plural noun: migrants
Before the emigrant has been a week at sea, he is an altered man. How can it be otherwise? Hundreds of poor people, men, women and children of all ages...huddled together without light, without air, wallowing in filth, and breathing a foetid atmosphere, sick in body, dispirited in heart, and fevered patients lying between the sound, in sleeping places so narrow as almost to deny them the power of indulging, by a change of position, the natural restlessness of the disease, by their agonizing ravings disturbing those around. (Stephen De Vere White, a County Limerick magistrate.)"Irish immigrants were only valuable at the time of paying their fares or beginning their indentures."
("Wherever Green is Worn - The Story of the Irish Diaspora by Tim Pat Coogan)
My father came to England in the late 1950s after several of his brothers had already made the journey. The Irish were largely welcomed at the time although one hears reports of signs saying "No Blacks, Irish need apply for jobs." Our neighbours growing up were from Italy, Ireland, the West Indies - as such St Kitts, Jamaica.Indian families came later. We all seemed to get on - kids playing together asking each other "did you hear the one about the Englishman, the Irishman & the Scottish man?" There was a real community spirit.
I know that one of my great aunts made the journey from Bawnboy, Co Cavan (where we now live - back at my roots) to Ellis Island, New York where she obtained employment as a servant.
Today many young Irish people still emigrate in the hope of finding good, secure employment.
In Tim Pat Coogan's narrative we reference find a memorial erected in Canada
"In this secluded spot lie the mortal remains of five thousand, four hundred and twenty-five persons who, flying from pestilence and famine in the year 1847, found in North America but a grave."
More info in The History Place - the Irish Potato Famine - Coffin ships here
Regarding the Migrant Crisis in our times:(From April 2015)
Death of the European dream: The Mediterranean’s deadliest migrant disaster
After more than 800 refugees drowned when their boat capsized off Libya’s coast, conflict is still spurring desperate migrants to risk the world’s deadliest crossing inSEARCH of a better life, and Europe must find a practicalSOLUTION.
As African migrants continue to risk dangerous voyages in search of lives free from conflict or poverty, Europe — their destination of choice — is torn by competing demands for humanitarian action and political pragmatism. Link here