Abstract and Keywords
Migration has played a critical role in human survival on Earth since prehistoric times. Archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, geneticists, and climatologists now agree that anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, originated in Africa. It took approximately 70,000 years for them to disperse out of Africa to populate the other habitable continents. Climate change and geography determined their migration routes. Historically, there have been more involuntary migrations than voluntary ones. Empire-building and wars were the two main contexts for forced migrations; in contrast, large-scale socioeconomic developments, particularly differences among various regions of the world, provide the contexts for voluntary migrations. This chapter discusses both forms of migration.
Ever since the ancestors of anatomically modern humans walked out of Africa to populate the Earth, human migration has been a powerful generative force integral to the unfolding of global prehistory and history. In the existing literature, most authors define migration as large-scale, intentional, and permanent relocation across time and space. In this chapter, I expand how migration is conceptualized in three ways. First, considered as a topic in global studies, I treat migration not just as movements across international boundaries (a framework in which nation-states are the units of analysis) but, rather, as a global, transnational process that increases the interconnectedness of human societies within what John L. Brooke calls a “earth-system” composed of the atmosphere, the geosphere, and the biosphere (Brooke 2014: 28). It is within this multilayered system that human life has evolved, and migration has played a critical role in that evolution. For that reason, this chapter has a section on the interrelationship between migration, on the one hand, and changes in the climate and the environment, on the other hand. Second, in the debate regarding whether globalization is a “new” phenomenon that began only in the 1970s with the restructuring of the global economy, I take the side of scholars who argue that globalization is not something that is only a few decades old; rather, the current form of globalization is simply the latest stage in a process that began centuries and, indeed, millennia ago. If migration has been a key strand in the evolution of globalizing forces, as I propose in this chapter, then it is appropriate to begin the analysis of migration with a discussion of the prehistoric movements of humans as they spread out into all the habitable continents of the world. Hence, my analysis begins with prehistoric migration, seen from the perspective of the longue durée. Third, I pay particular attention (and allot the most space) to involuntary migration. Although different forms of coerced migration have been more common than voluntary ones, forced migration has received relatively less attention from scholars who write about migration. Voluntary and involuntary migrations are usually treated as separate fields of academic inquiry, each generating its own body of writings. Involuntary migration includes the forcible removal of indigenous peoples from their habitats; the coerced migration of indentured servants, “transported” convicts, and enslaved peoples; the mass deportation of entire communities and ethnic cleansing; the post-conflict repatriation of former belligerents; the flight of refugees; and contemporary human trafficking. People who have migrated under coercion cannot be dismissed or forgotten because their experiences (p. 360) constitute the dark underside of human migration. Therefore, instead of focusing only on voluntary migrations, this chapter addresses multiple forms of migration. Each type of migration is discussed only very briefly, but the cited sources serve as introductions to the pertinent existing literature.
As late as the 1980s, archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and comparative linguists debated whether the Homo genus evolved in a single site of origin or multiple ones. Geneticists have now offered definitive answers by using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) genome sequencing techniques, expedited by supercomputers and statistical models, to analyze the DNA that can still be recovered from the fossils of bones and teeth that archaeological excavations have unearthed, as well as DNA from living populations in various locations throughout the world today. Whereas archaeologists date these fossils to estimate when hominins (bipedal proto-humans who made and used tools) first reached certain locations, geneticists trace the evolution and mobility of hominins by analyzing the DNA in the mitochondria (mtDNA) of females and the Y chromosome (Y-DNA) of males. Mitochondria are tiny energy generators located outside the nuclei of cells in the space between the cell nuclei and the cell walls. The mtDNA is passed down from mothers only to their daughters. The Y chromosome is passed down from fathers only to their sons. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes; one member of each pair comes from the father and the other from the mother. There is one pair that determines the sex of an embryo: Females have an XX combination, whereas males have an XY coupling. The Y chromosome does not recombine during conception, so it has been called “non-recombining Y” (NRY). However, in recent years, scientists have discovered that intra-Y chromosomal recombination does occur, so the nomenclature is being changed to the “male-specific region” (MSR) of the Y chromosome (Zegura, Karafet, and Hammer 2009). By taking DNA samples from people living in different areas of the world today, geneticists are able to track the geographic dispersal of our ancestors by examining the mutations (random “copying mistakes” made in the DNA sequence as cells divide over and over again to form organisms) in the genomes of divergent populations. These mutations are passed down from generation to generation, creating specific genetic lineages. People who share the same genetic markers belong to the same haplogroup, which indicates they share common ancestors. Such genetic sleuthing based on the DNA mutations found in different populations in various localities has enabled geneticists to decipher the most likely routes our ancestors took as they spread out from Africa to the rest of the world (Bellwood 2013; Cavalli-Sforza and Cavalli-Sforza 1995; Stringer 2012; Wells 2002, 2007).
Combining the findings of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, comparative linguists, geneticists, and climatologists, it is now widely accepted that all hominins evolved in Africa approximately 2.5 million years ago from an earlier genus of great apes. Anthropologists named the earliest hominin Homo habilis. A later hominin, Homo erectus, existed in Africa between 2 million and 300,000 years ago. Some of its members began to disperse out of Africa more than 1 million years ago, and their fossils have been found as far away as northern China and on the island of Java in Indonesia. Another species, Homo neanderthalensis, (p. 361) populated areas of West Asia (a region commonly called the Middle East but not including Egypt) and southern Europe between 125,000 and 35,000 years ago (Fagan 1990: 74–89; Groves 2013). Several other species of hominins also existed, but all except the descendants of H. erectus became extinct (Hertler, Bruch, and Märker 2013: 13).
