People in U.S, UK Getting More Compassionate Towards Immigrants: Survey

As many as 47 per cent people in the United Kingdom felt that legal immigrants should become UK citizens.


People in countries like the United States and United Kingdom are becoming more compassionate towards refugees and immigrants, an annual public opinion study revealed on May 10.

As many as 61 per cent respondents in the United States feel that legally established immigrants should be able to become citizens of their country in 2018, the survey, titled “2018 Aurora Humanitarian Index,” showed. On the other hand, 47 per cent respondents in the United Kingdom this year felt that legal immigrants should become UK citizens, as against last year’s figure of 37 per cent. This shows an increasing sympathy towards immigrants, the report said.

The findings show that the UK government’s policies on immigration do not have an effect on public opinion, according to experts.

“Policymakers always cite public opinion for why they want to be tough on immigration, but really it’s pretty clear that in a lot of cases it’s just justifying a policy they want to pursue anyway. I would hope that government policy might change to build on the kernel of positive findings here,” Dr Omar Khan, director of race equality think tank, Runnymede Trust, was quoted as saying by the Independent.

The survey was conducted between March and April 2018 in 12 countries, including France, Germany, Japan, Armenia, and Russia, with over 1,000 respondents and a total of 10,844 online interviews.

According to the report, war or risk of war is seen as a top cause leading people to leave their home globally, with 52 per cent respondents perceiving it as the top reason, while 20 per cent saw terrorism as a reason. Other reasons like hunger and forced labor were also seen as causes.

“The Humanitarian Index gives some hints as to what might be done: Classic media still enjoy quite a lot of trust, but many people would like a more diverse coverage on global migration issues,” Steffen Angenendt, the head of the Global Issues Division German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), said in the study.

As many as 74 per cent people agree that that NGOs and governments should work together to avoid the forced migration crisis from taking place, with 71 per cent people agreeing that NGOs can make a real difference if they receive the right support from governments.

Terrorism still dominates as the most pressing global humanitarian challenge that people are facing now, with 58 per cent respondents citing the issue as the topmost challenge, as compared to 63 per cent in 2017. Forced migration is down by 8 points at 34 per cent this year, as compared to last year, as a pressing humanitarian challenge.

The study also gave details about public opinion on the refugee crisis. “Children have become humanitarian collateral damage. Though children are at tremendous risk, people largely underestimate the proportion of the next generation impacted by the crisis,” it said.

The annual survey is conducted across multiple countries and its findings are presented each year during the Aurora Dialogues, an international platform for discussions among leading experts in the humanitarian community.

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