Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Dallas Fed

I have been attending a conference at the Dallas Fed Immigration Policy in an era of Globalization

The papers presented will become part of the third edition of the book Controlling Immigration
I am working with Phil Martin on the chapter on Germany.

Panels on the U.S., Canada and Australia began the conference, as "Nations of Immigrants."  Panelists examined issues around the maintenance of the status quo in the U.S. which is beneficial to business and people who benefit from hiring low-wage/low-skilled workers, particularly from Mexico.  Canada was highlighted as a country that has very positive public opinion on immigration, although it's not totally clear what factors into this attitude.  Australia has had a rather unsuccessful push to limit refugees that land there, and is trying to work with other Asian countries to help with the processing of refugees and asylum seekers.

For the European cases, some of the clear themes coming out of the conference is the focus on immigrant integration policy.  It is a way to provide access to language programs and civics education for immigrants but it is also used as a form of immigration control, particularly in the area of family reunification. Due to court rulings and human rights policies, many European countries have been unable to restrict family reunification immigration, but this is beginning to change through the use of language requirements prior to receiving a visa.

There were also excellent papers and discussion around shifts in policy in countries like the UK, where issues such as 9/11 and securitization have impacted liberal policies and a shift in government has refocused policy on control.

The Scandinavian cases focused particularly on the role of the welfare state and history to explain similarities and differences and the discussion focused attention on the role of politics and populist parties.

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