Impacts of Immigrants in Belize

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
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Immigrants are generally understood to be persons who leave their country to settle in another counter usually for permanent residence. These people are sometimes referred to as aliens; these are persons who do not owe allegiance to their country. Allegiance is a form of fidelity said to be shown by the part of a citizen to his/her state. In contrast if the immigrant does not owe allegiance to his/her country and that person violate rules, laws, policies or customs of a foreign country then this person is known as an illegal alien.

The role of immigrants has for a long time created significant interest among policy makers. Issues concerning the amount of immigrants allowed to enter a country have risen. The mostly known nation of immigration is the U. S. but as Belizeans leave in search for “a decent living” in the U. S. , many other Central American immigrants enter Belize. Many people migrate for many reasons for example to join family members who have migrated in past years, to search for economic opportunities, to escape maltreatment or sometimes for the simple reason that they want a fresh start.

Immigrants/immigration, have been a controversy within Belizean societies over the past years where economic growth created by some of these immigrant populations, is linked to the growing aspect of crime, invasion as opposed to population stabilization and Native employment to self employment. Do immigrants take away the jobs of Belizeans? Many times when natives are asked for reasons for their unemployment, they respond by saying that people that are entering the country have been taking their jobs. This view of immigrants has increased because of the success in the economic sector.

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When immigrants enter the country, they come entrepreneurially meaning the lack the experience to be employed. This means that the do not possess the expertise to own a business to employ people. Therefore they self employ themselves. Producing small amounts of goods for their daily survival. Belize is known to be a third world country, therefore; this small country is growing economically. Belize is a small country with a small population; therefore we are impacted in some way or the other with immigrants. The term immigrants mean foreigners coming from outside countries to reside in our society.

We really do not know who they are and what their intentions are to live in Belize. That is why it is important to learn why they decide to live in our country other than theirs. Such in the case of the Mennonites for example, where they aid Belize in the agriculture field; they produce many or most of Belize’s vegetables. Over the past years they have extended their efforts to export goods to foreign countries and with agreement with the government, some of the income generated stay for the government of Belize. Therefore these Mennonites have become an integral part of our society.

If the Mennonites were not around, where would all the chickens come from that are consumed today and the agricultural goods such as corn, vegetables, eggs, compost, etc. They have taken and wisely created a link between their farming and sustainably using their land. Their expertise is second to none here in Belize, so we are very thankful for them. According to Roessingh “the Mennonites have made a very positive contribution to Belize, mainly in the agricultural field and are responsible for a large portion of the products available in Belize.

They have what is called a Calvinistic work ethic which says that hard work and frugality is the key to success and leading a good life” (110). Furthermore another group of peole that are vital to societies throughout Belize is the Asian community. These people have successfully opened grocery stores, supermarkets and restaurants in every urban area of Belize, and even in some rural ones. Their propensity for obtaining goods at lower prices means that a lot of items that are considered necessities are affordable. On top of that their conveniently located stores make them essential for the many little small purchases that are conducted daily.

Their fast-food restaurants are essential to many Belizean in the way that many people have to get to work early in the morning so these restaurants is the easiest and most common way to access daily meals. Some of the more affordable fast-foods today provided by the Chinese is their fried-chicken and chow-mien and burgers to name a few. For a relatively small sum, one can purchase a full meal that can feed the entire family. Many perceptions of these immigrants have been coming to light over the past years. Perceptions such like people saying that these Asians for example, are making the most money.

Some xenophobic individuals or groups in Belize constantly rail against, or in some cases, commit violence against these ethnic groups, particularly those who are dominant in the economic sectors, or those who seem to be taking all the positions of gainful employment; point in case, the recent murders of two female Chinese merchants (Channel 5 Belize). This caused these communities to close their shops for a whole day in respect for their lost one. What did this lead to? In Belmopan for example, most of the supermarkets and stores belong to Asian communities and there was a difficulty in getting goods purchasing merchandise.

What would happen if these people close down their stores? So these Belizeans commit crime against these people without knowing the fact that we cannot survive without these populations of immigrants. According to Belize Report volume 5, number 1. Feb. 1999, each immigrant must have a work permit for them to get a job. Why? It is because in the past when they came into Belize they were able to get a job in almost any filed of work. Also, it has created poverty. It is common sense that without a job there is no source of income maintained in a household.

This causes a stress on the man in the house because he will not know how to bring food to his families. On the other hand, others who have a job may not have the sufficient income to pay off debts. Immigrants are also satisfied with low income employment. They really do not care about what type of jobs they have or how much they are paid. Once they have a job, they feel good. Does this affect Belizeans on a whole? Many may say that they are taking the jobs of Belizeans but I the income generated by a job is low, why pay a high rates.

