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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Migration and Development Policy: What Have We Learned?

by: Glenn Robinson

I've found the institution of contemporary thinking around modern immigration policies. 

The organization is called the "Migration Policy Institute". It was founded in 2001 and grew out of the International Migration Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

I signed up to receive a monthly update from this Migration Policy Institute and the first email I received pointed to a document titled Migration and Development Policy, What Have We Learned? by Kathleen Newland (one of the founders).

To summarize this letter, The Migration Policy Institute has found that the European Union would like to “solve” immigration, which to them means limit immigration. The U.S. and France tried throwing money into their neighboring countries to develop them – and in turn curb immigration. That didn’t work.

Over the last 10 years the Migration Policy Institute has found that:

·         Immigration persists even between countries with high levels of development.
·         Immigration benefits the immigrant’s mother country via close family ties.
·         Migrants can be escaping political or criminal violence, persecution and natural disasters.
·         Family reunification accounts for the largest stream of immigrants to most receiving countries.  
·         European governments have constrained family reunification programs in an attempt to engineer a class of migrants who can contribute more to the economic growth of the country of destination, overlooking the fact that family ties are a powerful agent for successful immigrant settlement, and that well-integrated immigrants are better able to contribute to both countries.
·         Immigrant-receiving governments should foster family and community ties of new immigrants, and promote the success of newly arrived individuals and the communities they enter.
·         Remittances reduce poverty but do not necessarily bring about more sustainable growth or development.
·         Partnership between countries is desired but destination countries often do not meet at the table.
·         Migration patterns occur in about equal quantity in North > North, South > South, but in a smaller volume on average from North > South.
·         Migrations are normal and not a pathological feature of human existence and relations among states.
·         Florida has worked to promote humanitarian and development work in the Caribbean and Central American, which are the origin of substantial immigration flows to the state.
·         Spain is doing substantial work toward improving relationships and managing their circular flow of agricultural workers from Morocco

In Summary:

·         Governments have barely begun to institutionalize productive relationships between countries of origin and countries of destination.
·         Building trust between migrant communities and governments takes time and patience as well as mutual commitment.
·         Policies that are affected are political, organizational, financial and technical.
·         Governments should take a wholehearted approach to migration and development policy which recognizes the needs of both the origin and destination countries.
·         Cooperation between countries is essential.
·         A much deeper analysis needs to be undertaken, tracing how practices are shaped, who they reach and with what effect.
·         A continuous examination of what is working and why is needed. 

I choose the European Union flag for this post because the European Union funds the Migration Policy Institute. The European Union has ties with the U.S. and with Mexico. Mexico was the first Latin American country to partner with the European Union (in 1997).


Glenn is a European-American married to a Mexican-American. They have two children. Glenn is interested in progressive immigration reform, and desegregation within schools and communities. He is a life long learner with interests in sociology, anthropology, psychology, history and politics.
Connect to Glenn at CommunityVillage.us