Migrants leave their countries in search of a better life.

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Have you ever had to pack up all of your belongings, say goodbye to friends, and leave a place that has been your home to move to a different state or country?

About sixty thousand years ago a small group of people in what is today the African country of Ethiopia packed their belongings and left their region for good. They were the first “modern” migrants ever, and they are the ancestors of all humans that are now living in every part of the world. Scientists believe that those early humans migrated because a change in climate made finding food and water difficult.

Today many people move around the world in search of a better life and they become migrants. Many flee from conflicts and wars in their regions or from environmental conditions such as droughts or floods, others move because they can’t find work to earn money, and a lucky few move because they enjoy living and working in a different country.

The United States has a rich history of immigrants, because the entire country was built on people from around the world moving there. About 150 years ago, nearly 40 million new immigrants came to the U.S.A. During this time, immigrants had to arrive by boat and then make long trips by car, bus or train to other parts of the country.

For immigrants everywhere in the world, some of the biggest challenges are the foreign language in their new country and discrimination which means not being accepted by this country’s citizens.

The reason for this is often jealousy or competition over resources like jobs, housing and food. It’s important to remember that everyone has the right to leave his or her home country to search for better opportunities or safety in other parts of the world. However, there are laws in each country that regulate who will become a citizen in this country. If a person’s life was endangered there are so called Asylum Laws, if people emigrate to find a better job or more quality of life than they need to apply for a visa or citizenship in the country of their choice.

Fact

Experts think that by 2050 about 1 billion people will be forced to migrate because their homes become inhabitable due to climate change.

What you can do

  • Look up organizations like Welcoming America for opportunities to volunteer.
  • If there are kids in your school who just came from a different country - help them find their way around and to make friends.