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Migrants, economic contributors not job stealers:IOM chief

(Xinhua)

21:57, December 06, 2011

GENEVA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Although migrants are often taken as scapegoat for economic underperformance, they are in fact an overwhelmingly positive part of the history, William Lacy Swing, Director-General of International Organization for Migration (IOM) said here on Tuesday.

In an interview with Xinhua at the launching of 2011 World Migration Report, the IOM Director-General said migration remained one of the most misunderstood issues in the contemporary world.

According to Swing, about one seventh of the world's population, or roughly one billion people, are now on the move.

"You would think that this will therefore inculcate a more liberal attitude toward migrants, (be)cause there are so many of them, so well known," Swing said, regretfully pointing out that the public attitude being "just the opposite."

Stereotypes of the migrants as job stealers and the less well-behaved are common among public discourse.

"All these are stereotypes, that lead to in some cases the victimization of migrants, in some cases it leads to changes in the law that would criminalize migrants," Swing said.

Bias and stereotypes are particularly prevalent at a time of economic downturn, a trend that could be observed in every major depression since the Great Depression in the 1930s, when migrants were taken as scapegoat for economic failure.

"So the story is simply to say that we need to make sure that people have the whole story," Swing said, adding that migrants and migration had been an overwhelmingly positive part of the history.

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