Immigration Was Not On the Cop27 Agenda; It Should Have Been

IXTEPEC, MEXICO - AUGUST 06: Central American immigrants arrive on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 to Ixtepec, Mexico. Thousands of Central American migrants ride the trains, known as 'la bestia', or the beast, during their long and perilous journey north through Mexico to reach the United States (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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by Dan Ehrlich

 

The world, now bulging with 8 billion people, is on the verge of a demographic time bomb being spawned by climate change, drought, wars, and poverty. The UN estimates there may be as many as 220 million migrants from the effects of climate change by 2050. Yet the subject of mass migration was not on the COP27 agenda.

Countless numbers of desperate people from hard-hit Third World nations are migrating to the European Union and North America. Where they are not going is Russia. The world’s largest single national land mass remains largely devoid of people.

There’s irony in Putin’s Ukraine war. If the dictator wasn’t so intent on pointlessly expanding Russia’s 11-time-zone border, his nation might have had a rosy future as the world’s new breadbasket, enabling it to exert commercial and political pressure on much of his adversaries who are, or will be, grappling with critical natural resource shortages.

As it now stands, Russia will remain a pariah rogue state for some time to come, feared but unloved in a state limbo.

But the case of Russia offers a prime example of the state of world migration, with most migrants heading to a few wealthy and densely populated nations.

The world may now be bursting with 8 billion people. But what Russia lacks is people. Its 145 million population is declining. The national birthrate is stagnant. The war has also created an exodus of Russians either against the war or fearful of it. To top this off the pandemic has killed as many as 500,000 there. The actual count is hard to calculate.

According to the most pessimistic scenarios, Russia estimates its population might drop by 12 million in the next 15 years. And even the most optimistic forecasts say that death rates will still exceed birth rates in 2035, although the gap might narrow significantly. So, Russia may depend on migrants to cover population losses no matter which scenario comes into play.

The US says more than a million Ukrainians have been forcibly taken to Russia. The fact is Putin needs people to populate the world’s largest nation. And kidnapping more than a million Ukrainians is a start.

But Russia’s low population density, only nine people per square kilometer, 199th place of 213 nations, is a blessing and a curse. The curse is not having enough workers to man any future growing consumer society, something that hasn’t been a priority for Putin’s 20-year reign. By comparison, St. Kitts and Nevis, the smallest nation in the Americas,  is ranked 64th in the world with 206 people per square kilometer, the US, ranked 161, has only 36 people, and the UK, ranked 43, has 278 people per square kilometer.

On the other hand, Russia’s blessing is not having the situation the West has with countless Third World immigrants flooding in and helping to use up finite natural resources, forcing nations to import basic goods from other countries…countries such as Russia.

Like it or not, there are limits on how many immigrants can be accepted by wealthy western nations at any one time before living standards in these countries are adversely impacted both economically and environmentally.

Hoover Dam-Lake Mead at dangerously low water level

For example, in just nine months 0f 2022 42,000 undocumented immigrants crossed the English Channel for a safe harbor in the UK. And daily, even during bad weather, scores of migrants and asylum seekers attempt the dangerous channel crossing in small boats supplied by criminal gangs.

Look at the USA. Following World War 2 its population stood at 150 million. Living for most Americans was a comfortable middle-class experience. Public utilities, gas, and even food were dirt cheap. Yet, today the population is 338 million and climbing; now with a declining middle class and the biggest gap between wealthy and poor citizens in the developed world.

This is no longer just a matter of jobs for people. There’s plenty of work available in the US and UK for new arrivals. 

If this past summer is a hint at the new normal, water shortages amid extreme heat waves along with power cuts will mean a comfortable life only for those who can afford it. And one world leader predicts a doomsday scenario if the First World doesn’t look after the Third World.

Rich countries must sign a “historic pact” with the poor on the climate, or “we will be doomed”, the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, has warned during the COP27 climate meet, as a deepening gulf between the developed and developing world has put climate talks on the brink.

Cop27 took place amid the worst geopolitical tensions for years, over the Ukraine war, a spiraling global cost of living crisis, and deepening economic gloom.

But the gulf must be bridged if humanity is to have a hope of avoiding the worst ravages of climate breakdown, Guterres said.

There is no way we can avoid a catastrophic situation if the two [the developed and developing world] are not able to establish a historic pact,” he told the Guardian in an interview on the eve of the summit. “Because at the present level, we will be doomed.”

With environmental and climate issues now center stage, the world population is also a key issue. Yet COP27 didn’t address world population growth and immigration.

Russia’s small population gives it an environmental edge. By land area vs. its population and richness of terrain, Russia has more available natural resources than most western nations. This could be one of its aces for decades to come.

