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International Immigrants May be Healthier Than Native: Study

Infectious disease and homicide deaths may be higher among migrants than other people in the general population because of unfavorable conditions immigrants face at work

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Immigrants participate in a naturalization ceremony to become U.S. citizens in Los Angeles, Dec. 19, 2018. VOA

International migrants who relocate to high-income countries to work, study or join family members are less likely to die prematurely than people born in their new homelands, a research review suggests.

For the analysis, researchers examined data from 96 studies with mortality estimates for more than 15.2 million international migrants in 92 countries.

Overall, migrants were about 30 percent less likely to experience premature death from all causes than other people in the general populations of the countries where they moved, the analysis found.

“Migrants to rich countries have lower rates of death due to most major disease areas compared to the general population,” said lead study author Robert Aldridge of University College London in the U.K.

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Men line up for dinner outside a shelter housing members of the migrant caravan, in Tijuana, Mexico. VOA

“We know from U.N. data that the majority of migrants to these rich countries tend to be moving for work or study,” Aldridge said by email.

About 258 million people worldwide reside outside their countries of birth, accounting for more than 3 percent of the world’s population, researchers note in The Lancet.

In many high-income nations, public perception that migrants place an undue burden on society in general and on health resources in particular has led to restrictions on migrants’ access to care, the authors write.

But the current analysis suggests that, if anything, migrants may use fewer health resources than native-born residents, Aldridge said by email.

Diseases, external causes

The only causes of death that were more common among migrants were infectious disease and external causes like homicide, the analysis found.

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Applicants take the oath to become new U.S. citizens during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Mass., July 18, 2018. VOA

Immigrants were 28 percent more likely to die of external causes and more than twice as likely to die of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and HIV than people who were born in their adopted homelands.

However, immigrants were less likely to die from a variety of other causes including heart disease, digestive disorders, endocrine or circulatory problems, mental health disorders, cancers or diseases of the respiratory or nervous systems.

Both men and women appeared to have a longevity advantage after migration. Male immigrants were 28 percent less likely to die prematurely from all causes than native-born men, while female immigrants were 25 percent less likely to die prematurely.

The vast majority of the studies in the analysis focused on migration to high-income countries, not on refugees or asylum seekers. Researchers also excluded studies from their analysis that focused just on migrants with serious or chronic health problems or just on maternal and infant health outcomes.

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Central American migrants begin their morning trek as part of a thousands-strong caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, as they face the Pico de Orizaba volcano upon departure from Cordoba, Mexico, Monday. VOA

It may be, however, that migrants in the study were healthier than people in their native countries who didn’t migrate, said Anjali Borhade, director of the Disha Foundation in Gurugram, India, and co-author of an editorial accompanying the study.

“Educated migrants have better sources of income and being healthy doesn’t affect their choice to migrate,” Borhade said by email. “Also, educated migrants have better living or working conditions and their health status is similar to the host populations, both for risks as well as outcomes.”

Also Read: With The End Of Sea Rescue Operations, Migrants Death Will Increase: U.N.

Infectious disease and homicide deaths may be higher among migrants than other people in the general population because of unfavorable conditions immigrants face at work and in their new communities, Borhade added. That’s because many young, relatively healthy migrants may take low-paying and dangerous jobs and only be able to afford housing in subpar conditions.

“Hazardous jobs and low living conditions increase their risk of dying due to external causes and infectious diseases,” Borhade said. “However, since migrants are healthier to begin with, their mortality due to other causes might be lower.” (VOA)

Next Story

US to Expand and Speed Up Deportations of Migrants

Legal experts said it was a dramatic expansion of a program already used along the U.S.-Mexican border

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, Feb. 7, 2017. VOA

The Trump administration said on Monday it will expand and speed up deportations of migrants who enter the United States illegally by stripping away court oversight, enabling officials to remove people in days rather than months or years.

Set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the rule will apply “expedited removal” to the majority of those who enter the United States illegally, unless they can prove they have been living in the country for at least two years.

Legal experts said it was a dramatic expansion of a program already used along the U.S.-Mexican border that cuts out review by an immigration judge, usually without access to an attorney.

Both are available in regular proceedings.

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The Trump administration said on Monday it will expand and speed up deportations of migrants who enter the United States illegally by stripping away court oversight. Pixabay

“The Trump administration is moving forward into converting ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) into a ‘show me your papers’ army,” said Vanita Gupta, the president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, on a call with reporters.

It was likely the policy would be blocked quickly by a court, several experts said. The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed suit to block numerous Trump immigration policies in court, has vowed to sue.

President Donald Trump has struggled to stem an increase of mostly Central American families arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to overcrowded detention facilities and a political battle over a growing humanitarian crisis.

The government said increasing rapid deportations would free up detention space and ease strains on immigration courts, which face a backlog of more than 900,000 cases.

Also Read- Nations and their Moon Missions

Nearly 300,000 of the approximately 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally could be quickly deported under the new rule, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said 37%, or 20,570, of those encountered by ICE in the year to September had been in the country less than two years.

People in rapid deportation proceedings are detained for 11.4 days on average, according to DHS. People in regular proceedings are held for 51.5 days and are released into the United States for the months or years it takes to resolve their cases.

Legal experts said the rule shreds basic due process and could create havoc beyond immigrant communities.

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Set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the rule will apply “expedited removal” to the majority of those who enter the United States illegally. Pixabay

“ICE has been detaining and deporting U.S. citizens for decades,” said Jackie Stevens, a political science professor at Northwestern University. That policy came at a great cost to U.S. taxpayers in terms of litigation and compensation, she added.

U.S. citizens account for about 1% percent of those detained by ICE and about 0.5% of those deported, according to Stevens’ research.

“Expedited removal orders are going to make this much worse,” she said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco in March ruled that those ordered deported in the sped-up process have a right to take their case to a judge.

Also Read- Most Parents are Obstacles to Teens’ Independence: Survey

Previously, only those immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border who had been in the country two weeks or less could be ordered rapidly deported. The policy makes an exception for immigrants who can establish a “credible fear” of persecution in their home country. (VOA)