Homo sapiens, our own species, arrived on the scene approximately 195,000 years ago. Their oldest remains have been found in a site named Omo Kibish in southern Ethiopia that dated to 195,000 years ago (Aubert et al. 2012). Until recently, it had been postulated that Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa approximately 70,000 years ago. In 2018, however, researchers announced that they had found a fossilized jaw bone in a collapsed cave in Israel that is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old, which pushes back the date of exit from Africa by 100,000 years (St. Fleur 2018). It is not yet certain whether all scholars have reached a consensus regarding this dating. Regardless of when H. sapiens migrated out of Africa, they went northward from East Africa and crossed the Sinai Peninsula to reach the northern Arabian Peninsula and the Levant region of West Asia. Some geneticists argue that they then moved along the Indian Ocean littoral to Southeast Asia and Australia (Stringer 2012; Wells 2007). Others disagree that such a “southern route” was ever used (Stoneking and Harvati 2013: 28). What had not been disputed until recently is that by approximately 45,000 years ago, H. sapiens had reached Australia. However, a multidisciplinary analysis of material objects found in the excavations of an Aboriginal rock shelter at the Madjedbebe site in northern Australia indicates that humans lived there as early as 65,000 years ago (Clarkson et al. 2017).
During the Last Glacial Maximum (24,000 to 18,000 years ago), when huge, thick ice sheets covered most of North America and northern Eurasia (Europe and Asia combined), so much water was locked up in the ice that the sea level was more than 300 feet lower than the current level. At that time, the Sunda continental shelf joined mainland Southeast Asia to the present-day islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan (Borneo), Java, and Bali. Only 19 miles of water separated Sunda from Wallacea—a large island encompassing today’s smaller islands named Sulawesi, Timor, the Malukus, and the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines. The distance from Wallacea to the Sahul continental shelf (composed of the island of New Guinea, the continent of Australia, and the island of Tasmania) was approximately 60 miles. Crossing such distances required the know-how to build seaworthy boats and to navigate open waters (Fagan 1990: 126–127; Sémah and Sémah 2013).
How H. sapiens spread into East Asia is still being debated. Two routes have been proposed: a northeasterly land route across the huge landmass of Eurasia, traversing Central Asia to reach East Asia, and an alternate route from tropical Southeast Asia that turned northward toward East Asia. H. sapiens had reached China by 60,000 years ago, where they eventually replaced the H. erectus who had found their way there much earlier (Zhang and Hung 2013: 209). Homo sapiens also migrated from West Asia to Europe sometime between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago (Manco 2016), where they coexisted with H. neanderthalensis until the latter went extinct. To survive in the very cold regions of Eurasia, they had to master the use of fire both for warmth and for cooking, as well as the ability to sew warm clothing using eyed needles made of bone to join together animal hides and pelts (Hisock 2013: 41). That tiny but utterly crucial tool, the needle, was invented approximately 20,000 years ago (Ponting 2007: 28).
Approximately 15,000 years ago, H. sapiens living in Siberia and what is presently called the Russian Far East crossed the Beringia land bridge, which had existed before sea levels (p. 362) rose as ice sheets melted and submerged it to form the Bering Strait, and landed in North America (Fagan 2003; Meltzer 2013). They then spread out until some of them reached the southernmost part of South America by approximately 10,000 years ago. What southward routes they took is still being debated among scholars (Bellwood 2013: 83–93; Dillehay 2000; Ruhlen 2009; Southerton 2013; Zegura et al. 2009). It is now known, however, that Native Americans descended from two ancestral groups: a northern branch that includes the Athabascans in Canada and the Navajo and Apache in the United States, and a southern branch that includes all the other indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America (Zimmer 2018).
This first cycle of globalization undertaken by anatomically modern human migrants occurred over a period of approximately 70,000 years. As a mini-glacial period known as the Younger Dryas (12,800 to 11,700 years ago) ended and ice sheets melted, causing the sea level to rise, formerly connected lands became separated by immense expanses of water, thereby breaking the link between Afro-Eurasia, on the one hand, and the Americas and Australia, on the other hand. More than 11,000 years would pass before all the habitable continents were once again connected by humans—this time traveling in wind-propelled sailing ships. Before that happened, the peoples known collectively as Melanesians, Micronesians, and Polynesians had managed to navigate across thousands of miles of open ocean to colonize islands in the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago (Anderson 2013; Bellwood 1979; Carson 2013; Lewis 1972; Thorne and Raymond 1989).
Climate, Environment, and Migration
As the climate and the environment have changed over long geological epochs, migration has been a key asset that has enabled humans to survive. The Earth’s climate goes through very long cycles, oscillating between extremely cold, dry glacial periods and warmer, more humid interglacial ones. Long-term climate change is affected by the elliptical shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis, and how that axis wobbles. The critical factor is how much sunlight falls on the northern hemisphere, where the largest land masses, North America and Eurasia, are located. The astronomically induced temperature swings are amplified by conditions on Earth itself, such as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and changes in the patterns of air and ocean currents. The size of the ice sheets also plays a role: The larger they are, the more they can reflect the sun’s radiant energy back into space, thereby making the temperature on Earth colder. These factors taken together have caused ice sheets and glaciers to form and melt, sea levels to fall and rise, the ecological niches of different kinds of vegetation to retreat and advance, deserts to turn into green belts and then back to deserts depending on the amount of rain available (a phenomenon most visible in the history of the Sahara Desert), and animals and humans to migrate for the sake of survival and the reproduction of their species (Mithen 2003: 11–13).
Until humans learned to farm 9,000 years ago, they depended on their ability to forage and gather edible plants—their leaves, fruit, nuts, seeds, and roots—and to hunt terrestrial animals and catch marine mammals, shellfish, and fish to feed themselves. Such methods of food acquisition required mobility. Whenever and wherever sources of subsistence diminished or when climate change made certain habitats inhospitable for human survival, (p. 363) humans migrated to locations where more abundant sources of food could be found or to regions with a more salubrious climate where they neither froze to death nor died of dehydration from excessive heat. Three accomplishments facilitated their movement. First, after domesticating certain plants, migrants discovered that they could carry the seeds of those plants with them to be sown in new locations for future harvests. Second, after horses, donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, camels, yaks, reindeer, and llamas were domesticated, these self-propelling animals could be herded from one location to another wherever pastures and water could be found. These animals provided and continue to provide meat, milk, hides, hair, and wool; some of them also served and continue to serve as essential beasts of burden. Both the seeds and the animals were and continue to be portable sources of food. Third, domesticated horses enabled their riders to travel for much longer distances and at a much faster speed than humans could do on foot (Anthony 2007). Domesticated camels allowed humans to move across deserts. Even after wheeled carts had been invented, horses and camels remained the vehicles of choice in many areas of the world (Bulliet 1990).
