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Immigration and Integration Issues


Reflecting on the Summer School program, my major discovery is that refugees must receive equal treatment in line with human rights guidelines. Over time, immigrants in a new community develop a sense of belonging and solidarity that births a new kind of citizenship. Usually, one attains citizenship through exclusive rights, but with community and solidarity comes genuine citizenship. Many nations strive to curb the number of refugees by implementing unfair policies and the use of criminal law to limit humanitarian help for refugees. The perception that refugees contribute to unlawfulness is the misconception promoting the gap between citizens and refugees (Duarte, 2020). In an ideal nation, refugees require humane treatment, interaction, and communication with citizens to meet their human needs. Yet, many countries use criminal law to hinder healthy and peaceful interaction among citizens and migrants. Solidarity or community integration plays a crucial role in assimilating migrants and advocation of human rights for minority communities (Auslender, 2021). The advantages of solidarity for migrants are beneficial in resolving challenges faced by migrants globally. One of the main challenges for refugees is finding a stable home, not just housing in a foreign nation. Many refugees are subject to poor living conditions or expensive housing facilities. The gap in existing policies became more apparent with the Covid 19 pandemic, where the challenges of refugees became more intense. Research in migration needs to employ ethical considerations of the vulnerabilities and traumas of such fragile communities. This paper will discuss migration and integration issues, ethical concerns in the study of immigration, and self-reflection on solidarity and volunteering.

Understanding of Migration and Integration Issues

Individuals moving to other nations on a permanent or temporary basis must meet various qualifications to qualify for a visa. The purpose of migration determines one’s vias. There are specific guidelines and regulations for lawful migration into most nations. One earns the citizenship of another country by following exclusive stipulations by the state but risks losing citizenship in the future. Individuals who lack the means and do not meet set qualifications for legal migration are called illegal migrants. Regardless, migrants, whether legal or illegal, have basic human, transportation, economic, and social needs like all humans. Unfortunately, many state authorities neglect the human rights of illegal immigrants to reduce migration into their nations. The problem lies in the lack of clear guidelines and obligations toward asylum seekers at the global level and unfair policies (Duarte, 2020).

The perception that refugees bring terror and crimes is unfair and hinders community solidarity. Societal isolation hands salt to the injury for minority communities. The existing policies and guidelines position citizenship as a privilege. Therefore, citizenship, especially for migrants, is quickly taken away. The unfair policies are rooted in a misguided desire to make refugees suffer and protect borders. However, humanitarian acts such as the provision of basic needs, transport, and jobs for people considered illegal migrants are labeled criminal by states (Duarte, 2020). Humanitarians and solidarity organizations are shaken down to prevent the integration of these minority individuals into communities. Using criminal law to curb migration has damaging consequences, but nobody seems to pay attention to the real problem. Misusing criminal law for misguided reasons alters democracy, human rights, and social trust.

Auslender (2021) implies that integration in a society is the ability to accommodate, acknowledge and assimilate minority communities to participate in communal activities. Solidarity is a form of integration that calls for equal treatment of all human beings regardless of ethnic and political backgrounds. Solidarity refers to fair and respectful treatment of other human beings simply because they are human and not due to their political or national locations. Refugee solidarity relates to actions that advocate for the human rights of migrant communities (Duarte, 2020). There is a form of solidarity that results out of obligations as opposed to mutual benefit. For instance, Palestine migrants have an unconditional foundation of their solidarity. Yet, the humane duty to help an individual in need was made illegal in the US and many other nations. The criminalization of solidarity increases the gap between citizens and refugees. The criminalization of solidarity refers to efforts by a government to hinder the activities of solidarity organizations or humanitarians from helping asylum seekers.

Numerous humanitarians advocating for the rights of refugees face prosecution on charges of human smuggling. a humanitarian, Lisbeth Zoning, and her husband were prosecuted for offering help to a refugee in their home. Other cases of criminalization of solidarity resulting in prosecution have been seen in Denmark and French, among other areas (Duarte, 2020). In Europe, some policies hinder the fair treatment and rights of immigrants. For example, the UK has law enforcement policies that make it difficult to fight for the rights of refugees. Many nations are pursuing criminalizing refugees without legal documentation and the persecution of individuals supporting these communities. Many states fail to fulfill the obligation of protecting asylum seekers, in many cases leaving the responsibility to solidarity organizations and communities. On the contrary, solidarity organizations receive no support from authorities; instead, they face criminalization for their activities.

The pandemic illuminated the reality of immigration and integration. Immigrants in many nations criticize become more prone to mental illnesses, stigmatization and uncertainty due to the pandemic. The challenges of refugee communities have been immense, and the Covid 19 pandemic only intensified their troubles (Parker & Yardimci, 2021). The UK authority did not promptly respond to the crisis. The government response teams saw instances of denial, delay, and uncertainty.

