African diaspora BY Jk635 Journal Article Review In this article the authors present findings from a study of African immigrants to Ireland. The main focus of the study was to look at the experiences of pregnant and post natal African women and to explore questions about their experiences of maternity services in Ireland and also larger issues of integration into Irish society. The research was based primarily in a Dublin maternity hospital. The author also highlights a number of issues African immigrants face when living in Ireland, racism, family reunification, the right to work and the lengthy process of immigration claims.
The study was made up of 51 female participants from Africa living in Ireland. The women in the sample originated from 12 countries of the African continent, Algeria(l), Angola(2), Cameroon(4), cote d’Lvoire(1), Democratic Republic of the Congo(4), Liberia(l), Nigeria(32), Sudan(l), South Africa(l), Sierra Leone(l), Uganda(l), and Zimbabwe(l). The participants were recruited in the outpatient and social work department and ante natal and post natal wards of the hospital. The sample inclusion criteria included pregnant or recently delivered women who had arrived in
Ireland in the past 10 years, were born in Africa and were at least 18 years of age. The interviews lasted between 20 minutes to 2 hours. Each participant was interviewed individually. A questionnaire was presented to each participant, the questionnaire focused on experiences in pregnancy, satisfaction with services at the hospital, integration into Irish society and demographic background. The women were given a IOeuro gift voucher as a gesture of thanks. The author states that persons seeking asylum in Ireland increased dramatically in 2002 with 11,634 seeking asylum compared to 31 in 1991.
By 2003 it had fallen to 7,900. In 2002, Nigeria was the top stated country of origin for asylum seekers. The reasons for this dramatic increase in immigration was that Ireland had gone through a period of social and economic change over the last decade and also the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998, which put citizenship by birth on a constitutional footing and because of this the flood gates opened and thousands of heavily pregnant African women arrived in Ireland to claim asylum. Before the signing of the agreement people acquired citizenship in Ireland by birth as well as decent or naturalisation.
Some of the women in this study that arrived in late 2004 and in 2005 as asylum seekers experienced the implications of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship act, meaning, their children would not automatically have Irish citizenship. In January 2002 the Irish Supreme Court handed down its Judgment in the case involving the ‘irish born childrens case’. The case sought to resolve the right to remain of non-irish parents, who had given birth to children in Ireland. Five Judges ruled against and two ruled in favour.
The respective families had applied for asylum in the I-JK before coming to Ireland, their applications were unsuccessful. The office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner discovered that prior applications had been made in the I-JK and took steps to have the families transferred back to the I-JK. Before the autnorltes got tne opportunlty to put tnelr aeclslon Into practlce, tne women gave birth and the families claimed that they had accured the right to remain in Ireland by virtue of the automatic Irish Citizenship, this case brought about change in the constitution.
The article also reported findings on questions such as, why these women have come to Ireland, what obstacles do they face in integrating into Irish ociety, are they likely to remain in Ireland on a long term basis and why do the Irish appear to feel so threatened by the birth of children to African women in Ireland. The Irish state has created ‘physical distancing(dispersing them to direct provision hostels and reception centres) and ‘psychological distancing(discrediting them by calling them ‘bogus refugee’ and ‘economic mingants’) when dealing with asylum seekers.
The aim seems to remove Irelands new strangers from consciousness and then from sight. The women in this study were highly educated, the majority had niversity or college degrees. There was a particular emphasis on the sciences and business fields. The women stated a number of reasons for migrating to Ireland, some were brought here, some Just ended up here, others deliberately migrated to Ireland to Join family members, some came to access asylum opportunities and a few came specifically to access maternity services. Some of the women that arrived in Ireland prior to Jan 2005 were dubbed ‘citizenship tourists’ by the media.
These women were arriving in Ireland heavily pregnant, giving birth and returning home to their homeland. The findings suggest that Ireland was sought out specifically for its maternity services. Many of the women expressed satisfaction with their life in Ireland, others expressed dissatisfaction due to experiences of racism and frustration with being denied the right to work and reunite with their family. Many of the women in this study describe being humiliated and degraded which they attributed to their race. More than half of the women in this study experienced racism.
Another grievance the women expressed was the lengthy process of their residency application and being denied the right to work or continue their education. Some of the women were living in direct provision centres where they were provided with bed and board and given 19euro per week in state subsidy. There are a number of reasons for racism, one being the popular notion that millions of euros of taxpayers money is being Wasted’ on asylum seekers coming into the country looking for handouts and abusing the Irish system for all its worth.
The author hopes that the research will contribute to a deeper understanding of processes associated with the feminisation of migration and the emergence of the ‘new African Diasporas’. Diaspora is a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic area. The word can also mean/refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland.. As stated by the author, no real conclusions could be drawn from this article. Ireland was a mono-cultural state for over a century, full of white catholic faces.
We had little experience of any other culture, religions or nationalities. From 1990-1994, Ireland was the only EIJ member state with a negative net migration rate. By 2007 Ireland had the third highest migration rate across the 27 EIJ member states. In 2005 when this study was conducted Irelands economy was steady, there was plenty for all, initially Ireland’s attitude towards migrants were positive but became increasingly negative as the economic situation worsened and unemployment skyrocketed and because of this racism has increased.
For a lot of these women Integratlon Into Irlsn soclety was not all plaln salllng, raclsm was nlgn on tne agenda. The women felt that because they were black and visibly pregnant they were deliberately targeted. The title of this article is ‘The birth of the African-Irish Diaspora: Pregnancy and Post-Natal Experiences of African Immigrant Women in Ireland’. The abstract was descriptive and informative and was representative of the article. The purpose of this article was to find out what Africans have to say about their experiences in Ireland. The aforementioned was made clear from the introduction.
The author presented questionnaires to the participants which consisted of questions regarding their motives for migrating to Ireland. Individual interviews were also conducted as a method for gathering in-depth data. The article reported findings on specific questions such as why they come to Ireland. What obstacles do they face in integrating into Irish society? As a qualitative research study there are no variables present, but instead the article is focused on the phenomena of key factors which have encouraged these women to migrate to Ireland.
The author did provide a sufficient amount of background information on the topic and reviewed a large number of articles/books/publications to back up their findings. The strengths in this section lies in the researchers’ thorough selection of relevant articles. The literature spans over a nine year period and covers several topics. Due to the fact that this is a qualitative research study, the focus on 51 African migrants is appropriate. The researchers clearly outline their use of methods for selecting the participants and provided the questions used in the interviews.
I felt that the design and procedures were appropriate for answering the questions being raised in the study. They helped to gather perceptions and beliefs. The author concluded that the women in this study are part of a larger population of Africans in Ireland but these pregnant women and those who avail of maternity services prior to the Nationality and Citizenship act deadline are propelled to the fore in explaining the emergence of an African-Irish diaspora, also, more empirical data is eeded as it is too new and too changeable a migratory flow to suggest any real conclusions.
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