The world’s immigrant population does not pose a significant risk to public health, and actually contributes to many of the health care in the countries to which they migrate, despite the fiercest claims of senior politicians and an increase in xenophobia, according to a study released Wednesday.
The report, the outcome of a two-year commission at University College London and Lancet, a medical journal, addresses an uptick in immigration policy around the world in recent years, especially under the administration of President Donald Trump and about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
A cohort of 20 experts analyzed nearly 1
00 studies and found that approximately 1 billion people moved or had moved in 2018, about a quarter of which cross-border borders. The number of refugees and persons fled from violence or natural disasters has risen this year, and the subject has become a politically hot point through Europe and the United States.
But these immigrant populations are beneficial to rich nations, the authors often found traveling for an education or working in roles that contribute to local economies. For example, in the United Kingdom, 37 percent of medical professionals work in another country.
“In too many countries, the problem of migration is used to share communities and deepen a populist agenda,” said Richard Horton, editor of Lancet, in a statement. “Migrants usually contribute more to the economy than they cost, and how we shape our health and well-being today will affect our societies over the next generations. There is no more pressing problem in global health.”
Ramon Espinosa / ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Donald Trump has regularly hid a migrating caravan trying to enter the United States and claims without evidence that the group contains criminals.
Around the world, right-wing politicians have moved to demonize a growing immigrant population, and the myths of such people have spread like a fires. Conservative commentators on Fox News have made false claims that refugees carry “diseases” that would infect people in the United States. Trump has regularly attacked members of a walking caravan as criminals without evidence.
“Populist discourse demonizes the same people who maintain economies and strengthen social protection and health care,” Ibrahim Abubakar, commissioner and professor at University College London, said in a statement. “The issue of whether immigrants are worthy of care on the basis of incorrect beliefs, support exclusively, which harm human health, our society and our economies.”
The study also found that immigrants in rich countries have lower mortality rates than the general populations of the nations and were less susceptible to a number of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, mental and behavioral problems and blood problems. Fertility rates among immigrant populations are also lower.
Migrants have increased numbers of HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, but the report found that the transmission of such diseases to the public was “negligible”.
“Unlike Current Political Story, depicting migrants as a disease carrier, which is a foam on society, migrants are an important part of the economic stability of the United States,” said Terry McGovern, professor at Columbia University and co-author of the study. “The separation of migrant children from their parents creates long-term mental injuries – and is a cruel and unnecessary aspect of American politics. … Migrants are crucial to our well-being as a society. “