The Migration Information Source asked leading migration experts from all over the world, "What surprised you most this year?" Their answers came from the headlines as well as personal observations about what the media does — and does not — report.
Peter D. Sutherland
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on International Migration and Development
"The most surprising aspect of international migration, for me, has been the continuing absence of coordination between departments of state in host countries on the various aspects of migration policy."
Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
"What I found most surprising in 2006 was that no measure to legalize illegal aliens and increase legal immigration reached the president's desk. The sense of inevitability of such a measure among opinion-leaders was only reinforced by the massive illegal-alien marches in the spring and the passage of such an amnesty/foreign-worker bill by the Senate in May.
"Despite quibbles over specifics, support for the Bush-McCain-Kennedy approach of amnesty plus increased inflows was well-nigh universal among elite institutions — Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media, Big Religion, Big Academia — making it all the more astonishing that the public resistance to such a measure was able to prevail in the House of Representatives."
Executive Director, National Immigration Forum
"I was surprised that, prior to the November elections, many politicians in Washington, DC believed that demogoguing the problem of illegal immigration would play better with voters than enacting comprehensive legislation.
"I was not surprised that the message coming out of those elections is that voters want solutions and fixes, not slogans and fences."
Executive Head, International Metropolis Project, Canada
"From this Canadian's point of view, one of the most remarkable trends was that of the return migration of highly skilled professionals to Hong Kong, China, and other Asian countries. Although return migration is a common phenomenon, the number of returnees, especially to Hong Kong, is significantly higher than one would expect.
"Why this is happening is not completely clear, but we can plausibly suppose that the rapid economic development of the country and the consequent increased opportunities for highly paid employment figure large in people's decision to return.
"Furthermore, the number of people from the People's Republic of China seeking to immigrate to Canada and elsewhere appears to be in rapid decline, and we expect that China's position as Canada's top source country will give way to India in the not so distant future, perhaps with a large returnee flow to accompany this shift.
"With a continuation of the Asia's economic development and the creation of increasingly high calibre universities in the region, Canada and other OECD countries will need to take into account the possibility that they can no longer consider China and other Asian countries as providing a stable large supply of highly skilled immigrants and students into the future."