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Issues on International Migration Law: A Challenge to People Mobility

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Migration of Human is an event which traces its existence throughout the

history of men. Migration denotes people mobility or movement of a person

from one place to another. It is not a novel concept as people mobility is

considered to be inherent in the growth and development of particular

situations, setting, or locale.1

In contemporary epoch, the meaning of “migration” remained to be

unfixed and is continually reinvented in different context. 2 For the purpose of

this research, however, it refers to the International Migration or the movement

of people called “migrants”, from one country to another. Such movement or

people mobility is influenced by varying reasons. It may be involuntary as in the

case of exile or to escape hostilities from the migrants’ host country. It may also

1
R Bautista and others, ‘Profiles of Overseas Filipinos (OF) and OF Families in Legazpi City towards a
Model Framework for Migration and Development Organizing’
2
K Moore ‘Editorial: The Meaning of Migration (2015)’
<https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307088664_The_Meaning_of_Migration> accessed 15 March
2019.
be a case of voluntary migration which may be in pursuit of a better economic

opportunities, to reunite with family members living in another state or country,

or any other reason based on the free will of an individual.3 But for whatever

reason a migrant has for him to move from one state to another, the

international community recognized the effect of this movement to the migrant,

the host country, and the destination country. Thus, international laws and

principles are established to regulate the international obligations of the States

with regards to the migrants.

Migrants are generally entitled to the same human rights protection as

all individual. However, due to some restrictions in the exercise of political rights

and other rights determined by the state where they migrated, migrants are

considered to be a part of the vulnerable group.4 Hence, they are afforded with

special protection manifested in international laws which shall address any risk

of exploitation of rights or discrimination on account of their national origin or

nationality. Some of these international legal protections are European

3
International Justice Resource Center “Immigration and Migrants’ Rights” <https://ijrcenter.org/thematic-
reseearch-guides/immigration-migrants-rights/> accessed 15 March 2019.
4
International Justice Resource Center “Immigration and Migrants’ Rights” <https://ijrcenter.org/thematic-
reseearch-guides/immigration-migrants-rights/> accessed 15 March 2019.
Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, Council of Europe

Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, other refugee law,

human rights law, humanitarian law, and the creation of International Migration

Law Unit. However, despite these safeguards, issues concerning migration

continues to surface globally. Thus, one may question the effectivity of these

safeguards in fulfilling the purpose for their creation.

Contemporary Issues on International Migration Law (IML)

While migration has its importance in improving people’s lives in both

origin and destination countries, not all migration occurs in positive

circumstances. Issues which arose in recent years manifested an increase in

migration and displacement due to conflict, persecution, environmental

degradation and lack of human security and opportunity. While most


international migration are legal, irregular migration occurs and continues to be

a matter of public concern.5

One of the above-mentioned issues is the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

wherein more than 630, 000 Rohingya refugees had crossed by land into

Bangladesh, while others reached Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand by

navigating the sea. The involuntary migration was forced to happen by the

discriminatory policies of Myanmar’s government against the ethnic Muslim

minority since the late 1970’s.6

Another issue is the Venezuelan Crisis wherein an estimated number of 3

million people fled Venezuela and another 2 million are expected to join them

by 2019. Thus, the neighbouring countries’ capacity to accommodate these

migrants is bound to be tested.7

5
M McAuliffe and M Ruhs (eds), ‘World Migration Report 2018’ [2018] International Organization for
Migration: The UN Migration Agency < https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2018_en.pdf>
accessed 15 March 2019.
6
E Albert and A Chatzky, ‘The Rohingya Crisis’ (Council on Foreign Relations, December 5, 2018) <
https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/rohingya-
crisis?fbclid=IwAR1b8X9wW1jNWISU0ODluDRjnXMqkiaShqNA99g771w4IYv5Wf71_nMa5sY> accessed 15
March 2019.
7
M Mittelstadt, ‘Top 10 Migration Issues of 2018’ (Migration Policy Institute, December 21, 2018) <
https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/migration-information-source/top-10-migration-issues-2018>
accessed 15 March 2019.
Under President Trump’s administration, an issue on migration loudly

surfaced ever since they took steps to narrow legal immigration. Thus, as a result,

opportunities for foreigners to enter United States was reduced, would-be

asylum seekers were rebuffed, and life for migrants already in the United States

became harder.8

A report in the year 2016 captured international media headlines when an

estimated 10,000 unaccompanied children in Europe reportedly disappeared. Europol

noted that it is possible that some of these children may have left in search of family in

Europe. However, they added that many are likely being exploited by smugglers,

including for the purposes of labour exploitation and sexual exploitation.9

These issues does not complete the contemporary struggle in

International Migration. Indeed these are just small pieces of the puzzle but has

a great negative impact in people mobility. Thus, each of them must be

addressed.

