Insecure Lives of International Emigrants

by Saki Hirama

Today, it is estimated that the number of international emigrants come to be over 200 million in the whole world (Facts&Figures), and this number is more than the population of Brazil that has fifth biggest population in all over the world. The reasons why people have moved from country to country are various, economic problems, political problems, looking for jobs and as refugees. Especially America has the largest number of migrants and sometimes it brings conflicts and discrimination due to prejudice or differences.

There is an example, the discrimination because of prejudice against Arab immigrants, especially after the 9.11 attacks. According to “Arab Americans continue to Face Discrimination” by Abdus Sattat Ghazali, there were over 700 reports that the violent incidents against Arab Americans in the weeks after the terrorist attack in 2001. Even between 2003 and 2007, 120 to 130 reports of some kinds of attacks or discrimination have been reported (Ghazali, 2008), so we can imagine it is continuing still now. Actually, the terrorist attacks was said that occurred by Al-Qaeda the group of Islamic extremists, but it could not have been the reason for the attack against ordinary Arab Americans. After the 9.11 attacks, Arab Americans came to receive strict passport control at airport, lose jobs, lose friends and be the victim of the bully at school. Suddenly, they lost their calm life and were considered as criminals or target for hatred. What this example shows is that the lives of international emigrants tend to be influenced by the relationship between host country and the other. It means the state of emigrant is so insecure because the surrounding is always changing, and we cannot know what will happen tomorrow.

We can also see the insecurity at today’s Japanese emigrants in China. Historically, we had have border problem among China, and after Japanese government tried to buy the Senkaku Island recently, Chinese who were against it began to attack Japanese by attacking Japanese company, no-buying movement against Japanese products or violent incidents. Wherever they live, emigrants may not be able to have absolute security, because international circumstance has possibility to change suddenly. Once something inflames a nation’s emotions, the emigrants there will be convenient targets. Thus, discrimination or prejudices against emigrants are continuing still now, and it is hard to wipe away these kinds of feelings. However, if we can see a person as just a person, not as a member of specific groups, races, nationalities, languages and religion, we might be overcome it.


Facts&Figures. (n.d.). Retrieved Oct 17, 2012, from International Organization for Migration:

Federative Republic of Brazil. (2012, Mar). Retrieved Oct 17, 2012, from Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan:

Ghazali, A. S. (2008, Dec 5). Arab Americans Continue to Face Discrimination. Retrieved Oct 20, 2012, from OpEdNews:

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