The migration of Africans to Europe and North America should be viewed as a positive phenomenon, not a threat, Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim said Sunday.
Experts said at a weekend conference hosted by Ibrahim’s foundation in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that Africans make up about 14% of the global migrant population, a much smaller share than the 41% from Asia and 23% from Europe.
“Migration is healthy. It’s not a disease,” Ibrahim told The Associated Press in an interview. “Migration is about aspirations, not desperation. People who migrate are mostly capable, ambitious young people who are migrating to work and to build successful lives. They add wealth to the countries they go to.”
Ibrahim also cited statistics to rebut anti-migration politicians who say Africans have inundated Europe.
“Europe is not being flooded by Africans,” Ibrahim said, citing statistics that show 70% of African migrants relocate within Africa.
The 72-year-old philanthropist earned his fortune by establishing the Celtel mobile phone network across Africa.
Now living in Britain, he says African countries should have better education and employment opportunities for their young.
Young Americans are staying put more since the Great Recession, but when they do move, they’re not going to the same places as they did before the economic downturn of 2007-2009.
In the three years leading up to the recession, more Americans in their 20s and 30s headed to Riverside (California), Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and Charlotte (North Carolina), according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
“Those were more kind of ‘We’re coming there to buy a house and get a job and make things go,’” says demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.
Things changed during the recession and in the years that followed.
From 2007 to 2012, America’s metro areas that gained the most millennials were Denver, Houston, Washington, D.C.; Austin (Texas) and Seattle. From 2012 to 2017, the metropolitan areas with the highest net millennial migration were Houston, Denver, Dallas, Seattle and Austin.
“Young people may not be finding the job that they want and they’re not be able to buy a home that they’d like to buy,” Frey says. “At least they want to be in a place maybe where the action is for younger people, the kind with a young person’s amenities, or what you might call places with a cool factor.”
Overall, U.S. millennials are moving at the lowest rate since at least 1996. In 2017, their migration rate was 17%, well below the pre-recession number of almost 23%.
Frey, who keeps expecting millennial migration rates to pick up, is disappointed with the numbers.
“Migration is good for the economy in the sense that people are more able to adapt to changing economic circumstances… if they move to places where jobs are being created,” Frey says.
“Especially if it’s a movement to purchase a home and to start investing in their future in terms of wealth creation and so forth. I think that’s important so that they’re not stuck in a way that makes them feel like they’re being left behind.”
Frey sees signs that millennials are starting to move to the suburbs and smaller metropolitan areas, as well as to cities located in the interior part of the United States rather than on either the East or West Coast.
“I’m suggesting that when we look at the next round of migration rates, when they come out, we’re going to see a little bit more movement to those kind of more, you know, economically viable and prosperous areas rather than to the cooler areas,” he says. (VOA)
U.S. President Donald Trump said late Friday that the United States and Mexico had reached a deal on migration to avert tariffs.
“I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended,” he tweeted.
“Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States,” Trump said.
Earlier Friday, Trump had tweeted that there was a “good chance” the two sides would reach a deal to avert tariffs over the surge of migrants across the U.S. border. However, he added, “If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”
U.S. and Mexican officials returned to the negotiating table Friday for a third day of talks to find a way to stem the migrant flow.
Effect on hiring?
Trump’s trade wars with Mexico and other countries appeared to have spooked American companies into putting the brakes on hiring. They added just 75,000 jobs in May, far fewer than the 180,000 economists expected, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Although the jobless rate held steady at a 50-year low of 3.6%, Friday’s figures were the latest signal that the U.S. economy, while healthy, is weakening. Manufacturers, which are particularly sensitive to trade disputes, added only 3,000 jobs, extending an anemic streak of hiring in the sector.
U.S. and Mexican officials discussed a deal calling for Mexico to sharply increase patrols of its border with Guatemala to curb migration, The Washington Post reported, with the deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops. The newspaper said Mexico and the U.S. could overhaul asylum rules throughout the region, requiring Central Americans to first seek refuge in Mexico rather than traveling through it to reach the U.S.
With such a plan in place, the United States could send Guatemala asylum seekers to Mexico, and those from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala.
Earlier Friday in Mexico City, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated his own optimistic position.