America used to be the world’s breadbasket…Its vast agricultural lands produced food for itself and the world. But, rapid growth has led to uncontrolled urbanization in some areas, which has produced overcrowding, destitution, crime, pollution, and political turmoil. Rapid growth has outstripped increases in food production, and population pressure has led to the overuse of arable land and its destruction.

Asked whether or not the growing world population will be a major problem, 59% of Americans agreed it will strain the planet’s natural resources, while 82% of U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said the same. Just 17% of AAAS scientists and 38% of Americans said population growth won’t be a problem because we will find a way to stretch natural resources.

The very real fact of life is having unlimited multitudes of people migrating to areas of finite resources will only create more human sorrow ending in hostility.

Migrants need to go where there is plenty of room, a growing economy and a need for people. No, it’s not just the USA. It’s Canada with only 4 people per sq.k., Australia (3 people per sq. k.), and Russia (9 people per sq.k).

Russia’s land mass is almost as large as all of North America. But its manpower shortage means it hasn’t been too difficult to convince Putin to open its borders to immigrants from areas other than former Soviet republics, from where most of Russia’s recent migrants have originated.

In April 2020, Putin signed a dual-citizenship law that estimates suggest will attract up to 10 million new citizens. Why? Putin has made reversing Russia’s demographic crisis a major priority.

Canada has been more welcoming to immigrants than the US. Its low population density along with a First World economy makes it a good landing pad for immigrants. Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is now looking to welcome over 460,000 new immigrants each year, which is the highest level in its history.

Canada’s immigration goals are to strengthen the economy, reunite families, and help refugees. 

But for most immigrants the difficult part is getting to Canada, having to traverse the US from being stuck at the Mexican border.

U.S. immigration law is based on the following principles:

The reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity.

Amid a record number of  2 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2022, President Joe Biden reinstated in December 2021 a Trump-era policy that requires those who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border and seek asylum to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed.

Biden had earlier ended the Migration Protection Protocols, or “Remain in Mexico” policy, and then restarted it after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri that challenged the program’s closure. Asylum seekers do not receive legal status that allows them to live and work in the U.S. until the claim is approved.

Overall, more than 40 million lawful immigrants live in the U.S.; most are American citizens. 

Australia is raising its cap on permanent migration for the first time in a decade to help fill massive workforce shortages.

It will take up to 195,000 people this financial year – an increase of 35,000.

The pandemic and Australia’s tough border policies have exacerbated staffing gaps in many sectors.

Workers from countries including China, India, and the UK – Australia’s top sources of migration – are needed to fill them, the government says.

There are more than 480,000 job vacancies across the country, but with unemployment at an almost 50-year low, employers are struggling to fill the gaps.

However, this still doesn’t solve the problem of too many migrants or asylum seekers pouring into a particular country, when they might be needed and more welcome at other nations.

In past generations, New York’s Ellis Island was the main immigration portal for America, not today’s chaotic Mexican border. The idea of leapfrogging any number of countries to get the US or the UK wasn’t the norm as it seems today. Asylum seekers are supposed to seek refuge is the first safe nation that will have them. It has become obvious that many so-called asylum seekers are really just economic migrants seeking a better life in a particular country.

Order needs to be restored from this international chaos because mass migration of people will only increase as the world population increases and natural resources decrease.

One idea is for the United Nations to create immigration centers around the world where migrants, both economic and asylum seekers, would be gathered together in temporary refuges until they could be placed in countries that wanted or needed them. This hopefully would curtail having only a select few destinations where most migrants attempt to enter.

These centers would operate similarly to employment agencies, offering immigrants placement in countries where they can earn a living and have a safe haven. Yet this is only one idea. It doesn’t tackle the root causes of migration….climate-related drought, famine, and poverty; as well as lawless gang-controlled countries where innocent people are forced to seek better and safer lives elsewhere.

