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7 Billion Humans | Immigration

Immigration: In this urbanized world where rich, poor, young and old from all cultures and with different customs and speaking different languages are packed more and more tightly together in places as unlikely as Cleveland, it may be hard to see how much these diverse groups actually need each other—but they do. As the empty pockets in Sub-Saharan Africa produce a huge population of young workers, the empty nests in Japan are building robots to take care of their elderly because they can’t import enough Filipinos.  The obvious solution is immigration. The empty pockets need good educations and salaries and the empty nests need workers to take care of them.  Like a rising tide—which you can watch from a lawn …

7 Billion Humans | Immigration

Immigration: In this urbanized world where rich, poor, young and old from all cultures and with different customs and speaking different languages are packed more and more tightly together in places as unlikely as Cleveland, it may be hard to see how much these diverse groups actually need each other—but they do. As the empty pockets in Sub-Saharan Africa produce a huge population of young workers, the empty nests in Japan are building robots to take care of their elderly because they can’t import enough Filipinos.  The obvious solution is immigration. The empty pockets need good educations and salaries and the empty nests need workers to take care of them.  Like a rising tide—which you can watch from a lawn chair, willing it to stop, but it will rise anyway—immigration is an economic necessity that cannot be stopped. As the world’s population reaches 7 billion in 2011, 8 billion in 2025, and 9 billion in 2043, the repercussions for all of us will depend on how people move around our planet and the decisions they make as they go. Add to this the schizophrenic immigration laws in places like Russia where they push former Soviet Bloc workers out with one hand and with the other hand create programs that have huge incentives for the same workers to come in to their under-populated country. This schizophrenia just ends up hurting the tired, poor, huddled masses, and ultimately all of us.

According to the UN, the world’s population reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011. Two hundred years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet. In the past fifty years alone, the world’s population has more than doubled. When I started photographing the “7 Billion” story for National Geographic Magazine, I thought I would be doing a story about carrying capacity—basically that there are not enough resources and there are too many people and we are going to be screwed in a Malthusian way.  Then I read a book called “How Many People Can the World Support,” by Joel Cohen which is all about all the predictions for the planet’s carrying capacity over the last couple hundred years and how each prediction was wrong.  Bottom line is, you can’t really talk about how many people the planet can support when things like fertilizer keep being invented, but you can talk forever about population shift. With the realization that this story was about population shift and how that affects the planet, we came up with four subcategories within which to concentrate the field photography: Urbanization, Immigration, Empty Pockets (the very fertile poor), and Empty Nests (the depopulation of aging, rich countries). These four concepts are interrelated. This gallery is the immigration portion of this story.

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A Fun Ti Carnival Ethnic Restaurant | Beijing, China
The dancers, wait staff, and performers here are all migrant workers from Xinjiang Province in Northwest China. Migrant workers in China are mostly people from impoverished regions who go to more urban and prosperous coastal regions in search of work. According to Chinese government statistics, the current number of migrant workers in China is estimated at 120 million (approximately 9% of the population). China has been experiencing the largest mass migration in history. An estimated 230 million Chinese (2010), roughly two-thirds the population of the U.S., have left the countryside and migrated to the cities in recent years. About 13 million more join them every year—an expected 250 million by 2012, and 300 to perhaps 400 million by 2025. Many are farmers and farm workers made obsolete by modern farming practices and factory workers who have been laid off from inefficient state-run factories.
Men often get construction jobs while women work in cheap-labor factories. So many migrants leave their homes looking for work they overburden the rail system. In the Hunan province, fifty two people were trampled to death in the late 1990s when 10,000 migrants were herded onto a freight train. To stem the flow of migrants, officials in Hunan and Sichuan have placed restrictions on the use of trains and buses by rural people. In some cities, the migrants almost outnumber the residents. One young girl told National Geographic, “All the young people leave our village. I’m not going back. Many can’t even afford a bus ticket and hitchhike to Beijing.” Overall, the Chinese government has tacitly supported migration as means of transforming China from a rural-based economy to an urban-based one.
