"So much good has come from modernity: freedoms of the mind, and of the stomach. It is hard to look back at older ways of being with nostalgia. Things were hard in the old days. And yet, with the modern came some brutal social forms, one of which was the scientific linkage of blood to belonging. Caste and bondage has along history, a brutal past that leaks into the uncomfortable present. Those older social oppressions are now married to the technology of the modern State, whose capacity to measure, to count, to conduct surveillance and police its borders, is far more efficient than that of the pre-modern State. It is this linkage between older ideas and new technologies that  makes migration of the past so different from migration of the present. 

'Immigration,' as a concept, is born in the era of imperialism. 'Immigrants,' in this context, are not just those who cross boundaries, but those who pointedly enter the advanced industrial states from lands of dusky skin. Immigration is always already about mobile capital and immobile race. Colonial rulers went where they willed, and they even moved people from one colony to another; but the colonized were not to be fully welcome in the heartlands of the empire, in Europe, in the United States. If they came, they were allowed in for their labor, not for their lives, Those Indian traders in Africa would become foreigners, not just outsiders. Racism would overwhelm older forms of xenophobia." 

— Vijay Prashad, Foreword to Shailja Patel's Migritude