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                          WORLD POPULATION DENSITIES

Rank

Country

Density per sq. kilometer

2022 Population

Area

1Macau20,012695,16830 km²
2Monaco19,49736,4692 km²
3Singapore7,6925,975,689710 km²
4Hong Kong7,0607,488,8651,104 km²
5Gibraltar3,36932,6496 km²
6Bahrain2,2411,472,233765 km²
7Maldives1,812523,787300 km²
8Malta1,615533,286316 km²
9Bangladesh1,278171,186,372147,570 km²
10Sint Maarten1,26044,17534 km²
11Bermuda1,18364,18454 km²
12Palestine8185,250,0726,220 km²
13Saint Martin78531,79153 km²
14Barbados669281,635430 km²
15Lebanon6625,489,73910,452 km²
16Mauritius6241,299,4692,040 km²
17Aruba596106,445180 km²
18San Marino56733,66061 km²
19Nauru54412,66821 km²
20Rwanda53813,776,69826,338 km²
21South Korea53151,815,810100,210 km²
22Netherlands52117,564,01441,850 km²
23Burundi47712,889,57627,834 km²
24Comoros477836,7741,862 km²
25India4691,417,173,1733,287,590 km²
26Israel4339,038,30920,770 km²
27Haiti41911,584,99627,750 km²
28Tuvalu39811,31226 km²
29Belgium38311,655,93030,528 km²
30Philippines372115,559,009342,353 km²
31Puerto Rico3683,252,4078,870 km²
32Sri Lanka35821,832,14365,610 km²
33Japan345123,951,692377,930 km²
34Curacao343191,163444 km²
35Grenada332125,438344 km²
36Marshall Islands33141,569181 km²
37Vietnam31798,186,856331,212 km²
38El Salvador3156,336,39221,041 km²
39Guam315171,774549 km²
40Saint Lucia302179,857616 km²
41Pakistan292235,824,862881,912 km²
42Saint Vincent and the Grenadines285103,948389 km²
43United Kingdom27867,508,936242,900 km²
44Cayman Islands27768,706264 km²
45American Samoa27644,273199 km²
46Jamaica2752,827,37710,991 km²
47Trinidad and Tobago2741,531,0445,130 km²
48Luxembourg263647,5992,586 km²
49Qatar2552,695,12211,586 km²
50Gambia2462,705,99210,689 km²
51Kuwait2434,268,87317,818 km²
52Liechtenstein23939,327160 km²
53Germany23883,369,843357,114 km²
54Uganda23547,249,585241,550 km²
55Sao Tome and Principe233227,380964 km²
56Nigeria232218,541,212923,768 km²
57Dominican Republic22711,228,82148,671 km²
58Antigua and Barbuda22493,763442 km²
59Switzerland2208,740,47241,284 km²
60Seychelles216107,118452 km²
61North Korea21526,069,416120,538 km²
62Malawi20820,405,317118,484 km²
63Nepal20730,547,580147,181 km²
64Saint Kitts and Nevis20647,657261 km²
65British Virgin Islands20331,305151 km²
66Italy19859,037,474301,336 km²
67Micronesia166114,164702 km²
68Andorra16579,824468 km²
69Guatemala16017,843,908108,889 km²
70Togo1568,848,69956,785 km²
71China1501,425,887,3379,706,961 km²
72Kiribati150131,232811 km²
73Isle of Man15084,519572 km²
74Tonga148106,858747 km²
75Indonesia147275,501,3391,904,569 km²
76Denmark1465,882,26143,094 km²
77United Arab Emirates1419,441,12983,600 km²
78Ghana13933,475,870238,533 km²
79Czech Republic13910,493,98678,865 km²
80Thailand13771,697,030513,120 km²
81Cyprus1321,251,4889,251 km²
82Northern Mariana Islands12649,551464 km²
83France12364,626,628551,695 km²
84Poland12339,857,145312,679 km²
85Azerbaijan12310,358,07486,600 km²
86Jordan11611,285,86989,342 km²
87Sierra Leone1138,605,71871,740 km²
88Slovakia1135,643,45349,037 km²
89Portugal11210,270,86592,090 km²
90Turkey11085,341,241783,562 km²
91Benin11013,352,864112,622 km²
92Cuba10911,212,191109,884 km²
93Austria1098,939,61783,871 km²
94Hungary1069,967,30893,028 km²
95Egypt105110,990,1031,002,450 km²
96Slovenia1052,119,84420,273 km²
97Ethiopia104123,379,9241,104,300 km²
98Armenia1042,780,46929,743 km²
99Albania1032,842,32128,748 km²
100Costa Rica1015,180,82951,100 km²
101Malaysia10033,938,221330,803 km²
102Syria10022,125,249185,180 km²
103Kenya9754,027,487580,367 km²
104Cambodia9616,767,842181,035 km²
105Dominica9672,737751 km²
106Spain9547,558,630505,992 km²
107Iraq9544,496,122438,317 km²
