Migration and entrepreneurs

”Heeey, let’s see who we got here….” the hip-hop performer on the Californian hot spot Venice Beach looks around ”Now, who do we got here…I like all people, no matter what color of the skin you have”. He takes another glance and starts moving around, pointing with energy at the crowd slowly gathering with some hesitation. ”White people”, he shakes a man’s hand ”Black people, just like myself. Ahhh, asian img_6526.JPGpeople…Welcome!” He throws a great smile at an Asian guy ”And Mexican people” looks around again and put out his hand for another handshake ”and Mexican, Mexican and Mexican again…many Mexicans” A smile, the crowd is giggling ”You’re all very welcome to my show!”

Mexican people holds California under its arms. And you find them everywhere; in the crowds on Venice, at construction sites, as nannies, cleaning hotels, running Mexican foodplaces, pruning treas at vineyards, emptying trashbins, cleaning pools, driving taxi. Mexican immigrants represent the largest immigration group in United States, according to statistics. For many the situation is difficult, especially for those who came over illegally somewhere along the 1,125 kilometer long boarder between the US and Mexico. Between 1990 and 2002, the legal population from Mexico roughly doubled, while the undocumented population grew by 165 percent. In 2006 more than 11,5 million Mexican immigrants resided in US. Most came to California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona. As long as Mexico has a high unemployment rate, people will continue to try their luck in the larger country in north.

The average Californian inhabitant pay the paycheck to her Mexican poolman with one hand, and with the other put up a warning finger as she talks with friends of what will happen if Mexicans continue to come to US in the same speed. And as they drive in cities and on streets with spanish-sounding names, probably more the heritage of the Spanish rule than the Mexican, they don’t take notice of the spanish-speaking people struggling on the highway side cleaning it. It’s one of those contradictions where in the mid eighteen hundreds, Mexican Governement for a short period of time ruled California and gave away land to the California Mexicans to settle. They lost their land fairly quickly and today, immigrating to the US in legal ways has become nearly impossible. Ilegally, people still try, even though it’s a life-threatening action. Most of the boarder is an unwelcoming desert, where you without water have no chance to survive. The American Governements solution to this problem and to stop the constant flow of people illegally climbing over, is to build an even stronger and higher fence along the boarder.

Mr McNulty from the Americans for the Arts said on a seminar earlier this spring (read here) that 40% of all small businesses in the US is formed by immigrants. In Sweden the figure is about the same. If a country would like to promote entrepreneurship, taking care of the multicultural society seems to be one way of making sure that new businesses will start. For a country with economic crisis, as America is in right now, new small businesses can be one way of creating new jobs and hope for the future. Immigrants have a key role in this. Mr McNulty was very clear on what he saw as necessary, and asked ”What blocks need to be removed in your society to welcome these people?” What blocks need to be removed? Not, as in the case of the American and Mexican boarderline, the building of new ones.

Read articles ”The Great Wall of America” in Time, June 30 2008, and ”A turning tide” and ”Living together” in The Economist, June 28-July 4 2008.

At Migration Information Source researchers, policy makers and journalists write on immigration trends in the world. Read ”Mexican Immigration to the US: latest estimates” and Mexican Immigrants in the US.

Also watch the movie ”Babel” directed by Alejandro Gonzáles Inárritu, which deals with this issue.

4 Responses to “Migration and entrepreneurs”

  1. [...] wrote a small note on this blog on the same issue in June this year. The perspective put forward by Mr McNulty from the American for the Arts is an [...]

  2. [...] arranged by Colombia College Chicago and Encatc. More to come about this. Read also this post of the Mexican–American [...]

  3. [...] Read related posts Wash one’s one dirty linen and Migration and entrepreneurs. [...]

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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