Moreover, the minority felt the impact of the pandemic more than the minority in the US. On the other hand, numerous volunteer groups and response teams were addressing the needs of communities at the grassroots level during this time. The neighborhood response teams were more effective and prompter than the UK government. For instance, some of the minority communities were denied social service payments during this time when they needed it most. Asylum seekers were also subject to unrealistic sanctions, which made their life’s even more problematic. The increasing economic, social and political challenges for asylum seekers equally affected their mental health. Volunteers had a vital role in advocating for the local authorities’ fair treatment of asylum seekers. The volunteers also provided young asylum seekers with much-needed social support and company. The activism, collaboration, and support between migrants and other communities impacted community members’ relationships. The pandemic saw the partnership of individuals from diverse backgrounds, communities, and natives. Hence a sense of solidarity and loyalty in communities is a genuine kind of citizenship.

Unfortunately, some housing providers took advantage of some migrants during the pandemic through unnecessary sanctions (Parker & Yardimci, 2021). For example, some accommodations stipulated unrealistic time limits with sanctions when one extends past timelines. As noted during the seminar, a young woman was expected to go shopping thirty minutes away and return within an hour. Hence the migrants were forced to turn to unhealthy eating habits, which is detrimental to their health. Generally, the cost of living and accommodation for migrants was much higher during the pandemic. Governments should implement initiatives that ensure migrants have secure access to houses and livable communities (Auslender, 2021). Community integration and collaboration are critical drivers to security and support for migrants through affordable and conducive homes. One of the main challenges for migrant groups is finding a common meeting place. The Leverkusen model promotes migrant communities and organizes meeting places for the communities. The Leverkusen model supports affordable housing for refugees through private housing (Auslender, 2021).

Refugees require affordable housing with good living conditions. In many cases, refugees are subject to poor living conditions in campsites. Globally all migrants face challenges with human rights protections and poor living conditions (Auslender, 2021). Hence numerous movements and initiatives are fighting for better living conditions and humane treatment of refugees—the housing system, in some cases unconducive for human living with Germany considering refugee housing initiatives. The nation began looking into private shelters for refugees through integration and collaboration. The state took a central role in integration by encouraging cooperation between institutions, humanitarians, businesses, and other groups. Collaboration among all community members and the state promotes interactions between migrants and residents.

Research ethics in migration

Displaced people are subject to unequal distribution of resources and systematic biases due to the underrepresentation of the minority. Migrants face numerous traumas that drive them to seek refuge in other regions (Fox, Baker, Charitonos, Jack & Moser‐Mercer, 2020). Therefore, the mental health and social standing of such people are fragile. Migration research should have its foundation in in-depth commitments and understanding of social justice by giving the minority a platform to voice their views. Ethical guidelines in studying fragile contexts promote reducing or eliminating injustices in system biases. Researchers are responsible for creating a platform conducive for the vulnerable to participate in the research. Researchers should be aware of the ethical considerations that arise from the experiences of minority communities. Ethical research includes a review of participants’ needs, learning from the study, and following institutional guidelines for such research. Ethical considerations when researching a vulnerable population are essential. Research in fragile contexts should ensure that the participants’ voices are accurately presented through their studies.

First, a researcher should practice consequential thinking in research of fragile topics. Consequently, thinking is an act of finding a balance between the pros and cons of research. Comparing the pros to the cons enables researchers to determine whether an action is right or wrong (Fox, Baker, Charitonos, Jack & Moser‐Mercer, 2020). When studying displaced individuals’ researchers should be guided by a mission of causing no harm. The needs of respondents and views of right and wrong are also considered. Migration research also requires ecological thinking. Researchers are guided by equality and collaboration. Ecological thinking appreciates the power of partnerships within a system, including a research field. The use of force by one party affects the agendas and behaviors of the other party.

Fox, Baker, Charitonos, Jack & Moser‐Mercer (2020) note that researchers need to build trust and relationships with their study population. Migrants require self-determination and the ability to decide how and when they participate in research. Researchers also consider participants’ vulnerability in participation and consent during analysis. The fourth component of ethics in migration research is deontological thinking. This ethical guideline calls upon researchers to identify priorities in their study. Guidelines for migration research include intensive academic research, relevance to enhancing policy development, autonomy, and capacity building. Researchers put aside their biases and prioritize the needs of participants in a fragile context as a way of giving back to the communities and influencing community change (Fox, Baker, Charitonos, Jack & Moser‐Mercer, 2020). Moreover, researchers should acknowledge their privilege and the power imbalance it may cause in research. Power imbalance results from the researcher’s lack of experience as vulnerable persons and their well-off backgrounds.

