Bad conditions for illegal immigrants is not a South thing

by loriane_b on March 7, 2016 - 8:07pm

     Illegal immigration is a phenomenon that happens all over the world, especially in times of social, economic, political, or environmental crisis. The conditions of these immigrants with illegal status are most often precarious, but these vary with the policies of the countries where the migrants go. Through looking at different sources that come from different countries, we can compare some of the conditions of these migrants in different parts of the world. In Quebec, The Montreal Gazette has an interesting view about the issue, as well as the Commonwealth Fund for Germany, and the National Public Radio for the analysis of the conditions of the migrants in the U.S.

     In the article Quebec plans to allow undocumented children to get free schooling, published in the Montreal Gazette on August 25, Katherine Wilton explains the schooling status of undocumented migrants. Hundreds of children will not be and are not able to go to school in Montreal because of the illegal status of their parents and themselves. Some of the parents are illegal immigrants, and others are in Canada as refugees, but their residence permit request got rejected, and they nevertheless decided to stay. Students with no legal status can go to school in the province of Quebec, but their parents have to pay 6,000 dollars in school fees. It is not surprising to know that the vast majority of the families cannot pay this amount of money, consequently their children do not obtain their education. Without education and their illegal status, it is even more difficult to later find a job and have a balanced life. Lobbyists who support the families are trying to convince the Quebec government to drop the school fees. The day before a planned demonstration in front of the Commision scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys in St-Laurent, lobbyist received positive news. Children will be allowed to attend public schools even if they have a precarious immigration status. However, the demonstration will take place because the defendants of the families want to make sure that the policies will be implemented. Being considered as an illegal immigrant makes life very difficult, but what makes their future even more uncertain, is if these children have no education. Education is the seed that permits the ordered and proper functioning of society; it is a basic human right and need.

     However, education is not the only human right, thus, lets look at the health rights of illegal migrants in Germany. The Issues in International Health Policy, Health Care for Undocumented Migrants: European Approaches article, published in The Commonwealth Fund, explains the healthcare conditions of undocumented migrants in seven European countries. For the purpose of this post, the Germany section will be summarized and evaluated. According to the authors Bradford and Ginneken, the number of undocumented migrants in Germany is estimated between 500,000 and 1.5 million. This number is understandably inaccurate because this category of migrants is not always declared and recorded in government archives. Hospitals have to give emergency care to the migrants when needed. Health related workers can choose if they report or not undocumented migrants to the authorities, but other public officials are obliged to. Social welfare offices, when paying for the emergency treatments of the migrants, can choose if they report the migrant or not. When it comes to other health related issues, like sexually transmitted diseases, illegal migrants can receive treatments; nonetheless they need a medical card. To obtain this card, illegal immigrants need to file an application at the welfare office. In this case the office is obliged to report the migrant to an immigration office. Germany is a well-regulated country with clear policies, which makes it difficult for a migrant to apply for a medical card, or any related social service for the matter. A migrant can also apply for a Duldung, a temporary residence permit, but this application could also trigger a possible deportation. Therefore, migrants have to often rely on doctors or religious organizations that would be willing to pay their fees. Their health is regularly unstable because they are afraid to seek health aid, it could cause their deportation.

     Now that we have evaluated the schooling conditions of undocumented migrants in Quebec, and the health conditions of undocumented migrants in Germany, lets look at what happens in the United States with the working conditions of the Hispanic migrants. Carrie Kahn, from the National Public Radio, states that in the United States, there are more than 10 million undocumented migrants. Most of these migrants are Hispanic, more specifically, Mexicans. The National Public Radio, which is United State’s principal non commercial public radio service that spreads news from local radio stations, summarizes the main findings of the Pew Hispanic Center report. The latter analyzes the lives and working conditions of illegal immigrants. The majority of illegal immigrants lives in a household where the adult or adults have an illegal status. As many as 13.9 million people live in a house where the head of the family is an illegal migrant. 4.7 million of the former number are children. The number of illegal migrants is thus greater than the number of  legal migrants, a statistic that is not often heard or read. This has happened since the 1990s. The places with the greatest growth of illegal migrant flows are North Carolina, Colorado, Idaho and Utah, places that are not usually talked about when the word illegal migrant is used. In the recent years, migrants have received more education compared to the last decades. A quarter of the migrants have their college education. However, according to Kahn, 49 percent have no high school education, compared to 9 percent in Native Americans and 25 percent when it comes to legal migrants. Most illegal migrants, 33 percent, work in service industries, 16 percent work in production and constructions, and thousands also work in agriculture. The longer a migrant is in a country, the higher their income will be, but they still have the lowest incomes in the U.S.

     Quebec, Germany, and the U.S. are supposed to be first world developed countries where everybody has equal rights. Basic needs as education, healthcare, and work need to be administered to every capable individual. People do not illegally migrate for fun, it is done in search for a better future, and it is a cry for help. We can see how statistics and approaches vary from source to source. The National Public Radio, spreading local news, gives information that rarely appears on the big news channels. However, the point is that the three countries mentioned before, if well organized, are capable to offer a life to the migrants in need of help. Less rich countries, for example in West Europe, can understandably have problems with the conditions of migrants because of the unstable economic situations the country has. Countries like Germany and the U.S., and places like Montreal, where education and basic human needs are a priority, should at least give these to the migrants.



Bibliographic Information:

Wilton, Katherine. “Quebec plans to allow undocumented children to get free schooling.” Montreal Gazette. Montreal Gazette, 25 August 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.


Gray, Bradford H., and Ewout van Ginneken. “Health Care for Undocumented Migrants: European Approaches.” The Commonwealth Fund. N.p., Dec. 2012. Web. 2 March 2015.


Kahn, Carrie. “Study Details Lives of Illegal Immigrants in U.S.” National Public Radio. N.p, 14 June 2005. Web. 3 March 2015.