Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MPI Transatlantic Council on Migration out with new reports on border issues

The fifth plenary meeting of the Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration focused on assessing the most effective approaches to bringing greater order and legality to migration, border management, and labor systems. And today, MPI is pleased to release the first paper commissioned as part of the Council’s November 2010 meeting, “Restoring Trust in the Management of Migration and Borders.”

In their report, A New Architecture for Border Management, MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou and European Policy Fellow Elizabeth Collett sketch the emergence of a new border architecture resulting from the explosion in global travel and the dawning of the age of risk. This new border architecture must respond effectively to the seemingly competing demands of facilitating mobility while better managing the risks associated with cross-border travel (e.g. terrorism, the entry of unwanted migrants, and organized crime). The report examines the information-sharing agreements, technology innovations, and multilateral partnerships that have emerged as key components of the new architecture for border management, and discusses challenges and considerations for the future.

Among the other works also informing the Council’s deliberations were a report assessing the transatlantic data-sharing agreements and negotiations that have emerged in the post-9/11 era, and an analysis of US border control programs since the mid-1990s.

In Transatlantic Cooperation on Travelers’ Data Processing: From Sorting Countries to Sorting Individuals, authors Paul De Hert and Rocco Bellanova detail the post-9/11 programs and agreements implemented by US and European governments to identify terrorists and serious transnational criminals through the collection and processing of increasing quantities of traveler data – and discuss the evolution of those iniatives.

And in The Evolution of Border Controls as a Mechanism to Prevent Illegal Immigration, author and MPI Nonresident Fellow Rey Koslowski analyzes how the challenges in achieving effective US border control have increased dramatically in recent decades and particularly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The report examines the programmatic and funding responses US policymakers have put in place — including the Secure Border Initiative, the Visa Waiver Program, US-VISIT, and registered-traveler programs — and traces their evolution and effectiveness.

These papers and other MPI transatlantic research can be found at the Council’s website:

Senate holds hearing on anti-Muslim sentiment

CNN reports on hearing in Senate:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trailer for a new (short) documentary on race and the big society in the UK

Runnymede: Intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain

Number Games: Does race have a place in the Big Society?
We know that cuts to public sector services and jobs will impact particularly heavily on ethnic minority people. So, how can the Big Society be a racially just one?

Set in London and Chicago, Number Games sets out to answer this question by looking at the model for social activism in the US.

The 25-minute documentary follows Runnymede director Dr Rob Berkeley as he travels to Chicago for the largest race equality event in the world. Rob speaks to community organisers, exploring what we can learn from their particular brand of activism and how it has been used to fight for racial justice.

The film's first screening will mark 30 years since the 1981 Brixton Riot: a watershed moment in the history of race relations in the UK. You will be able to watch Number Games in full for free from Tuesday 12 April 2011 on the Runnymede website

Watch the 2-minute Number Games trailer by clicking here

CNN series on Muslims in America

I haven't had a chance to watch the documentary yet, but it looks interesting...

Brussels Forum, Day two

My second day at the Brussels Forum started a bit late, due to jet lag and my need to get out for a run.  The first session I attended was on the situation in Japan.  Nik Gowing of the BBC made a comment about the communication issues with the Japanese government, and the Japanese participants on the panel were critical of the media, saying that the communication had been better than it was portrayed. 

The session on EU neighborhood policy was also interesting, there was some criticism that the U.S. had imposed economic sanctions on Belarus but the EU hadn't yet made a decision to impose economic sanctions.  After the recent elections that were considered fraudulent many protesters were jailed and several representatives of civil society in Belarus were present at the Forum.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brussels Forum, Day one

The Brussels Forum had a series of very interesting sessions on Friday.  Perhaps the most interesting was the first session:

BBC World Debate (On the Record)
Have the Western policies failed North Africa and the Middle East?
Baroness Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President, European Commission
Amb. Nabil Fahmy, Dean, American University, Cairo
The Hon. Jeanne Shaheen, Member, U.S. Senate

The comments and questions from the audience were very challenging, and we even had a young blogger from Egypt in the audience who pleaded for help with political capacity building.

Although you'll have to wait for the BBC to post the debate from the first session, there is video of all the other sessions that were on the record on the Brussels Forum website:

It was a very stimulating set of discussions, although a bit frustrating at times.  I happened to sit next to Barry Eichengreen at dinner, an economics professor from Berkeley, and we both complained that the session on the economy didn't point out that education in general, and higher education in particular is suffering from major cuts in the U.S., threatening both our economy and place in the world.  Both of us had tried to make a comment about this when the issue of education came up, since the commentators stated the importance of education in growing the economy.

Immigration also came up as a topic, with Richard Fischer and Senator Mark Warner pointing out that we need skilled immigration, and that we are making a mistake by training foreign students and then sending them back to their home countries -- they agreed that we should offer them a green card when they graduate.

I also attended a night owl session where we had a very interesting discussion about minorities in politics in the U.S., but it was off the record...

Transatlantic Conference on Minority Political Leadership – March 24, 2011

This is the third event of this type, hosted by the European Parliament and the Helsinki Commission, Congressman Alcee Hastings (D- Florida), in particular. This is only the second time I have attended, but it has been interesting to see how things have developed over the last year. At this event we heard from a variety of speakers on the challenges faced by minorities in getting into political office as well as issues of discrimination.