Self-Reflection on Solidarity and Volunteering

Humanitarians and solidarity groups heed human rights and religious calls to show kindness and hospitality to all. I realized from the Summer School program that many nations disregard human rights regulations when refugees are concerned. Ironically, governments criminalize simple acts of kindness to make the living situations of migrants even more challenging to protect nations against excess migrants; many authorities have lost sight of the importance of treating all human beings with dignity. The migration of individuals from one country to another is on the rise. Despite the increasing number of migrants in many nations, the resources and facilities to accommodate this vulnerable community remain scarce. The scarcity of resources and facilities for these communities can be attributed to the perception that refugees are problematic to a nation. Unlike governments, humanitarians meet strangers with open hands and ensure they have access to basic human needs. I believe that all humans have a right to international human rights. Therefore, like solidarity groups, state authorities must prioritize these international standards instead of selfish national goals.

I gather that one leave’s behind native land due to unbearable circumstances, which is especially true for illegal migrants. In most cases, migration occurs due to necessity as opposed to choice. Refugees sometimes settle in poor neighborhoods with poor accommodation, unemployment, and a lack of social services and amenities. The effect of living in such poor conditions is detrimental to one’s mental health and physical health. On the other hand, living near local communities eliminates the poor living conditions for vulnerable communities. Interactions with local citizens reduce the integration challenges for migrants. State authorities should have ethical considerations of the experiences and instabilities that force people to seek refuge in foreign regions. When the state lacks adequate resources to support immigrants, it should implement policies that support humanitarian help for these vulnerable communities.

Migration results from natural calamities or political instabilities, among other factors. Anyone is at risk of being a migrant due to the unpredictable nature and intensity of natural disasters and fluctuations. Therefore, nations should ensure they treat foreigners how they desire their citizens to be treated in the face of a similar calamity. The seminar raised the argument that solidarity should be a transactional process. Solidarity in refugee communities can be viewed as unconditional acts of kindness. The recipients get support while providing nothing in return. Nevertheless, I believe that the concept of transaction needs to be integrated into solidarity.

In contrast, unconditional humanitarian acts are genuine and create a sense of community with love and trust among individuals. The view that one day I may require help from their neighbor in need should drive humanitarian assistance. Similarly, nations need to embrace the concept of uncertainty that arises with changing climates and times, exposing anyone to unknown natural calamities or instabilities. All state authorities should ensure their citizens can get help from other nations in times of need by providing they are hospitable to foreigners in their countries.

Reflecting on the Summer School Seminar, genuine solidarity is the key to eliminating systematic biases in any nation. The challenges of a minority or vulnerable communities are quickly resolved through solidarity and collaboration among all community members. There is a connection between solidarity, cooperation, and the resolution of challenges in a community. When selfish interests do not drive people, their commitment to pursuing equality for all will be profound. For example, humanitarians strive for the rights of migrants and risk conviction due to genuine solidarity. Activists, such as Olive Farmer 2017, have been arrested for providing migrants with basic human needs. Diverse communities in a common region require interactions that promote cohesive living. For instance, Germany encourages interculturalism between locals and refugees through various measures at the local and national levels.

Moreover, in Germany, accommodations through informal communication and referrals from connections instead of finding accommodation through advertisements. The housing market in Germany necessities interactions between refugees and locals (Auslender, 2021). The locals interact with migrants and enable them to acquire residences. The discussion by Auslender made me realize the significance of community integration.

In conclusion, when communities create collaborations between humanitarians, authorities, locals, and foreigners, the challenges of migrants reduce. The collaboration among community members gives refugees a voice to participate in decision-making about issues that affect them, such as accommodation problems. For refugees to thrive in a new community, they need the support of the locals. For example, the city plaza in Athens was transformed into a shelter by local activists for refugees. Effective foreigner integration requires collaboration among different community bodies, from national to local authorities. The Leverkusen Model resolves accommodation problems for migrants through the cooperation of three bodies. Activism and solidarity allow migrants to commence new chapters in life without social isolation or limitations. Therefore, I believe that a better future for immigrants is possible through collaboration among all stakeholders at the local and national levels.


Auslender, E. (2021). Multi-level Governance in Refugee Housing and Integration Policy: A Model of Best Practice in Leverkusen. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 1-22.

Duarte, M. (2020). The ethical consequences of criminalizing solidarity in the EU. Theoria, 86(1), 28-53.

Fox, A., Baker, S., Charitonos, K., Jack, V., & Moser‐Mercer, B. (2020). Ethics‐in‐practice in fragile contexts: Research in education for displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. British Educational Research Journal, 46(4), 829-847.

Parker, S. F., & Yardimci, O. (2021, June). Building Community under Conditions of Fractured Citizenship: The Covid-19 Crisis and the Politics of Hope in East London. In Centre for Citizenship Studies Wayne State Univ/Univ of Edinburgh. York.


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