Geography has fundamentally shaped humans’ migratory paths. The world’s ecosystem is divided into belts running in an east–west direction. In the northern hemisphere, moving from the far north to the equator are the tundra, boreal forests (also known as the taiga) of evergreen coniferous trees, deciduous forests of trees with broadleaves that fall in autumn, the steppe (grasslands), deserts, high plateaus and massive mountain ranges, as well as fertile riverine plains and equatorial rainforests. In the southern hemisphere, the ecological zones exist in the reverse order. In both hemispheres, the location of different kinds of vegetation depends not just on latitude but also on elevation, as well as distance from the ocean, with its moderating effect on temperature and humidity. Of these ecological belts, the Eurasian steppe, a cold grassland, has served as a superhighway of human migration. Long before the invention of the railroad, migrants on horseback could travel thousands of miles across the steppe, where they encountered few topographical barriers (the main barrier was the Altai mountain range). The 5,000-mile-long Eurasian steppe stretches from Hungary in the west to northeast China in the east. Over millennia, horse-riding nomadic groups, tribal confederations, and empire-builders who spoke Turkic and Mongolic languages have traveled across its vast expanse, herding their animals, conquering territory, and raiding, as well as trading with, sedentary agrarian communities (Christian 1998; Cunliffe 2015; Khazanov 1994). The Eurasian steppe’s counterparts in the other continents are the prairies in Canada and the United States, the pampas in South America east of the Andes mountain range, and the savanna in sub-Saharan Africa.
In other ecological zones, rivers and their valleys have served as crucial migratory routes. The world’s oldest and most enduring civilizations developed in the valleys of major rivers, such as Egypt along the Nile River; Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq) between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers; China along the Yellow and Yangzi rivers; and India along the Indus, Ganga (Ganges), and Brahmaputra rivers. Some migrants relied on both river valleys and grasslands to take them to distant places. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, approximately 500 groups of people who speak Bantu languages have been the continent’s most active long-distance migrants. They spread out from their original habitat in West Africa located in the borderland between present-day Nigeria and Cameroon and migrated eastward and southward until they became the most widely dispersed peoples south of the Sahara. Some of them followed rivers as they migrated, whereas others traversed the savanna—Africa’s tropical grassland (Davidson 1995: 20–21; Newman 1995: 140–149).
(p. 364) During the past two centuries, a human-made factor has exacerbated nature’s impact. As the Industrial Revolution advanced and as fossil fuels have become the main sources of energy, the amount of greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbon compounds—has increased at an accelerating rate. Unlike oxygen and nitrogen, the two most abundant gases in the atmosphere that have little impact on temperature, greenhouse gases trap part of the sun’s radiant energy and prevent it from re-radiating back into space, thereby warming the lower atmosphere and the surface of Earth. Life on Earth has depended on this greenhouse effect: Without it, the Earth would be too cold for human habitation. However, as increasingly more carbon dioxide is produced with the burning of fossil fuels, and as increasingly more trees, which are major absorbers of carbon dioxide, are cut down to produce lumber and fuel and to make space for more farmland and built-up centers of population, the Earth is warming up much faster than it would if left to the forces of nature. As the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets melt, people living in low-lying islands or coastal areas where the highest ground is only a few feet above sea level worry about where they can move as their habitats disappear into the ocean. Global warming also makes droughts more widespread and long-lasting, with significant negative impacts on agriculture. As chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and industrial wastes pollute increasingly more sources of water, clean water will be more difficult to find. All these developments are certain to generate an increasing number of climate or environmental “refugees” in the foreseeable future who will be impelled to migrate for the sake of survival.
The most important contexts for large-scale involuntary migration have been empire-building and wars. The two have almost always coexisted. Empires, by definition, are multiethnic societies in which a dominant ethnic group controls one or more subordinate ethnic groups. Empires can be classified according to their location (overseas or in contiguous areas), the motive for creating them (for settlement, for trade, for natural resource exploitation, or for religious proselytizing), the method of rule (direct or indirect), and the trajectory of their historical development (whether they remained as empires, evolved into nation-states, or disintegrated).
Involuntary Migration in Western European Maritime Empires
The common conception of empires is based on the Western European model. Beginning at the dawn of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, British, and French began to venture overseas to establish colonies of settlement in sparsely populated areas with temperate climates, as well as colonies of trade and natural resource exploitation in more densely populated regions in tropical climes. In the nineteenth century, Germans and Belgians joined these colonial powers. Most European emigrants, commonly called settlers or colonists, went to what they thought of as “empty” continents—the Americas, (p. 365) Australia, and the southern portion of East Africa—that were, in fact, not so empty. The land that Europeans claimed became theirs only because they succeeded in removing a vast majority of the indigenous inhabitants—now called Native Americans in the United States, First Peoples in Canada, and Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia—from the more desirable arable land (Banner 2005). The indigenous peoples perished in large numbers as a result of having no immunity to “Old World” diseases (Cook 1998; Thornton 1987; Verano and Ubelaker 1992), being killed in the “Indian Wars,” and being forcibly removed to “reservations” usually located on unproductive land (Bowes 2016; Dunbar-Ortiz 2015; Jahoda 1995). Those living on islands in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea suffered proportionately the largest losses: Most were literally decimated and some groups went extinct. The indigenous peoples who managed to survive the onslaught of European settlers—an onslaught that some scholars have called genocide (Levene 2008)—thus became involuntary migrants in the Americas and Australia. The indigenous peoples in Siberia met a similar fate. Even though the Russian Empire was a land empire, its conquest of Siberia bore strong similarities to how the European overseas empires gained control over the Americas and Australia (Lincoln 1994). A relatively new term, settler colonialism, is increasingly used to describe this form of empire-building or colonialism.
European immigrants did not just want land to establish farms for their own subsistence; some also wanted to use the land to generate profits by planting commercial crops, particularly sugar, tobacco, and cotton to be sold in national and international markets, or by mining precious metals and minerals. Both cash-crop agriculture and mining required workers able to perform long hours of strenuous labor. In the early years of British immigration to North America, the English penal system played a role in the peopling of North America and later of Australia. Convicts, debtors, poor street urchins, Irish dissenters, and participants in various protest movements were “transported” to North America as indentured servants. After the 13 British colonies declared their independence and became the United States, the new nation declined to continue serving as the dumping ground for England’s unwanted people. So the British used Australia for the same purpose (Brooke and Brandon 2005; Hughes 1988; Jordan and Walsh 2007). Because indentured servants could gain their freedom once their term of service was over, plantation and mine owners increasingly turned to unfree labor—Africans who were enslaved for life, with that status passing down to their offspring—as their preferred source of labor.