Largest Migration in Human History From Rural to China’s Cities 
Huaxi Village (Farmer’s Village) is emblematic of the beginning of the massive urbanization of China and of the largest human migration in history from the rural areas of China into the cities. When I first visited China during the Tiananmen Square uprising it was difficult for people born in one city to move to another. If your identity papers said you belonged to Xian you had to stay in Xian even though you might want to move to one of Deng’s economic zones like Guangzhou to a have a higher paying job. We ran the checkpoints where they examined your identity papers during this time because the police did not have guns or radios. I remember police jumping up and down on their little daises in the middle of the road—literally hopping mad—but there was nothing they could do but be angry as we sped away. Not that many nationals had cars during that time, so they could stop them and check their identity papers and turn them away from a better life. When those checkpoints went away and there was free movement in China, 1.3 billion people finally had a chance to follow their dreams and moved to the cities. The Chinese mass migration into cities is a large part of why we are now an urban species. Fifty one percent of us live in urban areas throughout the world. 
In Huaxi Village they didn’t have to migrate, they changed their model rural farm into a modern industrial city. They started factories, but initially worked in them secretly (no windows). When government officials came around, all the workers ran out into the fields and pretended to be peasants. They became the first and most successful capitalist exploitation of the collective. There have been 30,000 official government visits to this place to see how it is run every year. There are not many model farms left in China, and none with this wealth. This model farm runs about 80 factories, including garment factories and steel mills. Huaxi Village is touted by the current government as the most successful transition from farm to modern industrial city.
Federal Immigration Service Raid Squatter Area | Moscow, Russia
Immigration officials check documents of Uzbek construction workers being deported in immigration raid – Moscow, Russia.
Federal immigration service conducts raids to round up illegal Uzbek construction workers.  Most immigrants come to work in construction and other menial jobs and the financial crisis has taken many of the construction jobs away leaving migrants destitute in MANY of the cities I’ve been working in.
1,800,000 babies were born in Russia in 2009—27,000 more than deaths that year—so Russia is basically at the replacement rate. But there are not as many children being born so the state has instituted a number of policies including free housing for immigrants and a one time payment of over $10,000 for a woman to have either the second, third, or fourth baby.
Federal Immigration Service Raid Squatter Area | Moscow, Russia
Immigration officials check documents of Uzbek construction workers being deported in immigration raid – Moscow, Russia.
Federal immigration service conducts raids to round up illegal Uzbek construction workers.  Most immigrants come to work in construction and other menial jobs and the financial crisis has taken many of the construction jobs away leaving migrants destitute in MANY of the cities I’ve been working in.
1,800,000 babies were born in Russia in 2009—27,000 more than deaths that year—so Russia is basically at the replacement rate. But there are not as many children being born so the state has instituted a number of policies including free housing for immigrants and a one time payment of over $10,000 for a woman to have either the second, third, or fourth baby.
Federal Immigration Service Raid Squatter Area | Moscow, Russia
Immigration officials check documents of Uzbek construction workers being deported in immigration raid – Moscow, Russia.
Federal immigration service conducts raids to round up illegal Uzbek construction workers.  Most immigrants come to work in construction and other menial jobs and the financial crisis has taken many of the construction jobs away leaving migrants destitute in MANY of the cities I’ve been working in.
1,800,000 babies were born in Russia in 2009—27,000 more than deaths that year—so Russia is basically at the replacement rate. But there are not as many children being born so the state has instituted a number of policies including free housing for immigrants and a one time payment of over $10,000 for a woman to have either the second, third, or fourth baby.
Federal Immigration Service Raid Squatter Area | Moscow, Russia
Immigration officials check documents of Uzbek construction workers being deported in immigration raid – Moscow, Russia.
Federal immigration service conducts raids to round up illegal Uzbek construction workers.  Most immigrants come to work in construction and other menial jobs and the financial crisis has taken many of the construction jobs away leaving migrants destitute in MANY of the cities I’ve been working in.
1,800,000 babies were born in Russia in 2009—27,000 more than deaths that year—so Russia is basically at the replacement rate. But there are not as many children being born so the state has instituted a number of policies including free housing for immigrants and a one time payment of over $10,000 for a woman to have either the second, third, or fourth baby.
Federal Immigration Service Raid | Moscow, Russia
Woman watches as Russian immigration officials take illegal Uzbek construction workers out of her squatter apartment and the one next door for deportation.
Federal immigration service conducts raids to round up illegal Uzbek construction workers.  Most immigrants come to work in construction and other menial jobs and the financial crisis has taken many of the construction jobs away leaving migrants destitute in MANY of the cities I’ve been working in.