Many Belizeans are uneducated unaware and uninformed and they will always want to receive more in anything they do. This phenomenon has been going on for years and because of their selfishness they always think that immigrants are taking their jobs . (“Jobs” Immigration Policy Issues May 2010. March 2011. ). Searching for jobs is one of the aspects of immigration but is there always benefit with people coming in our country? It has been proven that some immigrants bring along some form of crime. From where do you think most gangs originated in the country of Belize?

There are gangs under the name of ‘Bloods’, Crips, ‘Mara Salvatrucha’, and so forth. All these gangs have been heard of in our daily news cast. This type of immigration does affect in a way that harms our Belizean people. A perfect example is “Ontario Village at mile 55 on the Western Highway has been known in the recent past for outbreaks in gang activity. One of those incidents caused Justin Jones to relocate in order to avoid further trouble with fellow village youths” (“Two Murders Before The New Year” The Belize Times 9 Jan. 2011: Print. ). Our young people are now joining these gangs and participate in more serious acts.

How will our country prosper if our young people continue behaving this way? This is not good at all. We need to do something for this to change. Crime has also decreased tourism; many tourists who come for vacations are murdered in our country (“Crime” Travel Report Belize 24 Feb. 2011. 28 Mar. 2011. < http://www. voyage. gc. ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng. asp? id=29000>). We for example would be afraid to be walking in the streets and know that we can be robbed or killed by such criminals. Many of these immigrants are involved in crimes such as machete fights, robberies, to name a few and these are increasing as days go by.

Many Belizeans that have been a suspect to these persons have received serious injuries such as gunshot wounds and stab wounds. Today the main immigrants who are involved in crimes, include these Guatemalans that enter our country to extract goods from Belize’s forest. Armed robberies at archaeological sites, protected areas and frequented areas by visitors have been of concern over several years now. According to the Travel State. Gov, On February10, 2009, four American and two Canadian tourists accompanied by two Belizean tour guides were the victims of a robbery outside Rio Frio Cave in the Mountain Pine Ridge area.

On September 15, 2009, two tourists at the Blue Hole National Park were robbed by two men wearing masks and carrying knives. In 1987, businesses that hired immigrant workers were penalized because it was discovered that majority of the immigrants were involved in a lot of crime. During that time, most of the crime was focused on the northern part of Belize (“Belize Crime” 4Nov. 2010. The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Fact book 28 Mar. 2011. ). These crime incidents that occur against people mostly occur with illegals. They are still referred to as immigrants but they are now illegal aliens.

These are the ones that cause the perception that all immigrants a detrimental to our country. Belizeans views it only in one way without thinking the benefit they get. This causes some conflict where they now feel like immigrant are invading the country. This now leads to Belizeans leaving the country. Does it negatively or positively affect the country? As people migrate into Belize, people move out. We in turn become immigrants in other countries. This has shown that in some form, as Belizeans go out of the country, people migrate in this stabilizes the population of the country.

Population growth is an underlying cause that affects every single country around the world. According to the Expat World book, Belize is under populated. This means that if there were not people who migrated day by day, there would be a dramatic rate of under population according to the holding capacity of the country. So immigration has helped stabilize the trend and a steady increase other than a dramatic increase of population has occurred. After investigating the risks of emigrating and safety of migrating, it is concluded that it doesn’t matter at which side of the door Belizeans are, the dangers are unavoidable.

Whether people choose to support in giving immigrants space and encouraging them to becoming active parts in Belizean society or if they think that immigrants must be eliminated from the country, the negative impacts will be the same. It is a phenomenon that will be in place for ever and cannot be stopped. It is not we support in opening borders in any country, it is just that no matter what the circumstances is immigration will occur and there is nothing to do to stop it. No matter how bias Belizeans are.

However, in the same aspect that Belizeans migrate to other countries and others come in to Belize these people deserve to live without fear, raise their children in a safe environment and be accepted as citizen; the same way we Belizeans want to be treated abroad. The question that is asked is, “do these immigrants harm Belizean societies? ” in turn deserves to be answered. On one point of view, immigrants do pose some kind of threat in some societies. For example threats to security and place the future at risk. But, this can happen if we natives permit it.

On the other hand, immigrants fill job spaces that many in Belize don’t want to take. In turn they work for lesser income than other Belizeans, later on adopt and adapt themselves to customs of Belize. Yes it is believed that immigrants cause harm to Belize in some ways, but the question to be asked instead of the previously mentioned is, do the negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts that immigrant’s presence bring to Belize? With supporting evidence mention in previous sections, it is concluded that yes immigrants cause some harm in some sectors but they bring better than harm.

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Impacts of Immigrants in Belize. (2017, Apr 24). Retrieved from

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