West European Immigration and Immigrant Policy in the New Century
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Finally, U. As a result, since , the foreign-born population has quadrupled, the United States became substantially more Latino, national origins among Latinos have shifted decisively toward Mexico and Central America, and the share present without authorization has risen to unprecedented heights. The evidence thus suggests that the turn toward restrictive immigration policies after was counterproductive, to say the least.
Particularly in the case of Mexico, the contradictions are glaring. In , the United States and Mexico entered into a free trade agreement designed to reduce barriers to cross-border movements of goods, capital, resources, information, services, and many categories of people. Not only was free movement of labor excluded from the other wise integrated North American market being established, but that same year, the United States launched Operation Gatekeeper to block the flow of migrants through the busiest border sector — part of a two-decade-long process of border militarization.
Apparently, the contradiction between the stated goal of integrating all factor markets in North America and the exclusion of Mexican labor from participating never occurred to leaders in Washington.
Immigration in the European Union: problem or solution?
If one tries unilaterally to block flows of people that are the natural outgrowth of broader processes of social and economic integration, moreover, the results are dysfunctional and counterproductive, as we have seen. Rather than seeking to suppress migratory flows that merely reflect the powerful forces binding North America together, the alternative is to accept the flows and seek to manage them in ways that are beneficial to Americans, Mexicans, and the immigrants themselves. In North America, the stars might finally be aligned for such a transition, moving away from unilateral repression toward bilateral strategies of management.
With the conspicuous help of Latino voters, President Obama won a second term and need not worry again about reelection. Should the two presidents seek to cooperate in managing international migration more effectively, they will benefit from a unique political moment when the pressure is off: undocumented migration from Mexico has fallen to a net of zero and has remained there since Indeed, the net immigration rate may even be negative.
One reason for this development is the quiet return of temporary worker migration. Whereas only 3, Mexicans entered the United States on temporary work visas in , in the number reached , When added to the average of , Mexicans who entered each year as permanent residents, we see that substantial opportunities for legal entry have opened up in the U. Although labor demand in the United States faltered in the great recession of , the demand that remains is currently being met by legal migration in various categories.
In Mexico, meanwhile, the conditions that have for so long driven immigrants northward have shifted. Birth rates have fallen dramatically, the rate of labor force growth is rapidly decelerating, and the Mexican population is aging as rural populations continue to dwindle. Rural dwellers, long the source of a disproportionate share of Mexican immigrants, dropped from 35 percent of the population to roughly 20 percent today. At the same time, real wages have stabilized even as they have fallen in the United States, while education levels among younger cohorts have steadily risen and the middle class has grown.
In sum, the conditions that supported mass undocumented migration in the past appear to be disappearing, and what needs to be done now is to find ways to better manage the flows that will inevitably occur in the course of North American economic integration. We must facilitate the entry and return of the large majority of migrants who prefer circulation to settlement, while opening up opportunities for legal permanent residence for the minority of migrants who acquire strong social or economic connections to the United States and wish to remain permanently.
Of these, three have already been achieved in de facto terms: illegal migration has been at a net of zero since ; temporary worker entries are at levels not seen since the late s; and through defensive naturalization, Mexicans themselves have in practical terms increased the size of their quotas for legal immigration. Although the current system of temporary worker migration could certainly benefit from improvements to protect workers from exploitation, the most serious task remaining for immigration reformers is the legalization of the 11 million persons who are currently unauthorized, especially the 3 million or more persons who entered as minors and grew up in the United States.
The lack of legal status constitutes an insurmountable barrier to social and economic mobility, not only for the undocumented immigrants themselves, but for their citizen family members. Not since the days of slavery have so many residents of the United States lacked the most basic social, economic, and human rights. The transition to a minority-majority U. Although the U. Our failure to arrange for the legalization of the 11 million persons currently out of status will not change the demographic transition under way in the United States; it will only render it more contentious, problematic, and costly to society.
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In , the United States, Mexico, and Canada have a unique opportunity to break with the failed policies of the past and enter a new era of cooperation to manage, rather than suppress, the ongoing flow of migrants who will inevitably move within the free trade zone that has been created among the three countries. Summer Author Information. Massey, Jorge Durand, and Nolan J. Acosta, G. Larsen, Eward N. Trevelyan, and Nathan P.
Census Bureau, ; and Sharon R. Census Bureau, Massey and Karen A. Immigration Policy. See also, Timothy J.
