After contacting quite a few agencies for expectant mothers, Miss X chose a reputable one. Airplane tickets, fees for labor, pre- and post-delivery care cost her roughly 20,000. Since most airlines refuse to accept women passengers who are more than 32 weeks pregnant, Miss X set off for America when she was six months pregnant and then checked into a Chinese birthing center in California.
After her arrival, Miss X realized that the area was full of facilities set up for Chinese women like herself. On the limited occasions when she goes to the Punete Hill Mall near her birthing center — the facility limits walks outside its premises to three per week, each time for about three hours — Miss X bumps into lots of pregnant Chinese women. Birthing centers such as Miss X’s, which are mostly situated in America’s beautiful west coastal areas, operate without a business license, and try to be as discreet as possible. In April, a number of illegally converted maternity centers in Los Angeles were discovered and shut down, which makes Miss X very nervous.
Going to the United States to give birth and taking a foreign born child back to China usually proves relatively easy. The difficult part starts only later, as Lee is starting to understand. Because her son has a U.S. passport, the law does not allow him to be registered in his mother’s local area, which means that he will not be automatically admitted to Chinese schools. Lee will have to register him as a foreigner, and pay an extra fee. His access to education and health care also faces a lot of constraints.
“Some parents obtain fake birth certificates for their children, or cheat the Chinese Embassy to get them Chinese passports. But then they can’t get visas or go abroad,” Lee explains. She is still hesitating on what to do next. If Lee gets her son a fake hukou (the Chinese registration system), which would make it easier for him to go to a local school, she fears that all the efforts she has made up to now could be in vain.
Imigration distinguishes between Push and Pull. Push factors refer primarily the motive for emigration from the country of origin. In the case of economic migration (usually labor migration), differentials in wage rates are prominent. If the value of wages in the new country surpasses the value of wages in one’s native country, he or she may choose to migrate as long as the costs are not too high. Particularly in the 19th century, economic expansion of the U.S. increased immigrant flow, and in effect, nearly 20% of the population was foreign born versus today’s values of 10%, making up a significant amount of the labor force. Poor individuals from less developed countries can have far higher standards of living in developed countries than in their originating countries. The cost of emigration, which includes both the explicit costs, the ticket price, and the implicit cost, lost work time and loss of community ties, also play a major role in the pull of emigrants away from their native country. As transportation technology improved, travel time and costs decreased dramatically between the 18th and early 20th century. Travel across the Atlantic used to take up to 5 weeks in the 18th century, but around the time of the 20th century it took a mere 8 days. When the opportunity cost is lower, the immigration rates tend to be higher. Escape from poverty (personal or for relatives staying behind) is a traditional push factor, the availability of jobs is the related pull factor. Natural disasters can amplify poverty-driven migration flows. This kind of migration may be illegal immigration in the destination country (emigration is also illegal in some countries, such as North Korea, Myanmar, and Cuba).
Emigration and immigration are sometimes mandatory in a contract of employment: religious missionaries, and employees of transnational corporations, international non-governmental organizations and the diplomatic service expect, by definition, to work ‘overseas’. They are often referred to as ‘expatriates‘, and their conditions of employment are typically equal to or better than those applying in the host country (for similar work).
For some migrants, education is the primary pull factor (although most international students are not classified as immigrants). Retirement migration from rich countries to lower-cost countries with better climate is a new type of international migration. Examples include immigration of retired British citizens to Spain or Italy and of retired Canadian citizens to the U.S. (mainly to the U.S. states of Florida and Texas).
The dream of moving to the USA, may becoming a myth!
- Want a U.S. passport? Were you circumcised? (msnbc.msn.com)