The trans-Atlantic slave trade carried more than 12.5 million enslaved Africans from sub-Saharan Africa to the western hemisphere from the beginning of the sixteenth century until the 1860s. Almost half of them departed from West Central Africa; most of the rest left from ports along the West African coast stretching from the Upper Guinea region to the Gold Coast, the Bight of Benin, and the Bight of Biafra. Less than 5% came from southeastern Africa and the island of Madagascar. The mortality rate was high during the infamous Middle Passage. Consequently, only approximately 11 million arrived alive. Brazil received more than 5 million of them. The Caribbean islands, highly prized as “sugar islands,” and Mexico took in another 5.4 million. The United States became home to the rest of the Middle Passage’s survivors. Between 1501 and 1641, approximately three-fourths of the enslaved Africans sailed in Portuguese and Spanish ships. From 1642 to 1807, British and Portuguese ships were the main carriers. France, the Netherlands, the United States, and several other countries also participated in the slave trade. Even after Britain made the slave trade illegal in 1807 and used the British Navy to patrol shipping lanes in the Atlantic (p. 366) Ocean, Portuguese and Spanish ships continued to carry on the trade (Davis 2006; Eltis and Richardson 2010; Klein 2010; Klein and Vinson 2007). Only decades after the trade ended was chattel slavery itself abolished—the laggards being the United States in 1863, Cuba in 1886, and Brazil in 1888. Although the Atlantic slave trade is the best known, there also existed a trans-Saharan and an Indian Ocean trade in enslaved Africans. In the non-Western areas of the world, enslaved persons were used in a wider range of work than in the Americas (Campbell 2004; Chatterjee and Eaton 2006; Christopher, Pybus and Rediker 2007; Segal 2001).
After slavery ended, part of the labor shortage was met by keeping the freed men and women economically dependent on their former masters and partly by the migration of Indian and Chinese contract laborers to work in the Caribbean sugar islands and in plantations growing other cash crops that the European powers had established in Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America. Derisively called “coolies” and treated with brutality, they nevertheless differed from enslaved Africans in one fundamental respect: Legally, they were not chattel (Meagher 2008; Northrup 1995; Tinker 1993; Young 2014). Pacific Islanders were also involuntarily shipped to tropical Queensland in northeastern Australia to work on sugar plantations (Banivanua-Mar 2007; Saunders 1982).
Involuntary Migration and Land Empires
Although paradigmatic, overseas empires were by no means the only kind of empire. Land empires that grew by incorporating contiguous territories emerged centuries before the overseas ones did so. The largest land empires were located in Eurasia. The Mongol and Russian empires both stretched across almost the entire span of northern Eurasia. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Mongols swept westward across the steppe from their homeland in Mongolia all the way to eastern Europe, as well as southward into China, where they ruled as the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). Because they were not a populous people, they tended to assimilate into the cultures of the peoples and lands they conquered rather than forcing the subjugated populations to adopt Mongol ways (Morgan 2007; Rossabi 2011). The Russian Empire grew in the opposite direction. In the late fifteenth century, the principality of Muscovy began to expand eastward toward the Ural Mountains and then across Siberia all the way to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Russian and Ukrainian Cossacks, fur trappers, and peasants (especially after the serfs were emancipated in 1861) used Siberia’s rivers and tributaries to help make their way through the thickly wooded taiga. (Siberia’s major rivers flow northward into the Arctic Ocean, but many of their tributaries flow in a more or less east–west direction so that when portages on land between the rivers and streams were found, travelers could persevere in their journeys toward the Pacific Ocean.) As the number of Russians increased, the indigenous peoples in Siberia and in the Russian Far East became minuscule minorities in their native habitats (Forsyth 1992; Slezkine 1994; Wood 2011). The Russians also claimed lands lying between Moscow and the Baltic Sea. The final phase of their empire-building took them southward to the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia, which they conquered in the 1860s (Kappeler 2013; Khodarkovsky 2004; Sunderland 2004).
South of the steppe, the Chinese empire that was alternately unified and fragmented under successive dynasties spread southward from the valley of the Yellow River, where the (p. 367) Han Chinese civilization first emerged, until it reached the shores of the South China Sea. Those dynasties that were expansive sent millions of migrants to colonize and secure the new frontier regions, pushing aside the indigenous peoples and forcing them to move into adjoining hilly areas or to migrate southward into mainland Southeast Asia. Over many centuries, Chinese imperial armies subdued the regions that now make up northeastern, southwestern, and northwestern China. The empire reached its largest extent during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). In distant frontier regions, soldiers who had fought in these campaigns were allotted some land so that they could grow their own food, in the process becoming soldier–migrants. A combination of Chinese officials and co-opted local elites governed the newly acquired territories (Fitzgerald 1972; Lary 2012; Perdue 2010; Wiens 1954). The Indian subcontinent and West Asia were also home to many large land empires, the most notable being the Mughal Empire in India (1528–1857), a succession of Persian (Iranian) empires, and the Ottoman Empire (1299–1922). Each of the Eurasian land empires grew by a combination of military conquest; using soldiers-cum-settlers to hold the newly acquired regions; sociocultural absorption of the indigenous peoples in some, but not all, instances; establishing bureaucracies to administer extensive territories with multiethnic populations; building roads; and designating official languages with which to transmit orders and laws. Soldiers played a leading role as involuntary migrants—involuntary because they were conscripts who had no say over their fate. Some of them were prisoners of war captured during earlier conflicts who were then enslaved to serve the victors.
The European overseas empires, as well as the short-lived Japanese overseas empire (1895–1945), all disintegrated either as a result of defeat in war or because the colonized people’s independence struggles succeeded in driving the colonial powers out during the four decades following the end of World War II. Some of the major land empires, in contrast, have evolved into modern nation-states without losing much, if any, of their territories. China, Russia, and the United States all reached their current size via the process of incorporating contiguous territory—the classic manner in which land empires were built.
