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Border Control

Towards better governance for U.S. labor migration

Daniel Costa's picture

Perhaps the toughest challenge faced by developed and developing countries alike is the governance of international labor migration. Some countries have developed useful mechanisms that foster economic growth and migrant integration into host societies. But in the United States, a well-informed, high level debate about how to improve employment-based migration management is conspicuously absent from the public discourse. Discussion in the media and debates in Congress typically focus narrowly on the concerns of employers who argue, for example, in favor of raising the numerical limits on two or three temporary visa categories, or those pushing for increased enforcement measures for irregular migrants.

The Economic Policy Institute’s new book, Value-Added Immigration: Lessons for the United States from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, uses a comparative methodology to help fill this gap in the policy debate on labor migration in the United States. Authored by Ray Marshall, the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Carter, it suggests how the United States could improve its own system based upon the best practices found in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. These three countries – while far from perfect – have evolved and adapted their migration governance to further a value-added strategy, i.e., one that seeks to improve productivity and innovation and fill labor shortages. They also do a better job of protecting the labor rights of foreign and native workers.

Are fewer Mexicans crossing the border to the United States?

Sonia Plaza's picture

Migration flows in both directions between the United States and Mexico have diminished according to recent statistics released by the Mexican and United States governments.

Mexican immigration to the United States began to decline in the mid-2006, and that pattern has continued into 2010. The Pew Hispanic Center analysis of Mexican government data indicates that the number of Mexicans annually leaving Mexico for the U.S. declined from more than one million in 2006 to 404,000 in 2010. Rand Corporation also found that the Mexican immigrants returning to Mexico have not increased despite the crisis. 

To build or not to build – that is NOT the question

Elina Scheja's picture
Photo: istockphoto.com

Right after the holiday season Greece announced their controversial plan to build a 12 km long wall to stop the flood of illegal immigrants to the EU. The wall will cover only a fraction of the total length of the border and is aimed to be built in the area that is worst affected by illegal border crossings estimated to amount to 350 people every day, making Greece the leading entry point of illegal immigrants to the EU. As provocative as it may sound, in an economy that is suffering from severe difficulties and rampaging unemployment figures, blocking immigrants from entering is becoming one of the priority political actions to moderate fiscal expenses that is visible to the domestic population. Even though opponents have raised loud objections against the project, according to a recent poll 59 percent of the Greeks approved of the plan. And one has to admit it has an intuitive appeal of simplicity and logic: once you close the drain the flow will stop. Yet, as simple as it may sound, this is not how it works.
 

Security and Development

Dilip Ratha's picture

Wish you a new year of happiness and prosperity.

Recent events have once again confirmed that security threats will remain a recurring theme in this new decade as in the past decade. To me, security and development seems more of a global public good issue than, say, conflict and development, and has more practical implications in the immediate term than, say, climate change and development. Yet I have not read much on the global development implications of the new security regimes. There is a bit of literature on conflict, but not much on the global development implications of the current security concerns.

Tighter security post-911 has made international travel and trade more cumbersome, costly and time consuming than before. Efforts to track the terrorists by tracking the flow of financing has greatly increased the need for new financial laws and documentation to open a bank account, get a car loan, or simply send money. All countries have increased the scrutiny of foreigners’ legal status and intentions. To what extent such tighter measures have impacted different aspects of globalization – for example, aid, trade, investments, tourism, study abroad, sports, the flow of information and the sharing of technology?