8
Ibid.
9
M McAuliffe and M Ruhs (eds), ‘World Migration Report 2018’ [2018] International Organization for
Migration: The UN Migration Agency < https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2018_en.pdf>
accessed 15 March 2019.
How does this Issues Affect the People Mobility?

The problems concerning these issues are not confined in the restrictions

of the migration rights of these migrants. What is alarming is the repercussion

of this continued issues to their basic human rights which are prejudiced by the

effects of the issues in International Migration. Concomitant with these issues

and restrictions of people mobility, economic, physical, and verbal abuses

against migrants occur in increasing number.

If the basic human rights of the migrants are not protected by

International Migration Law, then these issues are threat to people mobility. The

right of valid and legal movement of a person may be put into risk as these

issues continue to bring fear and injury to the very rights of the people.

RESEARCH RATIONALE

Issues involving migration may be traced since the time people made a

big deal as to one’s national origin and/or nationality. The world has to know

that ending these issues are vital in the creation and maintenance of a
harmonious international community that is liveable for all without

discrimination. Also, it is imperative that people realize that the continued

existence of these issues will challenge people mobility. Hence, this research will

respond to the need to put a stop to the existing issues in International Migration

Law by identifying the very issue on IML.

Moreover, the continued existence of the issues and crisis involving

migration could be a manifestation that the International Migration Law is

ineffective. When an international law failed and continues to fail in addressing

an international concern, then it is nothing but a bladeless sword. A tool which

cannot serve its purpose is good as nothing. While some of the studies, literature

or articles focused on the elements and sources of International Migration Law10,

and others focused on profiling specific sector of migrants –the migrant workers-

-,11 this study will tackle the global issues confronting people mobility and how

International Migration Law contributes to its continued existence. What seems

10
V Chetail, ‘International Migration Law’ (Oxford University Press 2019)
<https://global.oup.com/academic/product/internationa-immigration-law-9780199668267> accessed 15
March 2019.
11
R Bautista and others, ‘Profiles of Overseas Filipinos (OF) and OF Families in Legazpi City towards a
Model Framework for Migration and Development Organizing’
to be the problem? Is it the law itself? Or is it the implementation that needs to

be improved so that policies may be responsive in addressing global issues

which challenges people mobility? Furthermore, with the growing complexities

in the migration laws brought by global issues on migration, the root cause of

these complexities must be identified which is the focus of this study. What are

the issues challenging people mobility? What is the cause of their continued

existence given that international migration laws are already existing?

The answer to these hypothetical questions will give us the solution as to

what must be done to eliminate these issues, address them in the international

level, to be able protect the basic human rights of the migrants, and to prevent

these issues from recurring.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research aims to determine the issues on the International Migration

Law and how they challenge people mobility. By determining the issue as the

subject matter, developing ways to address the same becomes possible because
the problem itself is identified. Creating a safer and well regulated migration and

developing a better understanding in the growing complexities of migration are

relevant issues in the international community as reflected in the United Nations

2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants wherein said declaration

shows that States intended to develop a global compact both on migration on

refugees by the end of 2018.12 The World Migration Report 2018 used available

data and researches in its evidenced-based analysis and policy debates involving

some of the most relevant global migration issues of our time.13 This study and

its findings will contribute to future researches seeking to aid in creating a safer

and better regulated migration in the international community.

Furthermore, this research study will be a guide for the audience, both

private individuals and staes, as to the rights of migrants which will be tackled as

the global issues in migration affecting their basic human rights is discussed.

Determining the cause is vital for one to be able to address its effect. Thus,

identifying the relevant issues restricting or which may restrict people mobility

12
M McAuliffe and M Ruhs (eds), ‘World Migration Report 2018’ [2018] International Organization for
Migration: The UN Migration Agency < https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2018_en.pdf>
accessed 15 March 2019.
13
Ibid.
along with reviewing the effectivity of international migration law as applied for

the purpose of correcting the same is a step closer in building a safer and better

regulated migration.