Involuntary Migration as Punishment
Involuntary migration has often been used as a form of punishment. Exiling dissidents has long been used for this purpose, but during the twentieth century, the scale of punitive deportations increased exponentially. Although the term ethnic cleansing did not come into popular usage until the early 1990s when inter-ethnic conflicts resulted in Yugoslavia splitting into several countries, the phenomenon had existed long before that. The Russian Empire and its successor state, the Soviet Union, sent political dissidents and criminals into exile in Siberia (Viola 2007). After the Qing rulers in China conquered Xinjiang in northwestern China in the eighteenth century, that far-off territory was used as a location to which people were banished (Perdue 2010). In 1915, when a group of reformist politicians in the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, until then a multiethnic polity, developed a robust sense of Turkish nationalism and tried to make Turkey into an ethnically homogeneous nation-state, they gave orders to massacre an estimated 1.5 million Christian Armenians and pushed those who had not yet been killed into the Syrian Desert, where they died of hunger, thirst, and heat exhaustion—a genocide that the present Turkish government refuses to acknowledge (Akçam 2006; Suny 2015). After World War I, a compulsory “population (p. 368) exchange” in 1923 forced more than 1 million Greeks living in Turkey to move to Greece and approximately 355,000 Turks in Greece to move to Turkey (Hirschon 2003; Naimark 2001: 17–56). The Assyrians, a smaller ethnic group, were likewise massacred by Turkish troops in 1924 (Donef 2014). Like the Armenians, both the Greeks and the Assyrians were Christians.
During World War II, Joseph Stalin (1878–1953) and Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) both forced multitudes to become involuntary migrants. Stalin sent millions of people into “internal exile” not only in Siberia but also in Kazakhstan and other areas of Central Asia. These mass deportations, which involved uprooting entire ethnic groups, should not be conflated with the exile of political dissidents sent to harsh labor camps, the gulag, in Siberia. The first ethnic community to be forcibly “transferred” comprised 170,000 Koreans from the Russian Far East, where they had settled during the mid-nineteenth century. Piled into railway cattle cars that took them across thousands of miles to not-yet-settled lands in Russian-colonized Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia in 1937, they found no food, shelter, or medicines upon arrival, which led to the death of approximately one-fourth of that group (Pohl 1999: 9–20).
The Koreans’ internal exile became the blueprint for how to remove other ethnic groups expeditiously just before and during World War II. Stalin singled out ethnic groups that dwelled along the northwestern, western, southwestern, and eastern borders of the Soviet Union for “total deportation.” He feared that some of these peoples might act as fifth columns should war break out with Nazi Germany and later Japan. In addition to the Koreans, the “punished peoples” included Finns and Germans who had settled in Russia over several centuries; Kalmyks living in a region northwest of the Caspian Sea; Karachais, Ingushetians, Chechens, and Balkars from the North Caucasus; Meskhetian Turks from the South Caucasus; and Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Bulgarians, and Armenians, who lived either on the Crimean Peninsula that juts southward into the Black Sea or on the steppe lands north of that body of water, were all forcibly removed from their areas of settlements (Polian 2004: 92–171). After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the Nazis used members of some of these ethnic groups as forced laborers. When the Soviet Red Army recaptured the German-occupied areas in 1944, these people and their fellow co-ethnics were branded as traitors and subject to wholesale expulsion despite the fact that tens of thousands of Chechens, Ingushetians, Meskhetian Turks, and Crimean Tatars had served and were still serving in the Red Army.
In terms of numbers, almost 200,000 Crimean Tatars, who are Muslims, were expelled to Central Asia. Loaded onto railway box cars with all the windows and doors bolted shut and given no food or water, many captives died en route. The trains had to stop to toss out corpses. No food, shelter, or means of earning a living awaited them upon arrival in their places of exile. Approximately 100,000 of them died. The Muslim peoples in the Caucasus mountain region, who had long resisted Russian colonial rule, were deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia. One-fourth of the more than half a million Chechen deportees, the largest group among the Muslim residents of the Caucasus, died. Ninety-eight thousand Kalmyks, the only practicing Buddhists in the Soviet Union, were sent to Siberia, where approximately half of them perished. People in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, part of Finland, eastern Poland, and part of Romania were likewise exiled to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Between 1.2 and 1.5 million ethnic Germans, who were scattered widely on Soviet soil with the largest concentration in the valley of the Volga River, were similarly deported, mainly (p. 369) to Kazakhstan (Ahonen et al. 2008: 23–26; Naimark 2001: 85–107; Nekrich 1981; Pohl 1999; Polian 2004: 124–139).
During the same period, Hitler launched a campaign to bring ethnic Germans living outside of Germany back to the fatherland. There were 3.2 million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia, 1.7 million in France, 1 million in Poland, more than 1 million in the Soviet Union, 786,000 in Romania, 623,000 in Hungary, and more than half a million in Yugoslavia before the war in Europe began (Ahonen et al. 2008: 15). Proclaiming that more space was needed to house these returnees, Nazi Germany set out to conquer Europe. Hitler’s scheme involved what might be called a demographic transfusion: As many “racially superior” ethnic Germans as possible would be gathered within an enlarged German heartland while “racially inferior” non-Germans would be banished to the fringes or killed outright. (Unlike the Soviet Union, Germany did not have a Siberia or Central Asia to which unwanted people could be sent.) In 1939, Stalin and Hitler agreed secretly in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact to divide up Central and Eastern Europe. The most drastic measure they took was to split Poland into three sections: Eastern Poland would go to the Soviet Union, western Poland to Germany, and central Poland (named the General Government or Governorate) would be administered jointly by the Germans and Soviets. Soon thereafter, however, Germany gained the right to be the sole administrator in exchange for turning Lithuania (initially allotted to Germany) over to the Soviet Union. Both countries invaded Poland in September 1939, during which more than 75,000 Poles were killed and more than 2 million were slated for forcible removal. The Nazis took several million Poles to Germany and rounded up those who remained in the General Government area in order to use them as forced laborers. They were treated so harshly that a significant portion died (Lukas 2012). The land and houses from which Poles had been uprooted were given to the incoming ethnic Germans. Hitler’s ultimate goal was to wipe out all traces of Poland as an independent nation-state. When he decided to exterminate the Jews, not only those in Germany but also the ones in all the countries that the Nazis had invaded and occupied, six of the major extermination camps were set up in Poland, which had the largest number of Jews before it was partitioned in 1939. Jews were rounded up and taken to these extermination camps for the sole purpose of being killed, unlike those confined in other concentration camps, who were forced to engage in hard labor while they still had the strength to do so (Ahonen et al. 2008: 11–42). Six million perished during the Holocaust.
