January 2020 \ Diaspora News \ DIASPORA—BOOK REVIEW
A case for migration

People have migrated through the ages ...

By Shubha Singh

America’s arbitrary interventions in many countries, especially in Central America, propping up dictators and repressive regimes brought political instability and strife that often forced people to flee their homes. In the 1950s, it overthrew a Guatemalan leader whose land reform polices went against the interests of the US-owned fruit company.

Mehta travelled to the migrant crossing places to learn about what he describes as ‘survival migration’ and listen to migrant stories. He visited arrival points in the Mediterranean coast and the Wagah-Attari border. He describes Friendship Park at the border of California and Mexico where people gather to catch a glimpse of loved one across on old wire mesh fence which allowed them only the faintest touch if they pushed their little finger through the fence.

Migrants are not a drain on society, according to Mehta, they contribute to the places they go to and also to the places they leave in the form of remittances. Wealthy countries with aging populations need migrants to revitalise the economy. Migrants constitute three per cent of the world’s population and contribute nine per cent of the gross domestic product.
The book is a significant contribution to the discussion on migration. It is an angry book, polemical in nature with a wealth of data but written in a highly readable style.

Book Name: This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto
Author: Suketu Mehta, Jonathan Cape, London, 2019
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Tags: USA, Shubha Singh