“There is dialogue and an agreement can be reached,” Lopez Obrador said. “I’m optimistic we can achieve that.” He added it was a mistake, though, for the U.S. to link migration with trade, saying again that migration must be addressed by solving social and economic problems in Central America.
“The causes of the migratory chaos aren’t being analyzed, only the effects,” he said.
U.S. authorities have said more than 100,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from the three Central American countries, have crossed into the United States in recent months. The U.S. government announced Wednesday that in May, 144,000 migrants were detained at the border, up 32% from April. It was the highest monthly figure in 13 years.
Some Republican lawmakers, normally close political allies of Trump, had said they would try to block any potential tariffs with legislation, which would have drawn wide support from opposition Democrats. Numerous lawmakers feared rising consumer costs for Americans if the tariffs were imposed on Mexican goods, including cars and numerous food products exported to the U.S. (VOA)
Mexico’s president suggested Saturday that his country could clamp down on migration, and he said he thought the United States was ready to discuss its threatened use of tariffs as a means to combat illegal migration from Central America.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at a Mexico City news conference that “there is willingness on the part of U.S. government officials to establish dialogue and reach agreement and compromises.”
His comments came ahead of talks in Washington next week, and Obrador said he said he expected “good results.” He added that Mexico was willing to “reinforce” existing “measures without violating human rights.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Friday that he began negotiating with U.S. officials after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican products related to the migrant surge at the border.
Ebrard said on Twitter that he had spoken to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by phone and said face-to-face talks between the two would take place Wednesday in Washington.
“We will be firm and defend the dignity of Mexico” at the talks, Ebrard said.
Obrador also responded Friday to the U.S. tariff threats with caution, urging “dialogue” over “coercive measures.”
“I want to reiterate that we are not going to fall into any provocation. But we are going to be prudent, and we are going to respect the authorities of the United States and President Donald Trump,” Obrador said.
That statement followed a two-page letter to Trump made public late Thursday, similar in tone, responding to Trump’s announcement on Twitter earlier in the day that the United States would begin imposing an escalating tax on imports from Mexico.
“On June 10, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” Trump tweeted. Until “the illegal immigration problem is remedied,” tariffs will continue to rise monthly, going as high as 25% by Oct. 1.
U.S. border agents have apprehended an increasing number of people, largely from Central America, who crossed the southern U.S. border without authorization in recent months.
In contrast to previous spikes in arrivals, recent groups have included a large number of children, prompting U.S. officials to scramble to support families and children traveling without parents — some of whom are seeking asylum.
In an indication of the pressing demands at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection solicited bids for the purchase of tens of thousands of diapers, baby wipes and bottles this past week, according to documents reviewed by VOA on a government contracting website.
Trump’s announcement of the new tariffs came on the same day Mexico began the formal process of ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade.
Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesus Seade, said such tariffs would be disastrous, expressing more alarm than the Mexican president.
“If this threat is carried out, it would be extremely serious,” he told reporters. “If this is put in place, we must respond vigorously.”
For one trade expert, who previously served as Mexico’s ambassador to China — a top trading partner for that country and the U.S. — the timing of Trump’s tariff statement raised questions about the future of the USMCA.
“By mixing two things — immigration and now, just lately, drug flow, with trade — I think it confuses the issue,” said Jorge Guajardo, a senior director at the Washington-based international trade consulting firm McLarty Associates.
The trade deal “was a triumph for all three countries, and now of course, that all comes into doubt,” Guajardo added.
Some Republican members of Congress but no Democrats were consulted about White House plan, according to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Asked in a hastily arranged conference call with reporters about benchmarks Mexico would need to achieve to have the tariffs lifted, Mulvaney said there needed to be significant and substantial reductions in arrivals from Central America crossing into the United States.
“We’re going to take this and look at it on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis,” said Mulvaney. “We are interested in seeing the Mexican government act tonight, tomorrow.”
Trump has repeatedly accused Mexico of not doing enough to stop Central American migrants from traveling through the country on their way to the United States.
The U.S. system, however, is not infallible. While the country has increased its apprehension rate at the border in recent years, U.S. border agents stop an estimated 65% to 80% of people crossing into the country without authorization, according to a 2018 DHS report. (VOA)