56,000 still residing in shelters.

Migrants are drawn to these nations due to their affluence, low population densities, and democratic governance systems that promise compassionate treatment. However, as time passes, resentment from the native populations in these regions has grown, leading to increased social tension and animosity.

The governments of the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia are urged to collaboratively assess the situation and develop practical migrant policies. Failing to do so could lead to the distortion of the demographic structure and even destabilize governance in the years ahead.

While these countries undoubtedly require skilled migrants to support economic growth, they also rely on unskilled or semi-skilled labour for less specialized jobs. While selective entry is attempted, curbing the influx of illegal migrants has proven challenging. In many cases, illegal migrants eventually gain legal status after years of residence, and once established, they rarely return to their home countries.

The admission of migrants into these countries can inadvertently create challenges for other nations. Some migrants exploit their newfound base to organize separatist movements or campaigns of hate in their countries of origin. For instance, the Khalistan movement in Canada, Australia, and Europe is propelled by migrants from India seeking to split the country. Similarly, the Sri Lankan conflict was partly fueled by a rebel group with a base in countries like Canada, leading to internal strife and civil unrest in Sri Lanka.

The governments of the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe must recognize the lasting impact of hosting migrant populations. Religious extremism can emerge alongside the growth of migrant communities, posing a long-term threat to stability.

The social fabric of these regions has already sustained damage due to these challenges, and the path forward remains uncertain. If unaddressed, the migrant situation could turn these countries into persistent hotspots of instability.


N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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