108Honduras9010,432,860112,492 km²
109Moldova903,272,99633,846 km²
110Timor Leste901,341,29614,874 km²
111Senegal8917,316,449196,722 km²
112Ivory Coast8528,160,542322,463 km²
113Myanmar8454,179,306676,578 km²
114Morocco8437,457,971446,550 km²
115Brunei84449,0025,765 km²
116Romania8319,659,267238,391 km²
117Greece8310,384,971131,990 km²
118North Macedonia822,093,59925,713 km²
119French Polynesia80306,2794,167 km²
120Uzbekistan7934,627,652447,400 km²
121Burkina Faso7922,673,762272,967 km²
122Serbia787,221,36588,361 km²
123Tunisia7712,356,117163,610 km²
124Ukraine7639,701,739603,500 km²
125Ireland735,023,10970,273 km²
126Ecuador7218,001,000276,841 km²
127Guinea Bissau722,105,56636,125 km²
128Lesotho712,305,82530,355 km²
129Samoa71222,3822,842 km²
130Tajikistan709,952,787143,100 km²
131Tanzania6965,497,748945,087 km²
132Croatia694,030,35856,594 km²
133Eswatini681,201,67017,364 km²
134Mexico67127,504,1251,964,375 km²
135Georgia653,744,38569,700 km²
136Bulgaria646,781,953110,879 km²
137Bosnia and Herzegovina643,233,52651,209 km²
138Afghanistan6141,128,771652,230 km²
139Panama594,408,58175,417 km²
140Yemen5833,696,614527,968 km²
141Cameroon5827,914,536475,442 km²
142Nicaragua566,948,392130,373 km²
143Guinea5513,859,341245,857 km²
144Liberia545,302,681111,369 km²
145Iran5288,550,5701,648,195 km²
146Equatorial Guinea521,674,90828,051 km²
147South Africa4959,893,8851,221,037 km²
148Madagascar4929,611,714587,041 km²
149Fiji49929,76618,272 km²
150Colombia4651,874,0241,141,748 km²
151Belarus469,534,954207,600 km²
152Montenegro46627,08213,812 km²
153Lithuania452,750,05565,300 km²
154Djibouti431,120,84923,200 km²
155DR Congo4199,010,2122,344,858 km²
156Mozambique4132,969,518801,590 km²
157Turks and Caicos Islands4145,703948 km²
158Bahamas40409,98413,943 km²
159Palau4018,055459 km²
160Zimbabwe3916,320,537390,757 km²
161United States36338,289,8579,372,610 km²
162Eritrea363,684,032117,600 km²
163Kyrgyzstan356,630,623199,951 km²
164Faroe Islands3553,0901,393 km²
165Venezuela3328,301,696916,445 km²
166Laos327,529,475236,800 km²
167Estonia311,326,06245,227 km²
168Latvia301,850,65164,559 km²
169Angola2735,588,9871,246,700 km²
170Brazil26215,313,4988,515,767 km²
171Peru2634,049,5881,285,216 km²
172Chile2619,603,733756,102 km²
173Somalia2617,597,511637,657 km²
174Sweden2610,549,347450,295 km²
175Vanuatu26326,74012,189 km²
176Zambia2520,017,675752,612 km²
177Solomon Islands25724,27328,896 km²
178Sudan2446,874,2041,886,068 km²
179Niger2026,207,9771,267,000 km²
180Papua New Guinea2010,142,619462,840 km²
181Uruguay203,422,794181,034 km²
182Bhutan20782,45538,394 km²
183Algeria1944,903,2252,381,741 km²
184New Zealand195,185,288270,467 km²
185South Sudan1810,913,164619,745 km²
186Paraguay186,780,744406,752 km²
187Finland185,540,745338,424 km²
188Belize18405,27222,966 km²
189Argentina1745,510,3182,780,400 km²
190Mali1722,593,5901,240,192 km²
191Republic of the Congo175,970,424342,000 km²
192Oman174,576,298309,500 km²
193Saudi Arabia1636,408,8202,149,690 km²
194Norway155,434,319323,802 km²
195New Caledonia15289,95018,575 km²
196Chad1317,723,3151,284,000 km²
197Turkmenistan136,430,770488,100 km²
198Bolivia1112,224,1101,098,581 km²
199Russia9144,713,31417,098,242 km²
200Gabon92,388,992267,668 km²
201Central African Republic85,579,144622,984 km²
202Kazakhstan719,397,9982,724,900 km²
203Mauritania54,736,1391,030,700 km²
204Canada438,454,3279,984,670 km²
205Libya46,812,3411,759,540 km²
206Botswana42,630,296582,000 km²
207Guyana4808,726214,969 km²
208Suriname4618,040163,820 km²
209Iceland4372,899103,000 km²
210Australia326,177,4137,692,024 km²
211Namibia32,567,012825,615 km²
212Mongolia23,398,3661,564,110 km²
213Greenland56,4662,166,086 km²

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