1,800,000 babies were born in Russia in 2009—27,000 more than deaths that year—so Russia is basically at the replacement rate. But there are not as many children being born so the state has instituted a number of policies including free housing for immigrants and a one time payment of over $10,000 for a woman to have either the second, third, or fourth baby.
Spanish World Immigrants on Subway | Barcelona, Spain
Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration. Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.
This sudden and ongoing inflow of immigrants, particularly those arriving clandestinely by sea, has caused some social tensions. Spain currently has the second highest immigration rates within the EU, just after Cyprus, and the second highest absolute net migration in the World (after the U.S.). This can be explained by a number of reasons including its geographical position, the porosity of its borders, the large size of its underground economy, and the strength of the agricultural and construction sectors which demand more low cost labor than can be offered by the national workforce. 
 Indian Immigrants in Ramblas Catalunya | Barcelona, Spain
 Indians in Spain celebrate Vaisakhi, an ancient North Indian harvest festival, which includes the passing out of huge amounts of food. A procession began on Ramblas de Catalunya, a major street in Barcelona, and continued along Ramblas Raval, and ended at the Plaza St. Augustine.
Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration. Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.
Indian Immigrants, Ramblas Catalunya | Barcelona, Spain
Indians in Spain celebrate Vaisakhi, an ancient North Indian harvest festival, which includes the passing out of huge amounts of food. A procession began on Ramblas de Catalunya, a major street in Barcelona, and continued along Ramblas Raval, and ended at the Plaza St. Augustine. 
These Sikhs from Punjab hauled shopping cart after shopping cart full of fresh fruit and handed it out to the general public. Booming Spain was Europe’s largest absorber of migrants from 2002 to 2007, with its immigrant population more than doubling as 2.5 million people arrived.
Immigrant Cook Watches Turk | Armenian Demonstration
An immigrant cook watches a demonstration out his window on Istiklal Street in Istanbul. The demonstrators are about three hundred Turkish intellectuals who say the 24th of April should be commemorated for Armenians and Turks alike for Armenian claims of genocide. Armenians are only one of many groups that come into Turkey’s spinning top immigration system. 250,000 foreigners seek a better life by moving through Turkey, but few want to stay. According to a UN refugee agency lawyer in Istanbul, “But if you are Muslim you tend to stay longer.”
Phoenix Naturalization Ceremony | USA
Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behavior. As of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined.
Phoenix Naturalization Ceremony | USA
Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behavior. As of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined.
Sudden Inflow of Immigrants | Social Tension | Spain 
In the Ramblas de Catalunya neighborhood, a father takes his son on his roll-aboard to the bus. Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.
Georgia Dukhobors Immigrant Village | Outside Moscow
The Dukhobors left Russia in 1841 for religious freedom and settled in the Georgia Caucassian mountains (near Svaneti).  Seventy two families returned en masse as part of Russia’s former Soviet resident resettlement program put in place to foster immigration to Russia.  There are fifty three Dukhobor families left in Georgia and they plan to come as well. Everyone gets a house (space granted according to number of family members), a large piece of land for a kitchen garden, medical care, other benefits, FOUR paid vacations to Russian resorts, grants to develop small businesses, and they don’t have to pay any utilities for two years. They say they got tired of their kids getting drafted into the Georgian army and having to shoot at Russians. They still only speak Russian and when Georgia was Soviet the signs were both in Russian and Georgian. Now everything is Georgian and they don’t want to learn a new language.
Iraqi Families Bags Packed for 5 years | Istanbul, Turkey
Not bothering to unpack, an Iraqi family displaced by war awaits orders to move from temporary housing in Istanbul to a “satellite city” designated for refugees and asylum seekers while authorities consider their resettlement applications. Many of the world’s 11 million refugees and asylum seekers—persons uprooted by conflict or persecution—live in a similar limbo, often unable to gain legal status in a new home country.
