CONFERENCE                                                                                                        IMMIGRATION POLICIES AND DEVELOPMENT: NEW PERSPECTIVES


summaries of presentations (in chronological order)



International Migration and Development – New United Nations Global Agenda for Migration and Development Policies

Soren Jessen-Petersen

The presentation will focus on the need to manage international migration better. We all know, that migration is one of the major challenges of the 21st Century. We know that migration, if not well managed can be destabilizing to both societies and the individuals on the move but we also know that with better management and a more judicious balance between state and human security, the positive aspects of migration can be channeled into much more constructive use, both for the receiving society, the sending society and the individuals on the move. In sum, we need to do better in managing both positive and negative aspects of migration and we need to be smarter in finding the right balance.

A 3D Security Approach to Immigration: Considerations for Development, Diplomacy and Defense
Tom Brenneman and Lisa Schirch
A “3D” approach to border and migration security concerns and immigration policy reform looks first to Development and Diplomatic solutions, holding Defense as a last resort. Addressing the root causes of increasing immigration to the U.S. requires a multi-dimensional “3D” approach. 3D prioritizes the role and voices of border people and communities on security issues emphasizing local knowledge and experience in policy development.

The 3D Security Initiative brings civil society community leaders working at conflict prevention, stabilization and reconstruction to Congress and the Washington policy-making community. With networks tapping thousands of NGOs working in every region of the world, we locate legitimate and authoritative voices to share front-line perspectives on critical issues important to U.S. interests in global security.


Selected Examples of Immigration Policies in the World. Lessons to be Learned:

(a)  European Union

Esther Lopatin

(b)   Australia’s 200-year Experiment in Managed Immigration

Greg Brown

Australia is the product of conscious and systematic social engineering to form a particular kind of society. From the beginning, Australia has used immigration as a nation-building tool in order to produce a modern, urbanized, and affluent society. Policy has consisted of three key facets: selection and control of the migration intake, state-provided services and support for those migrants who have settled, and careful consideration of consequences of producing a multicultural society. The Commonwealth Department of Immigration still proclaims these themes as its key functions, though the specific goals and methods have changed over the past 200 years This continual effort distinguishes Australia from other traditional high-immigration societies such as the United States, Canada, and Argentina, where private initiatives have proved more important.

(c)  Canada
Shaista E. Khilji

It is generally said that immigration is very important to the Canadian economy and social development. Canada is henceforth one of the world's most open and friendliest places for immigration. In this talk, I will address how immigration is changing the organizational landscape in Canada, and how managers must address the many cultural differences in order to make better utilization of the talent that immigrants bring with themselves.

(d)  Immigration, Faith and Identity - the Case of Israel
Avi Beker

Israel is the top country of immigration in the world where immigrants or children of immigrants comprise almost half of the population. There is no place in the world where the number of immigrants is five times the number of the people who were there, at the time of its foundation in 1948. Many were expecting that the immigration of a million Soviet Jews during the 1990s would have disastrous short and even long-term effects on Israel’s economy, society, politics and identity. The waning of these expectations reflects the strength of the Israeli melting pot. Israeli society is indeed divided, but it is in the process of redefining and updating the traditional ideological controversies. Despite their strong secular background and their lack of Jewish education the former Soviet immigrants did not “go to the barriers” to fight for reducing the religious influence on the State definition of “Who is a Jew.” However, in some issues, particularly on conversion and civil marriage, the million immigrants only strengthened already consolidated trends, leaving at society's door identity dilemmas that will continue to trouble it.


The Situation of Ethnic Diasporas in U.S. –Their Characteristics, Aspirations, Present Status and Perspectives of Successful Integration and Development:

(1)  Negotiations around Citizenship, Belonging and Nationhood: the Latino Population  in the U.S.
Maria Amelia Viteri

On April 10th and May 1st, 2006, masses of Americans took to the streets to demand immigrant rights. Multiple rallies were held around the United States and approximately one million people congregated on the National Mall in Washington during these historical marches. One of the messages conveyed by the crowd was “We are all Americans”. This event made visible a struggle over the meaning of ‘American’ and a demand for a wider, more inclusive definition of cultural citizenship. In light of these struggles I will discuss the multiple possibilities of belonging as framed by the Latino community in the U.S. based on ethnographic data collected in the D.C. area between 2004 and 2007. The multiple negotiations around nationhood are made visible and used as a departing point to illustrate the conflicting definitions and understandings around assimilation and the multiple possibilities it opens for a fruitful and engaging dialogue on immigration.