Lest it be thought that only totalitarian regimes would engage in coercive population removals, during World War II the United States “evacuated” and incarcerated 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them American citizens, in what were euphemistically called “relocation camps” on the pretext of “military necessity.” Canada did the same thing to Japanese Canadians (Daniels 1981). To be sure, these Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians did not perish in large numbers; still, they were involuntarily removed and confined.
Involuntary Migration and the Dissolution of Empires
Although involuntary migrations have almost always resulted from empire-building and wars, the end of wars and the dissolution of empires have also engendered involuntary (p. 370) migrations. Massive movements of people occurred as World War II came to an end in both the European and Pacific theaters of war. As many as 3.5 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Poland, 3.2 million from Czechoslovakia, almost 2 million from the Soviet Union, 400,000 from Hungary, 300,000 from Romania, and an additional 1 million from other areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Along the way, angry people who had suffered so much while under German occupation beat up and killed some of the fleeing ethnic German men and raped the women. Soldiers of the Red Army also participated in these acts of vengeance. Not just the Nazi regime but also the German people as a whole were held collectively responsible for Nazi war crimes. Those who fled landed in the American, British, French, and Soviet occupation zones in post-war Germany. Many of them, as well as German prisoners of war, were used as forced labor to clear the debris and rebuild bombed out cities and infrastructure. The terms of Germany’s unconditional surrender made it clear that the use of German forced labor after the war would be a part of the reparations that Germany had to pay. Italians and Hungarians, who had fought on the side of the Germans, were also expelled from the regions they had occupied (Ahonen et al. 2008: 61–109; Cohen 2012; Connor 2007; de Zayas 2006; Polian 2004: 239–303; Reinisch and White 2011).
When war in the Pacific theater ended in August 1945, there were approximately 6.5 million Japanese outside of Japan, 3.5 million of whom were military personnel deployed in all the areas of Asia that Japan had conquered and colonized between 1895 and 1945, including Taiwan, Korea, northern and eastern China, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippine, Burma, and numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean. Japan and the French Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government agreed that in exchange for Japan not attacking the French colonies in Southeast Asia, Japanese troops could be stationed in and transit through French Indochina. Thailand also used diplomacy to fend off a Japanese invasion. Upon Japan’s unconditional surrender, US Navy ships took most of the Japanese—both prisoners of war and civilians—back to Japan. The repatriation process took longer than might have been expected because the victors—the Russians, Chinese, British, and Americans—wanted to use Japanese prisoners of war to clean up the wartime destruction. By the end of 1946, 5.1 million Japanese had been repatriated (Dower 1999: 48–58).
The most notable example of how decolonization and massive population exchanges go hand in hand occurred in 1947 when the Indian subcontinent, the “crown jewel” of the British Empire, was partitioned into an independent, Hindu-majority but determinedly secular India and an independent Islamic republic, Pakistan. An estimated 10–15 million people moved on foot, in carts drawn by donkeys and oxen, in motor vehicles, and in trains across the new international borders—Muslims going to East and West Pakistan, and Hindus moving from both wings of Pakistan to India. At least 1 million people died and thousands of women were raped while in transit (Khan 2007; Zamindar 2007). In West Asia, as the British left Palestine, which they had held as a League of Nations “Mandate,” 700,000 Palestinians fled from their homes when the state of Israel was established in 1948 to accommodate Jews who wished to migrate there from all over the world where they had settled. Palestinian refugees are still living in squalid, overcrowded camps in neighboring countries. One of the key sticking points in round after round of failed peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the latter’s insistence on their “right of return” to the homes they had been forced to leave seven decades ago—a right that Israel seems determined to never grant them.
(p. 371) Involuntary Migrants as Refuge-Seekers
Europe’s experience in dealing with 30 million displaced persons in the aftermath of World War II (Cohen 2012; Marrus 1985; Reinisch and White 2011) led to a realization that policies must be formulated with regard to who can be considered as refugees. The United Nations established the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1950 and produced two documents, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, in which the word “refugee” acquired a specific meaning in international law. Refugees are defined as persons outside of their countries of origin to which they cannot return because they have a “well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, r membership in a particular social group or political opinion” (Loescher and Loescher 1994: 2–17, 98–139, quote on p. 100). They are entitled to certain kinds of protection, including being housed and fed while awaiting one of three options: to be repatriated to their countries of origin when conditions there permit their safe return; to be locally integrated in the countries of first asylum where they initially land; or to be resettled in “third countries,” also known as countries of second asylum. Most important, they have a guarantee of non-refoulement: They cannot be forced to return to their countries of origin where they may be persecuted by their own governments. Refugees and asylum-seekers are thus politically defined persons because it is the nation-states from which they fled that are persecuting them. Asylees differ from refugees in that they can apply for asylum after they have already entered the countries from which they seek asylum, whereas refugees must be “processed” before they are allowed to travel to the countries of resettlement. Given the precise manner in which refugees has been defined, in a previous publication (Chan 2004: xxiv) I coined the term refuge-seekers to include not only “real” refugees but also those who are escaping poverty, other social ills, or natural disasters—people usually considered as “economic migrants” who cannot claim the same protection given to refugees.