The United States killed this family’s only son in the March, 2006 bombing of Baghdad.  They tried to get out of Iraq the next day and swear they will never return—the memory of their son being killed right in front of them is just too much.  Also killed in the bombing were four people next door to them, a brother-in-law, and a number of cousins.  The children still have minor scars.  They spent 2006 through 2009 in northern Iraq Kurd territory trying to get refugee status to get into Turkey.  They were processed at the Kumkapi Refugee Center in 2009 and their passports were kept in return for Turkish identity papers and the promise that they would not leave Istanbul.  The UN refugee agency got them medical and school status. The father says they like Turkey and he would even consider the fake marriage that many Muslim foreigners do but even that would take them five years.  They keep their bags packed with all their possessions because they will leave soon for a Turkish refugee camp.  All the possessions you see in their house are donations, which they will leave behind, only taking their already packed suitcases.  They will have less freedom at the refugee camp, but it is a big mystery to them.  They figure they will be in the camp for a year.  They are free on the streets now because Turkey is kind to immigrants even though they don’t really accept them.  The Turkish government is allowing the kids to finish school this year before forcing the family into a refugee camp.  They think they have a good chance to get into the U.S. (ironically) because of sympathy for what the USA did to their child.
Immigrant Nannies | Istanbul, Turkey
There are multiple families with four immigrant nannies/housecleaners at this birthday party. One is from Turkmenistan the other three are from Uzbekistan. Many domestic workers come illegally or are smuggled in to make money to support their own children and families back home. Some families pay to bring their favorite workers back after they have been deported. Turkey is primarily affected by internal migration.  Istanbul’s population was two million thirty years ago and is now twelve million.
Fly Zone Night Club | Kampala, Uganda
Planes from Entebbe Airport fly over this club, hence the name.  Club scenes are always full of young people from all over the Albertine Rift. Uganda does not really have an immigration policy and has porous borders with many conflict zones. Uganda Internal Affairs State Minister James Baba said plans are under way for finding some possible help from the International Organizational for Migration on how to formulate a comprehensive National Migration Policy for Uganda. Uganda has been without proper immigration policy but rather a migration Act.
Association for Senegalese Street Salesmen | Barcelona, Spain
Mamadu runs an association for Senegalese street sellers and tries to deal with complex issues of them making a living during the three-year wait to become legal.  He arranged for us to visit this home where about ten illegal workers live.  They sell illegal Gucci bags on the street and do whatever else they can to make a living.  It is three years for Spanish speakers (Latin American) to get working papers, but often it takes longer for Africans or Indians or Pakistanis.
Indian Immigrant Children, Ramblas Catalunya | Barcelona, Spain
These are Sikhs from Punjab who celebrate Vaisakhi, an ancient North Indian harvest festival, which includes the passing out of huge amounts of food. A procession began on Ramblas de Catalunya, a major street in Barcelona, and continued along Ramblas Raval, and ended at the Plaza St. Augustine.
Accused Terrorist’s Family | Social Tensions | Barcelona, Spain
Social tensions in Spain make it easy for immigrants to end up in jail because they are loosely associated with other immigrants the Spanish government construes as bad guys. This is an accused terrorist’s home in Raval neighborhood where his family still lives, close to Rambla de Raval.  The wife and four daughters of one of the 11 of Raval, accused of plotting a subway bombing, are left to fend for themselves. The brother of the accused has moved in with the family to take care of them while the father is in jail. He borrowed money from friends to start a fruit stand and works from about 7am to 10pm.  There is a three-year wait to get working papers in Spain and immigrants have to scramble to support themselves in the interim. Immigration issues are huge in Spain.  In Barcelona there are anti-immigrant banners hanging from balconies in Barrio Digne that are basically against all immigrants coming into Catalunya. The capture of the 11 of Raval was a major arrest in Spain and the accused have been held for two years in a prison for terrorists without being charged or going to trial. What actually happened is unclear, but there have been huge rallies held by those who believe the men are innocent.
Immigrant Health Care Workers Help Elderly | Milan, Italy
Pio Albergo Trivulzio is the biggest and oldest nursing home facility in Italy. P.A.T. also runs a day hospital for folks hwo want to stay in their own homes. Some hire workers from the Philippines or the Dominican Republic to take care of their elderly family members in the facility.  Yanil Suardi from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is hired to take care of Zeffirina Catanio in the facility. Italy became a country of mass emigration soon after national reunification in the late 19th century. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year. I photographed villages in Italy where they are paying couples $10,000 to come live in their village, and then they pay them even more if they have a child to send to their depopulated schools. At the start of 2010 there were 4,279,000 foreign nationals resident in Italy and registered with the authorities. This amounted to 7.1% of the country’s population. These figures include more than half a million children born in Italy to foreign nationals. The numbers exclude illegal immigrants, the so-called clandestine whose numbers are difficult to determine.