(2)  The Chinese Diaspora in the United States
Larry Shinagawa

This presentation is focused on the changing nature of the immigration of Chinese to the United States. Although part of the world-wide diaspora of Chinese, the Chinese diaspora to the United States is markedly different than in other locations. This talk will focus on the commonalities and differences in the nature of immigration among Chinese Americans. Specifically, we will discuss the historical nature of immigration, the demographic composition, the socioeconomic advances, and the continuing challenges facing immigrant Chinese Americans. The presentation will end with a discussion of some policy recommendations that arise from our knowledge of the Chinese diaspora to the United States and comparisons to other localities of the global Chinese diaspora.

The labor market effects of immigration

Diana Furchtgott-Roth
This paper questions the popular perception that immigrants displace native born workers and depress their wages. It addresses the problems that immigrants, employers, government and the American taxpayers face due to shortage of H1-B visa and further argues that immigrants complement the skill of native-born labor force and also reduce the bottlenecks caused by labor shortages, thereby increasing economic efficiency. It concludes with emphasis on implementation of a system whereby the Department of Labor will adjust the numbers of visas in different occupations on a quarterly basis, depending on applications from employers, rather than leaving the process to Congress, where visa quantities only change occasionally.



The Present and Future Shape of the American Society – Cultural and Social Identities, Role of Immigration and Integration Policies and Models of Social and Human Development

Margot Gotzmann

The paper will present a more comprehensive definition of a human and social development as well as social integration processes. As existing problems cannot be solved without changing the thinking behind them, human development and social culture has to be included in the equation as the new basis for any successful immigration policies. New approach to the identity quest will be presented - emphasizing passive and active elements of a multi-layer identity concept.

Global Mobility and Lifelong Learning: Developing American and Global Citizens
Maria Cseh and Consuelo Waight

Global mobility of the workforce is a current phenomenon impacting the economies of both the Unites States of America (USA) as well as of other countries. This phenomenon brings to the USA people who seek employment in areas that require high expertise (e.g., in the high tech industries) or in areas that are in need for employees (e.g., service, agriculture, construction). It also brings to the USA students working on internships and exchange programs. An ongoing process of learning encouraged and supported by the contexts in which these people work and live is important to ensure the development of global citizens both in case of those who decide to immigrate to the USA and in case of those who will return to their own countries or other countries and will share their experiences in the USA. Lifelong learning is essential both for the well being of the USA and of the world and USA should be a role model in this process. This presentation will address national human resource development (NHRD) issues related to the encouragement and support of lifelong learning for immigrants as well as potential immigrants.

U.S. Immigration Policy in the 21st Century: Consistencies, Contradictions, and Conflicts with Current Law, Practice, and Broader National Policy Concerns
Amy R. Novick and Benjamin E. Johnson

The U.S. is proudly a nation of immigrants and yet there is a palpable disconnect between the United State’s stated goals for immigration and its laws and policies. The panel will provide a brief overview of the current U.S. immigration preference system and provide examples of how some fundamental contradictions – historical, legal and bureaucratic – produce muddled policy initiatives. A discussion of immigration and how it impacts other national concerns, such as economic development, social security, healthcare, and education will be included.


Is Immigration an American Strength? Voices of Representatives of Immigrant Societies, Local Governments and Non-profit Organizations

Immigration: A Great American Strength

Kevin McGuire

Kevin McGuire responds to the panel question, “Is immigration an American strength?” by questioning what he considers two prevailing myths. The first, “Immigrants steal jobs,” is based on a static view of America’s dynamic economy. McGuire concedes that immigrants take jobs—after all, they come here to work—but explains how they also
make jobs by helping the economy to grow. The second myth holds that immigrants are a drain on public benefits. Relying on his human services background, McGuire observes that even legal immigrants must fulfill stringent requirements to qualify for federal benefits, while undocumented immigrants are excluded from all but a handful of such programs. Denying them such essential services as prenatal care, emergency health care and education for their children would not be in the national interest. McGuire also notes that, contrary to public perception, the great majority of immigrants are “legal,” even undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and a surprisingly large percentage of the foreign-born population is highly educated. He concludes by expressing the hope that, under a new administration, “Congress will forge smart, fair and generous immigration reform,” informed by facts, not myths.

Jenifer Smyers

Immigrants are among the most entrepreneurial, risk-taking and self-reliant people. The waves of immigrants to the United States have been instrumental in keeping the American spirit alive and making America competitive and innovative. In today’s increasingly complex world order and global environment, it is in America’s best interest to develop policies and a culture that not only attracts but also retains the best talents from all over the world to avoid the brain drain that many less developed countries experienced in the past due to their outdated policies.