The influx of Russian tourists to Argentina and Chinese balloons to the United States created a cacophony of speculation. Between the conspiracy theories and the facts being brought to light, the truth is that they are entering the radar, both figuratively and literally, Many topics that have so far gone unnoticed.
The United States claims that there may have been UFOs (we are talking about unidentified flying objects, not necessarily aliens) that were not detected before sharpening their radars. Whether they are weather balloons, drones, or from Mars, the decision to focus on them, detect them, and eventually let them pass or destroy them came only now, not before. It’s time to analyze it, to give it a spin for better or for worse.
The recent events in Ezeiza present an opportunity to do the same with migration. Sincere and multidisciplinary analysis can help change the contours of our country in the future.
There are three main issues in this regard: stigma, immigration policy, and integration.
Regarding the first, there is a big, hard-to-treat issue that has been talked about a lot in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, It is discrimination against immigrants within host societies. Europe has been criticized for double standards regarding welcoming Ukrainian residents, opening borders, schools, health services and housing, and the difficulties faced by migrants from Africa or the Middle East, for example. Ukrainians who arrived in Spain, for example, were provided with health care and summarily granted residence and work permits.
It does not intend to treat immigrants with respect Aliens (It is ironic that in English it is called alien to a foreign subject), in Argentina, a country that is eminently immigration-receptive, and culturally pluralistic, there are various waves of rather massive contemporary immigrations that have not attracted much attention from the media or the population in general. In our imagination, as in almost all countries, the number of foreigners is overrepresented. Data shows that we only have approximately 5% of new international immigrants. Almost 80% of immigrants come from neighboring countries and other Latin American countries. Airplanes loaded with pregnant Russian passengers obviously attract attention. Perhaps immigrants from neighboring countries, in much larger numbers than Russians, go unnoticed, either because they are more like “us”, like our neighboring Paraguayans or Bolivians, or because we are used to seeing them.
Migrants, refugees and expatriates, each term has its own valuable connotations. Prejudice, distortion, stigma, positive and negative discrimination abound. It is about opening thorny issues but necessary for discussion.
In terms of immigration policy, there are many cases to compare and find an appropriate strategy. Similarly, floods of pregnant migrant women occurred in Hong Kong during the years 2001-2010. Chinese women crossed the southern border to obtain permanent residence for their children in Hong Kong, thus benefiting above all from an excellent education. A subsequent protest by Hong Kong residents to ensure their clinics were not saturated and a lack of milk powder for local infants was the first consequence. Immigration to the United States due to ius solis, through which the children of immigrants can obtain the desired citizenship, bypassing the rules implemented by Trump to declare in the visa application that it is “birth tourism”. Same in Canada or Australia. In this kind of legal system, where birth confers residency or citizenship, we pride ourselves on being able to compare ourselves to first world countries.
The situation in which we witness the arrival of these mothers who are looking for opportunities tells us about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it also puts us at the forefront of our immigration policy, and of our worldview. Many people seek protection for themselves and their children, to avoid conscription now or in the future, to escape a system many opposed, or sanctions for supporting it. Exile is not easy. It is an opportunity for the person, but also an opportunity for the receiving country. Immigration can change the face of a country for generations.
For Argentina, it is an opportunity for both domestic politics and international politics. To review our standards. As Argentines, when analyzing planes loaded with Russians, do we remember that at the same time there is a growing wave departing from Ezeiza for nationalities, especially Italian and Spanish? There are also organized tours in these countries, with managers, lawyers and real estate agents, as it is necessary to find a suitable home to establish residence, in order to obtain citizenship. Spain was also a huge beneficiary of Argentine exiles during the dictatorship.
Inclusion of immigration runs through a number of public policies; Language integration and access to health and education for migrants, both internal and international, require ongoing work and monitoring. In the long term, it extends to the concept of a social, political and economic system that ideally, in the richness of intercultural communication, we should aim at enrichment and not merely assimilation.
The issue of protecting migrants in a situation of vulnerability is open to public debate. Checking documents at the airport and investigations into possible abuse of the need to obtain a passport are examples of state actions in this regard. Many highly qualified immigrants arrive, with tuition, money for expenses and even investments. Whether they decide to settle down or simply go to our universities or hospitals, or carry out economic activity for a while, their passage creates networks of connections and a sense of connection with a language and privacy previously unknown to them. Synergy is open to cooperation in economic, political and cultural aspects.
Just as US airspace is examined in more detail, As well as the geographical area of Argentina and the permeability of its borders. Both convey geopolitical analysis. At the bottom lies the difficult question of who gets in, who stays, who doesn’t, and under what circumstances. The IOM’s 2030 Agenda can provide a roadmap. We have an opportunity to reflect on immigration policy and strategy. We start from the richness of multiculturalism contained in the text of the preamble to our Constitution, dictated “to all men (and women) of the world who want to live on Argentine soil.”
“Future teen idol. Hardcore twitter trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble travel evangelist.”