Science helps us think more clearly about migration, in part by showing its deep roots. Researchers wielding powerful new methods have discovered ancient, hidden migrations that shaped today’s populations. Go back far enough and almost all of us are immigrants, despite cherished stories of ethnic and national origins. Science can also aid the 21 million migrants today who are refugees from violence or famine, according to the United Nations. They need food, medicine, and shelter now, but in the long run it is their mental health that will be key to building new lives, as shown by a case study of the long-persecuted Yezidis. The success of these and other immigrants depends in part on whether new countries spurn or welcome them, and research is starting to show how to manage our long-standing biases against outsiders.
People on the move
Science 19 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6339, pp. 676-677