The Top 10 Migration Issues for 2008

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 12/16/2008 07:29:00 AM
Regular readers should not be surprised that I hold the work of the Washington, DC-based Migration Information Source in high regard. Not only is it staffed by a very international group, but it also addresses migration issues at a global level. (The New York Times recently ran a feature on this remarkable thinktank.) In contrast, many other US migration thinktanks--I needn't name them here-- frankly have neither of these qualities, mostly being "A Bunch of White Guys Thinking of New Ways to Keep Steenkin' Foreigners Out of the USA" and the Amerocentric focus that entails. The former's website is a fine resource for those interested in global migration, and it currently has a summary of migration in this tumultuous year with its list of the "Top 10 Migration Issues for 2008." What follows is a brief summary, although the entire pamphlet is well worth reading:

1. "Buyer's Remorse" on Immigration Policy
The current economic downturn has made many destination countries cautious about welcoming permanent migrants, with some expressing the policy equivalent of buyer's remorse: paying too high a price for something no longer desired.

2. The Recession-Proof Race for Highly Skilled Migrants
Gloomy economic forecasts do not seem to have slowed the hunt for highly skilled migrants or foreign students — the best near-term solution to fill shortages and enhance competitiveness.

3. Remittance Patterns in Flux
Remittances to developing countries have steadily climbed, but the economic crises this year raise the question of how those countries will fare with the United States and Europe in recession.

4. Immigration Ultimately Not an Issue in the 2008 Election
The subject of immigration was almost nonexistent in the general-election contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain though both candidates sought the Latino vote.

5. Xenophobia Rising
Unfortunately, 2008 brought a new wave of xenophobia, most notably in South Africa and Italy.

6. Return Migration: Changing Directions?
Due to changing economic circumstances, the prospect of return migration has gained currency in immigrant-receiving states around the world.

7. Demography and Migration Flows: Do Shrinking Populations Mean More Migrants?
Policymakers in developed countries are beginning to take the increasingly stark demographic landscape more seriously. One solution on the table: immigration.

8. Building Border Fences
Although far from foolproof in deterring would-be migrants, border fencing remained a priority for many countries in 2008.

9. Warming up to Circular Migration?
Circular migration means a continuing, long-term pattern of international mobility. The European Union set up two pilot programs in 2008 that seek to facilitate this type of movement.

10. Struggles of Iraqi Refugees Continue
An estimated 4.7 million Iraqis remain displaced either internally or in neighboring countries, and Iraq is still the leading source of asylum applicants worldwide.