Immigrants From Former Spanish Empire arrive in Barcelona
Over 920,000 immigrants arrived in Spain during 2007, on top of the 802,971 new arrivals in 2006, 682,711 new arrivals in 2005, and 645,844 new arrivals in 2004.Immigrants from countries belonging to the former Spanish Empire, mainly Central and South America, plus Asia, the Philippines, and Africa (Equatorial and Western Sahara), can obtain Spanish nationality after legal and continuous residence of 2 years in Spain, after which naturalized citizens are no longer counted as immigrants.
Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration. Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.
Spanish World Immigrants in Subway | Barcelona
Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration. Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level.
This sudden and ongoing inflow of immigrants, particularly those arriving clandestinely by sea, has caused some social tensions. Spain currently has the second highest immigration rates within the EU, just after Cyprus, and the second highest absolute net migration in the World (after the U.S.). This can be explained by a number of reasons including its geographical position, the porosity of its borders, the large size of its underground economy, and the strength of the agricultural and construction sectors which demand more low cost labor than can be offered by the national workforce.
China’s Masses of Migrant Workers | Beijing
Migrant workers in China are mostly people from impoverished regions who go to more urban and prosperous coastal regions in search of work. According to Chinese government statistics, the current number of migrant workers in China is estimated at 120 million (approximately 9% of the population). China is now experiencing the largest mass migration of people from the countryside to the city in history. An estimated 230 million Chinese, roughly equal to two-thirds the population of the U.S., have left the countryside and migrated to the cities in recent years. About 13 million more join them every year. The number is expected to reach 250 million by 2012, to surpass 300 million and maybe reach 400 million by 2025. 
Many are farmers and farm workers made obsolete by modern farming practices and factory workers who have been laid off from inefficient state-run factories. Men often get construction jobs while women work in cheap-labor factories. So many migrants leave their homes looking for work they overburden the rail system. In the Hunan province, 52 people were trampled to death in the late 1990s when 10,000 migrants were herded onto a freight train. To stem the flow of migrants, officials in Hunan and Sichuan have placed restrictions on the use of trains and buses by rural people. In some cities, the migrants almost outnumber the residents. One young girl told National Geographic, “All the young people leave our village. I’m not going back. Many can’t even afford a bus ticket and hitchhike to Beijing.” Overall, the Chinese government has tacitly supported migration as means of transforming China from a rural-based economy to an urban-based one. 
Mexico, Texas Border | Laredo Texas, USA
Pedestrians head north in the underground walkway of International Bridge #1 connecting Nuevo Laredo and Laredo, Texas. The bridge links two countries where cultural exchange is blurred and yet families are divided with members living on separate sides.
Every year five million people walk across the bridge at all hours of the day—to work, to buy personal needs and to bring back supplies to sell in Mexico. The interdependence is obvious as Mexicans, tired from a long day at work, lug shopping carts full of dog food and pampers, pass Americans in cowboy hats carrying piñatas after a stop at a pharmacy stocking up on cheaper drugs.
Rapid Indigenous Migration | Huastec Village, Mexico
Indigenous migration is particularly prevalent in this area of Mexico. The main reason for migration is climatological phenomena: droughts, frosts, and hurricanes.
At one time the Huastec population (indigenous Mexicans from the states of Hidalgo, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas, along the Pánuco River and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico) was estimated at one million, but today they number about 150,000.  The origin of indigenous migration is tied to that of the industrialization process followed in Mexico since the 1940s and to the quick transformation of an agriculturally based economy to an urban, industrialized economy.
This rapid change lowered the level of agricultural production in the indigenous areas, making them even more marginal, and favored investments in the northwestern part of the country where commercial agriculture began to rapidly develop (with concomitant needs of transport, credit, improved seed varieties, fertilizers, farm machinery, etc.).
The Northern regions immediately became poles of attraction for the indigenous labor force, especially after 1980. There was already a tradition of migration among some indigenous communities related to religious feasts, like Maya communities in Yucatan that periodically traveled to visit sacred sites. Among the Zapotecs and Mixtecs in Oaxaca, migration was linked traditionally to the commercial activities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This migration, initially characterized by the migration of a single male member of the household, was reinforced through time and slowly began to include brothers, sons, and kinfolk, until it became a mass migration that includes women as well.
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