Dunn, The Militarization of the U. Department of Homeland Security, The U. For about the first years of American history, Congress did not place any federal limits on immigration. During those years, Irish and German immigrants came to the U. Many Chinese immigrants did, too.
In the s, they came to work as laborers on the continental railroad and stayed. Members of the American public disapproved of these groups. They did not like the Catholic religion that many Irish and German immigrants practiced. And they did not like Asian immigrants, whom they viewed as convicts, prostitutes, or competition for jobs.
So, in the late s, Congress moved for the first time to limit the number of immigrants. Lawmakers targeted Asians, especially Chinese. By the turn of the 20 th century, the U. It established Ellis Island in New York as the entry point for immigrants. And it oversaw a dramatic increase in the number of immigrants, especially from Italy and Eastern Europe. Many of the new arrivals were uneducated and had little money.
Once again, some people opposed the number and kind of immigrants entering the country. A group called the Immigration Restriction League was formed. They petitioned Congress to require immigrants to show that they could at least read. People who wished to settle in the U.
In the s, restrictions on immigration increased. The Immigration Act of was the most severe: it limited the overall number of immigrants and established quotas based on nationality. Among other things, the act sharply reduced immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa. And it completely restricted immigrants from Asia, except for Japan and the Philippines. During the s and 50s, the U. Then, in , a major change happened. Under pressure in part from the civil rights movement, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act.
President Lyndon Johnson signed it. The law, which has been hotly debated, is designed to streamline the asylum procedure and reduce the average time for processing applications from 22 months to six.
It will also give all asylum-seekers who are eligible to stay a more temporary status. Instead of giving full refugee status after the initial procedure, each case will be reviewed after three years, and only then approved or rejected. In some countries, asylum is only one element in a wider debate about immigration and national identity. In Italy, the biggest issues are what to do with the large number of illegal immigrants or clandestini already in the country, how to tackle the large-scale trafficking of migrants, particularly by speed-boat from Albania, and concern at the involvement of the mafia in the smuggling gangs.
38c. The Rush of Immigrants
But, for a number of reasons, Italy has tended to receive small numbers of asylum applications. Many refugees, particularly from Somalia and the former Yugoslavia, are given work permits on humanitarian grounds, which relieves them of the need to apply for asylum. Periodic amnesties for illegal immigrants means that they can regularise their situation rather than apply for refugee status.
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And many migrants use Italy as a port of entry, travelling on to Germany, Switzerland or Britain, where they enter clandestinely often in lorries or apply for asylum. In France and Spain, which receive few asylum-seekers relative to the Netherlands, Britain and Germany, asylum has not been such a big issue. In France, the Front National, wracked by infighting, has lost its way. Government attempts to deport illegal immigrants — provoking hunger strikes and demonstrations — have subsided. Integrating existing immigrants and regularising the situation of the sans papiers, many of whom may have been resident in France for years, now dominates the debate on immigration.
It is obviously beyond the immediate power of the EU to eradicate the root causes of all migration. But over time, if the EU wants to reduce migratory pressure, it will have to provide more development aid, debt relief, and fair trade, and it will need to be better equipped to prevent conflict and keep the peace in trouble spots around the world. But should European states even try to stop economic migration?
In order to maintain its working age population, Italy would need to start importing more than , immigrants per year or, alternatively, keep its citizens working until they are The US population m has tended to take only small numbers of asylum-seekers — fewer than Europe, relative to its population. But it has a more liberal immigration regime. By the late s, the US was taking in about 1m immigrants a year: , legal immigrants, , illegal aliens and about , refugees.
The in-flows of migrants during the s and s — the second great migration of the 20th century — has literally changed the face of America. Immigration in the US is embraced more enthusiastically by the free market right than the trade union left, but it has brought real benefits. Immigrants contribute to innovation — witness the number of foreigners in Silicon Valley.
And they do jobs that native workers refuse, such as sustaining Californian agriculture. He points to the fall-off in skills relative to those who emigrated to the US in the s and s. He argues that America should admit only , immigrants per year, and select the most highly skilled. These are criteria which, he acknowledges, would have prevented him, a refugee from Cuba, from immigrating in the early s.
Immigration in the European Union: problem or solution? - OECD Observer
Congress recently approved an extra , visas for skilled workers. European governments are taking similar steps. Britain, too, wants to recruit east European computer experts but is only too keen to turn away their less skilled compatriots. No one knows what will happen to asylum trends — indeed, no one knows what is really happening now; one reputable estimate puts the number of illegal migrants smuggled into the EU each year as ,