Central/S America: 24%
The total foreign-born population of the USA is estimated to be 35.7 million (12% of total population), of which 10.3 million are estimated to be illegal immigrants (more than 1/4 of all foreign born in USA).
Migrant Workers in Other Countries
Southern and Central American countries are not the only ones to have vast percentages of
their population working overseas. For example, an estimated 8.1 million
Filipinos, nearly 10% of the Philippines' population were working and/or
residing overseas in 2004 (according to the
Migration Information Source).
Many of us moan about our daily commute, or our long working hours that leave us
little time to spend with our families, but for many people in the world the
options are much starker. Their choice is to live at or below
subsistence level in their own country or leave their children behind while they
find work overseas, legally or illegally, in the hope that the money
they send home will give their children the chance to rise out of the poverty
I knew one such woman - a lovely, caring Filipino woman with three children
of her own that she had left in the care of her sister in the Philippines (her husband having long since disappeared) while she worked overseas in London, England, as a nanny/housekeeper.
She sent money home regularly and tried to save enough so that she could visit
her children once every two years
(something that, although expensive, was possible because she had a work
permit - making her one of the luckier immigrant workers). This was the trade off she was making to give her children a better start in life than she had had. She worked in London for about 5 years until,
one day, she got a message that her sister had been murdered (there is much jealously between those families who have money coming in from overseas and those that don't)
and her children were homeless. The same day she
left a note for her employers and returned to the Philippines to care for her
children - knowing that in doing so she was giving up on her dream, but having no other option.
All of us living in developed parts of the world know about the problems of
illegal immigration; but how often do we stop to think that the 'problem' is
comprised of real people, each with hopes and dreams?
This article was originally published in March 2006, and has been updated for the
January 2007 paperback release.
Click here to go to this issue.
This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.
- "Beyond the Book" backstories
- Free books to read and review (US only)
- Find books by time period, setting & theme
- Read-alike suggestions by book and author
- Book club discussions
- and much more!
- Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
- More about membership!