Since the 1950s, there has been an almost constant stream of refuge-seekers throughout the world. The Cold War and several hot “proxy wars” fought between countries that sided with the “Free World,” led by the United States, and those that were allied with the Soviet Union, leader of the Communist bloc, generated large outpourings of refuge-seekers. In addition, civil wars and military coups d’état in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have added to the number of people seeking refuge. Chinese and Koreans escaped from their countries as the Chinese Civil War (1945–1949) and the Korean War (1950–1953) came to an end. The communists emerged victorious in mainland China, whereas the Korean Peninsula was divided into two, with North Korea joining the communist bloc and South Korea the US-led bloc. From Europe came Hungarian and Czechoslovakian refuge-seekers in 1956 and 1968, respectively, who were also escaping from communist regimes. In Africa in the 1960s, refuge-seekers flowed out of conflict zones in Algeria, Sudan, Rwanda, and Mozambique. Approximately 10 million refuge-seekers left East Pakistan for India during a civil war that resulted in the establishment of an independent Bangladesh in 1971. In Latin America, Fidel Castro’s victory in Cuba in 1959 generated an unending stream of anti-communist refuge-seekers bound for the United States—an exodus that is still ongoing to this day. (With the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2015, the refuge-seekers will, in time, become regular immigrants if the administration of President (p. 372) Donald J. Trump so allows). During a military coup against Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973, 200,000 Chilean refuge-seekers left the country, while a military takeover of Uruguay during the same year led to the exodus of 200,000 Uruguayans.
The outflow of refuge-seekers increased so greatly from the 1970s onward that international conferences had to be convened to deal with them. The wars that the United States fought in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the late 1960s and early 1970s produced approximately 2 million refuge-seekers as communist regimes came to power in all three countries in 1975. During the course of two decades, the United States and approximately 60 other countries took them in under agreements forged during two international conferences in 1979 and 1989. The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (1979–1989) caused 5 million Afghans to become refuge-seekers in neighboring Iran and Pakistan. An off-and-on civil war in Somalia in the late 1980s and early 1990s sent 1 million or more Somali refuge-seekers to neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, a significant number of whom have been resettled in the United States. In Rwanda in the early 1990s, during a civil war between Tutsis and Hutus, more than 1 million people fled the inter-ethnic bloodletting. As Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990s, 4 million people became either internally displaced persons or refugees (Bon Tempo 2008; Loescher and Loescher 1994; Marfleet 2006).
In the Middle East, an exodus of refuge-seekers, many of them quite well-to-do, began as an Islamic republic was established in Iran in 1979. During the first Persian Gulf War in 1990 fought by the United States and its allies against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who had invaded Kuwait, 4 million persons, including 1 million migrant workers from many foreign countries, were displaced. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks against New York City and Washington, DC, the United States invaded first Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, was hiding out, and later Iraq under the false pretext that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The United States, which has absorbed the largest proportion of most post-World War II refugee outflows, has been uncharacteristically stringent with regard to admitting refuge-seekers from those two war-torn countries. Many of the refugee applicants had worked as interpreters and translators for the US armed forces and the US State Department and had been promised sanctuary should their lives become endangered. But only a tiny fraction of them has been admitted into the United States. During approximately the past five years, as an estimated 5 million Syrians became refuge-seekers during Syria’s civil war, they, along with refuge-seekers from other conflict zones, are finding that the doors into the European Union, the United States, and Australia are closing fast. With President Donald J. Trump in the White House, the doors of the United States have closed even tighter. Canada and Germany have been the only two Western countries willing to accept sizable numbers, but the souring public mood in Germany is forcing the government to reduce the size of that influx. In several countries in both Western and Eastern Europe, xenophobic populist political parties are now fanning the flames of public phobia about the danger of admitting “terrorists.” There are now at least 20 million refuge-seekers in the world and a far larger number of internally displaced persons.
Refuge-seekers are not the only involuntary migrants in the contemporary world. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business with a global reach. There are no accurate statistics on the dimensions of this trade due to its clandestine and illegal nature. Most tragically, young women, including pre-teen girls, are trafficked into countries throughout the world, where they are forced to become prostitutes and virtual domestic slaves. There is a (p. 373) difference between human trafficking and human smuggling. In the former case, victims are kidnapped or sold into servitude against their will—that is, they are involuntary migrants. In the latter case, people who are smuggled into countries in which they hope to find jobs or personal safety pay large sums of money to underworld entrepreneurs who make huge profits dealing in human cargo. The smuggled people and their families back home are held in debt bondage until they pay off what they owe. Some unfortunate ones end up in the same circumstances as those who are victims of trafficking. However, even though they are badly exploited by both the smugglers and the employers who hire them, they began their journeys as voluntary migrants. As countries that had welcomed immigrants and refugees in the past begin to limit the number of people they are now willing to admit, human smuggling has become one of the few options available to determined individuals who wish to find their way into more prosperous nations where they hope to have a better life (Hepburn and Simon 2013; Kyle and Koslowski 2011).
The literature on voluntary migration has been dominated by studies of immigration into the United States, with the main focus on European immigration—both the “old” immigrants from the British Isles, France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries who arrived from the early seventeenth century onward and the “new” immigrants from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe who came in large numbers from the 1880s to 1924. Generally, the “old” immigrants were lured by the possibility of acquiring cheap farmland, whereas the “new” immigrants came for jobs in a rapidly industrializing and urbanizing United States. The number of immigrants burgeoned after railroads and steamships were invented, offering safer and cheaper transportation from various points in Europe across the Atlantic Ocean to multiple destinations in the Americas. However, sailing ships continued to be used for voyages to Australia because the steamships could not carry enough coal in their holds to last the much longer voyage until coaling stations were established along the way. Most studies in the existing literature are about immigrants from a single European country, but some scholars have synthesized a large body of writings on multiple immigrant groups (Daniels 1990; Hatton and Williamson 1998; Nugent 1992; Zahra 2016). Since the 1960s, there has been a growing literature on immigrants from Mexico and, to a lesser degree, other countries in Latin America, and studies of immigrants from Asia have also become an important subfield in US immigration history (Chan 1991; Foley 2014; Lee 2015; Romo and Mogollon-Lopez 2016; Takaki 1989).