Besides Alcee Hasting, Barbara Lee (D-California) and Gregory Meeks (D-New York) were in attendance. The were also several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) including Harlem Desir (France - Socialists), Claude Moraes (UK - Labour Party) and Hannes Swoboda (Sweden - Socialists).  One of the key discussions was on developing a joint action plan between the U.S. and Europe on minority political participation, however, it's not clear how to get such a project moving forward.  Networks and strategies will continue to develop, but for now the key is mutual support and sharing of information.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Articles on the Far Right in the Economist

The Economist magazine has several articles on the far right in this week's edition, including an editorial which echoes many of the points Glyn Ford and I make in our editorial on the failure of multiculturalism.  The main article is on Marine Le Pen:

Monday, March 21, 2011

First major influx of Libyan refugees to Italy and Far-Right gains in France

As expected, Libyan refugees have begun to arrive in Italy.

As the conflict continues these numbers will be expected to grow, putting pressure on the EU to consider burden-sharing measures.

 Le Pen's national front makes gains in cantonal elections in France

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brussels Forum and the Impact of the Mideast Conflict in Europe

I will be attending the Brussels Forum that is put on by the German Marshall Fund this week (March 25-27).  The focus is on issues related to Transatlantic security, trade, etc...and immigration won't be very high on the agenda, but I will also be attending a conference on minority political participation, being held by the Helsinki Commission on Thursday.  I will blog from both events.

Europe is facing many challenges on the immigration front, including the prospect of refugees coming from conflict areas in the Middle East.  Although there is a European Border Agency (FRONTEX) it is relatively new and mainly focused on coordination, rather than taking actions on its own.  The EU is not yet in a position to come to the aid (see the article in my blog from March 10th) of countries dealing with inflows of refugees, despite the fact that this is one of the key areas of cooperation on immigration.  I will be curious to see if any of the discussions during the forum touch on these issues.  There seems to be a trend toward focusing on immigration and in particular immigrant integration as a security issue (see David Cameron's Munich speech), which would fit into the broader agenda of the Brussels Forum.  In the past I have been disappointed with the speakers chosen to talk about the immigration issue -- we'll see how things go this year.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

New MPI Report Proposes Targeted Administrative Actions to Advance Goals of the U.S. Immigration System

 A new MPI Report offers six proposals that the Obama administration could implement to improve the functioning and advance the core goals of the nation’s immigration system. They include establishing uniform enforcement priorities and defining what constitutes effective border control, strengthening immigrant integration policy creation and implementation, allowing applicants for immigrant visas to file in the United States and making use of prosecutorial discretion in removal proceeding filings.

None of the actions require new legislation and they all could be implemented by the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) and the White House.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

State Legislatures Slow on Immigration Measures

New York Times Article

At a talk I gave last week, I noted that many illegal immigrants in the U.S. are those who overstay their visas.  Here's an article from the Center for Immigration Studies (which takes a strong position for immigration control) that discusses the issue:  No Coyote Needed

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Roy Germano and "The Other Side of Immigration"

Roy Germano is a former grad student in the Government Department at UT and has had great success with his documentary "The Other Side of Immigration." Here's a link to his blog:

Germano Blog

German Marshall Fund Survey on Immigration

The German Marshall Fund has conducted a major survey on attitudes toward immigration in the U.S. and Europe:
"Transatlantic Trends: Immigration is a comparative
study of North American and European public
opinion about immigration and integration issues. The
focused nature of the survey allows for a close look
at national immigration debates, while cross-country
comparisons help to put national opinions against
the backdrop of other migrant-receiving societies."

Transatlantic Trends: Immigration

UT Border Views Series

UT started a "Border Views" series last summer that includes videos of UT Professors discussing a variety of issues, including my own comparison of issues in the U.S. and Europe. Here's the link:

Monday, March 7, 2011


Here's a link to a new project out of EUI, funded by the EU.

Some recent links to articles and video:

Muslim's role in Germany questioned

Anti-Muslim Protest in Orange County

In French - Eric Zemmour and l'UMP

My editorial on the failure of multiculturalism with Glyn Ford

The ‘Failure’ of Multiculturalism

Glyn Ford, former MEP

Terri Givens, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Over the past few months we have seen Angela Merkel, David Cameron and most recently Nicolas Sarkozy in serial denial of "multiculturalism". They point to problems in communities of immigrant origin and leap to the conclusion that the sole reason for these problems is that these people have shown an unwillingness to submerge themselves in the culture and principles of their adopted homelands.

However, there is a major problem with these claims. Neither Germany nor France have actually ever pursued policies that any self-respecting social scientists would describe as “multiculturalism,” while many countries—like the Netherlands and Britain—gave them up a decade ago in the early 2000s. Instead it is clear that these leaders are using this false dichotomy to play to a populist xenophobia and tapping into a discontent with immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular, that conveniently scapegoats them for the wider problems caused by the global financial and economic crisis.

These sentiments echo those of recent books by French journalist Eric Zemmour and German social democratic politician Thilo Sarrazin blaming the decline of France and Germany on the influx of Muslim immigrants and declining birthrates of natives. The problem with all these approaches is that they feed directly into the discourses of extreme-right and anti-Islam forces that are on the rise again in Europe and threaten to compound rather than alleviate the real problems facing both the indigenous and immigrant populations in Europe's inner-city areas.

In the 1980s and 1990s there existed an elite consensus to fight the extreme right through anti-racism measures such as the European Union's Racial Equality Directive and a “cordon sanitaire” that kept right politicians from cooperating with the far right. This consensus collapsed as conservative governments came into power across Europe after 9/11. Now pandering to intolerance threatens to poison community relations for decades in exchange for cheap short-term political gains that will dearly cost Europe. If our political leaders think that the solution to the challenges facing us are to turn inward on ourselves, rather than to go forward together, they are leaving a toxic legacy for future generations to come.