Approximately 55 million Europeans had migrated to the Americas by the early 1920s. Between three-fifths and two-thirds of them settled in the United States, and Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay took in a large portion of the rest (Baily and Miguez 2003; Nugent 1992). There are no precise statistics on the net intake because records were not kept on how many of the immigrants returned to their countries of origin. Given the fact that some migrants went back and forth, it is also not known how many of those counted as immigrants were repeat entrants who had already been counted previously upon their first arrival. Brazil needed immigrants to develop its rubber and coffee plantations, while the descendants of enslaved Africans continued to work in its vast sugar cane plantations in the (p. 374) tropical region of northeastern Brazil. Argentina needed immigrants to develop its cattle industry in the pampas and to work in its industrial labor force. So many Italian immigrants flocked to Argentina that approximately 40% of Argentinians today are descendants of Italians. But economic factors were not the only determinants of the immigrants’ settlement patterns or what occupations they chose. Social factors also played significant roles. Emigrants from a particular European country often came from the same region(s) within that country. They also congregated in the same rural or urban areas upon arrival in the receiving countries. Family members and friends who had migrated to certain localities and found employment in certain occupations encouraged their relatives and friends to follow them to the same locations to take up similar occupations, in the process creating chain migrations. Instead of being “uprooted” (Handlin 1951/2002), they “transplanted” their socioeconomic networks in the new countries (Bodnar 1987).
Unregulated immigration ceased when the US Congress passed restrictive legislation in 1921 and 1924 to greatly reduce the influx, introducing a quota system that diminished the numbers from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe, as well as from Japan. Aspiring Japanese immigrants were kept out by the phrase “aliens ineligible to [sic] citizenship”—a concept delineated in previous legislation and US Supreme Court decisions. A series of Chinese exclusion laws had already restricted Chinese immigration beginning in 1882. Canada and Australia also limited the number of Asian and other non-White immigrants (Freeman and Jupp 1992; Knowles 2007). During the Great Depression and World War II, there was a lull in the volume of migrants worldwide. In the immediate post-World War II years, war-torn European countries trying to recover economically admitted “guest workers” from overseas to fill new job vacancies, but voluminous global migration did not pick up again until the 1960s when the United States amended its national-origins quota system and Canada and Australia ended their “White Canada” and “White Australia” policies, respectively. The post-1960s immigrants have come from many countries in all the habitable continents. Their presence has had significant demographic, cultural, social, economic, and even political impacts on the receiving countries (Portes and Rumbaut 2014; Reimers 1992). In the traditional immigrant nations and, more recently, in certain countries within the European Union (Boswell and Geddes 2011), the percentage of foreign-born, non-White immigrants is growing steadily while the proportion of people of European ancestry is decreasing. In response, status anxiety among White people is fueling increasingly strong anti-immigrant sentiments. When nativists proclaim they want to “take the country back,” what they mean is that they want to return to the days when White people dominated all spheres of life.
Aside from immigrants who intend to become permanent settlers, there is a growing number of migrants who sign contracts that allow them to enter certain countries as low-paid, low-skilled service workers. Women outnumber men in this migrant stream. They find employment as nannies for children, caregivers for elderly people, house cleaners, waitresses, kitchen helpers, “escorts” or “hostesses” in bars and gentlemen’s clubs, seamstresses, manicurists, and salespeople (Chang 2000; Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2004). Women from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and North Africa have flocked to oil-rich countries in the Middle East to work as caregivers and house cleaners (Gunatilleke 1987). The major source countries for women workers headed to the Middle East are almost all Islamic societies because their Muslim Arab employers feel more comfortable with fellow Muslims living in their homes. The recent slump in the price of oil has created massive unemployment among (p. 375) the workers who are trapped in Persian Gulf countries—trapped because their employers have withheld their passports, a common tactic to prevent workers from moving to other employers or fleeing home. Male migrants find employment as farm workers, construction workers, and in the various trades, where they are employed by contractors who pay them wages far below those received by White workers doing similar work. They cannot protest because many of them enter the country without the required documents and will be deported if caught. These migrants go not only to the traditional countries of immigration but also to economically better off societies within the same geographic regions where their own countries are situated (Caballero-Anthony and Menju 2015). For example, men and women from Indonesia seek work in Malaysia, whereas Malaysians seek work in more prosperous Singapore. Young women in poverty-stricken Cambodia and Myanmar are lured to more economically developed Thailand, where they are told they will be offered “respectable” jobs but, instead, find themselves held as virtual slaves in brothels. Filipinas go to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and many other countries throughout the world to work as caregivers, house cleaners, and “hostesses,” even though many of them have college degrees (Parreñas 2011, 2015). They do so because the Philippine economy is unable to provide employment for all those who seek work. Millions of Filipino men are employed as waiters, cooks, room attendants, and musicians on cruise ships and ships of the US Navy and US Merchant Marines. Filipino crew also serve in ships registered in dozens of other nations (Fajardo 2011). All these migrant workers who hail from so many countries send a huge amount of remittances back home to support family members left behind.
Today’s most fortunate migrants are those with higher education and technical skills. There is, in fact, a global competition for such workers in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and management) sectors of the economy. Both Canada and Australia use a point system to choose which aspiring immigrants to admit. The largest number of points is given to those who have at least a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, are fluent in English (and/or French in Canada), and are younger than age 45 years. In contrast, the two major selection criteria the United States uses are family reunification and the admission of persons with skills needed in the economy at particular moments. Because family reunification slots take up the largest portion of each year’s quota, in addition to the annual immigration quotas, the United States now issues special visas, usually good for six years with the possibility of renewal, to persons who can show evidence of extraordinary accomplishments, such as awards received and leadership in their professions. These individuals include not just STEM experts but also nurses, artists, musicians, star athletes, and (for a time) even sushi chefs, regardless of their level of education. Applicants must usually be sponsored by employers who have already promised them jobs, but some exceptional individuals are allowed to sponsor themselves. The British and Germans have been the most numerous among the knowledge experts migrating to fill such job slots throughout the world, but the Irish, New Zealanders, Chinese, Indians, and Filipinos are fast catching up (Basri and Box 2008; Bhagwati and Hanson 2009; Chiswick 2011). In the 1960s, there was much concern about how the less developed countries that were losing their well-educated people were suffering from a “brain drain.” However, because some countries, such as the Philippines, are producing more well-educated people than their economies can absorb, and because there are certain benefits from sending their citizens abroad who can later return with new knowledge and expertise that can benefit their countries of origin, the anxiety over brain drain has lessened. The concept of “brain circulation” (p. 376) has become the new accepted norm. Migration for permanent settlement, the global circulation of talent, and the peripatetic circuits of service-sector workers constitute the newest chapter in the history of human migration that began a long, long time ago.
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