The Transatlantic Council on Migration is a unique deliberative body that examines vital policy issues and informs migration policymaking processes across the Atlantic community. The Council’s work is at the cutting edge of policy analysis and evaluation and is thus an essential tool of policymaking. Launched in April 2008, the Council is an initiative of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC, convened by MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is the Council’s policy partner. For more about the Council, click here.
LATEST TRANSATLANTIC MIGRATION RESEARCH
The Netherlands: From National Identity to Plural Identifications By Monique Kremer
National identity has become a highly politicized issue in the Netherlands in the past decade, with many public figures voicing different opinions on what it means to be “Dutch.” Both right-wing and mainstream parties have adopted political rhetoric that appeals to the public’s growing anxiety about immigrants and their effect on local communities, and many have proposed policies designed to mitigate these fears. This new dialogue has marked a turn away from multiculturalism and a turn toward “culturalized citizenship” — the idea that being Dutch means adhering to a certain set of cultural and social norms and practices. Download Report
Immigration and National Identity in Norway By Thomas Hylland Eriksen
The number of immigrants and their descendants in Norway almost tripled between 1995 and 2011, resulting in increased debates about integration, immigration policy, multiculturalism, and national identity in recent years. The atrocities of July 2011 revealed an active, militantly anti-immigrant (particularly anti-Muslim) fringe that sees government’s acceptance of cultural pluralism as treacherous. This report assesses the connection between the recent rise of resentment against immigration and broader trends in Norwegian nationalism, and proposes a few policy recommendations with the aim of minimizing this rift in Norwegian society. Download Report
Identity and (Muslim) Integration in Germany By Naika Foroutan
Germany has become a country of immigration in recent decades, with one-fifth of its population comprised of immigrants and their children. Yet a dominant perception in public discourse and media is that of a homogenous German society in which those with a migration background cannot fully belong. This country case study explores how immigration influences national identity in Germany and the reciprocal influence that German national identity has on immigrants. Download Report
Exceptional in Europe? Spain’s Experience with Immigration and Integration By Joaquín Arango
Spain’s immigrant population increased from less than 4 percent of the country’s overall population to almost 14 percent in the span of one short decade. Unlike other European countries, however, Spain has not experienced a significant backlash against immigration, even amid an economic crisis that has hit the country hard and led to high levels of unemployment. This country case study from MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration explains Spain’s enduring openness to immigration and immigrants. Download Report
Contested Ground: Immigration in the United States By Michael Jones-Correa
Though historically a country of immigrants, the United States has seen its demographic landscape altered in new and important ways as a result of the changing nature of immigration flows. In recent decades, immigration has come increasingly from Latin America and significant numbers of immigrants are unauthorized. The spread of immigration beyond traditional immigrant destinations to communities with little prior experience of migration has sparked anxiety among the American public. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series on national identity in the age of migration, traces public sentiment and immigration policy developments of recent decades. Download Report
Understanding ‘Canadian Exceptionalism’ in Immigration and Pluralism Policy By Irene Bloemraad
Canada is far more open to, and optimistic about, immigration than the United States and countries in Europe, despite having a greater proportion of immigrants in its population than other Western countries. A frequently cited reason for this Canadian exceptionalism is Canada’s selection of most immigrants through a points system that admits people based on skills thought to contribute to the economy. Economic selection and a geography that discourages illegal immigration are not the only factors explaining Canada’s unique experience, however. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series on national identity, examines Canadian national identity, public opinion, immigration and immigrant integration policy, and multiculturalism. Download Report
French National Identity and Integration: Who Belongs to the National Community? By Patrick Simon
Since the mid-1980s, France has faced a contentious debate of crucial importance for immigrants and their descendents — defining what it means to be French. Though countries with rich histories of immigration have long accepted “dual belonging,” this concept has been criticized and perceived as at odds with a person’s commitment to French identity. A recent survey of French immigrants, however, shows that multiple allegiances are not an impediment to integration; it is possible to “feel French” and maintain links with a country of origin. However, because of external perceptions, native French citizens are far less likely to accept this adoption of French identity.
The Relationship Between Immigration and Nativism in Europe and North America
By Cas Mudde
Far-right parties across Europe are gaining momentum, as witnessed by their recent successes at the ballot box in Greece, France, and elsewhere. While immigration is thought to be a major factor fueling the parties’ rise, this report finds that although there is clearly a relationship, the connection is not as straightforward as is often assumed. The report examines the electoral performance of far-right parties in Europe and North America since 1980, finding that high levels of immigration do not automatically lead to more votes for radical-right parties. Download Report | Press Release
Building a British Model of Integration in an Era of Immigration: Policy Lessons for Government
By Shamit Saggar and Will Somerville
Despite experiencing large-scale immigration flows and settlement over the past half century, the United Kingdom has not developed a formal integration program. Few public policies have specifically sought to advance immigrant integration, and the political debates surrounding immigrant integration have often been fraught and destabilizing, reflecting deep-seated ambivalence in British society about immigrants and immigration. The authors offer a menu of policy options and actions the government should consider to achieve a well-thought-out approach.
Rethinking National Identity in the Age of Migration By Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Large-scale immigration has led to unprecedented levels of diversity and demographic change, transforming communities across the Atlantic in fundamental ways and challenging closely held notions of national identity, particularly amid heightened economic insecurity. The Transatlantic Council on Migration convened to consider these issues of national identity, social cohesion, and the backlash against multiculturalism; this Council Statement examines the roots of society’s anxiety over immigration and outlines ten steps for fostering greater cohesiveness.
Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future By Will Kymlicka
Despite substantial evidence to the contrary, a chorus of political leaders in Europe has declared multiculturalism policies a failure – in effect mischaracterizing the multiculturalism experiment, its future prospects, and its progress over the past three decades. This report challenges the recent rhetoric and addresses the advancement of policy areas for countries, examining factors that impede or facilitate successful the implementation of multiculturalism.
The Role of the State in Cultural Integration: Trends, Challenges, and Ways Ahead By Christian Joppke
For more than a decade, states have experimented with a range of civic integration policies that require immigrants to learn the official language of their host country and acknowledge its basic norms and values — or risk losing social benefits and sometimes even residence permits. The challenge for liberal states is to strike the right balance between policies that are aggressive enough to further social cohesion, yet restrained enough to respect the moral autonomy of immigrants. This is especially difficult when it comes to regulating sensitive identity issues, particularly with respect to religion.
The Centrality of Employment in Immigrant Integration in Europe By Randall Hansen
The two sides of the debate on immigration and integration in Europe share an underlying assumption that the problem is cultural, while disagreeing on whether it is the result of too much or too little respect for cultural differences. Both get the issue wrong, this report contends, calling attention to the inability of policies to ensure immigrants acquire and retain work. Employment, not culture, must be the basis for immigration policy in Europe, the author suggests.
COUNCIL PUBLICATIONS (click on each to expand list of publications)
• MANAGEMENT OF MIGRATION AND BORDERS
Regularizations in the European Union: The Contentious Policy Tool By Kate Brick
Though contentious, regularization (typically referred to in the US context as legalization) remains a frequently utilized policy tool to address the European Union’s unauthorized immigrant population. Since 1996, over 5 million people have been regularized through a variety of methods, which this Insight details. This work informed the Transatlantic Council on Migration meeting, “Restoring Trust in the Management of Migration and Borders.” The resulting Council Statement, authored by MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou, offers a menu of policy options and actions governments can take to build a “whole-of-system” approach to controlling illegal immigration while also creating the political space necessary for reforms of their immigration systems. Download Report | Read Council Statement
Irregular Migration in Europe By Christal Morehouse and Michael Blomfield
While irregular migration frequently makes headlines and policymakers are under increasing pressure to reduce illegal immigration, the estimated population of unauthorized immigrants in EU-15 countries has declined on average for almost a decade since 2002. European governments are collaborating extensively on the management of their external borders, as this report details, discussing the detected and estimated scope of irregular migration in the European Union. This work informed the Transatlantic Council on Migration meeting, “Restoring Trust in the Management of Migration and Borders.” The resulting Council Statement, authored by MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou, offers a menu of policy options and actions governments can take to build a “whole-of-system” approach to controlling illegal immigration while also creating the political space necessary for reforms of their immigration systems. Download Report | Read Council Statement
Improving the Governance of International Migration Contemporary states are ambivalent about the global governance of migration: They desire more of it because they know they cannot reach their goals by acting alone, but they fear the necessary compromise on terms they may not be able to control and regarding an issue that is politically charged. Currently, there is no formal, coherent, multilateral institutional framework governing the global flow of migrants. While most actors agree that greater international cooperation on migration is needed, there has been no persuasive analysis of what form this would take or of what greater global cooperation would aim to achieve. The purpose of this book, the Transatlantic Council on Migration's fifth volume, is to fill this analytical gap by focusing on a set of fundamental questions: What are the key steps to building a better, more cooperative system of governance? What are the goals that can be achieved through greater international cooperation? And, most fundamentally, who (or what) is to be governed? Purchase a Copy
A New Architecture for Border Management By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Elizabeth Collett
This report commissioned to inform the work of MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration for its meeting on “Restoring Trust in the Management of Migration and Borders” examines 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.
• MIGRATION AND PUBLIC OPINION
German Public Opinion on Immigration and Integration By Oya S. Abali
Though nearly one-fifth of Germany’s population is comprised of immigrants and their descendants and the country has been receiving immigrants for the last four decades, Germans have long perceived immigration as a temporary phenomenon. This paper examines German public opinion on immigration and integration, fniding that views have been fairly consistent over time.
America’s Views of Immigration: The Evidence from Public Opinion Surveys By Roberto Suro
This report examines Americans’ perplexity over immigration: Their anxiety and ambivalence about illegal immigration, but widespread support for immigrants in general and for legalization to address the status of unauthorized immigrants. For most Americans, however, immigration remains a second- or third-tier issue, far from their most pressing concerns.
British Attitudes to Immigration in the 21 st Century By Ben Page
Since 1999, concern about immigration in Britain has reached levels never seen before in the history of public opinion research, and surveys show strong support for tougher immigration laws. But opinions vary: younger, better-educated people and those who tend to live in areas with a longer history of immigration are more tolerant than older, less-educated people in more settled communities with low levels of immigration, as this paper explores.
Promoting Stalemate: The Media and US Policy on Migration By Roberto Suro
In this paper, the author argues that US media coverage of immigration and the transformation of the media business have hindered effective immigration policy reform for years, playing an important role in influencing public opinion and creating the current policy stalemate.
The Media and Migration in the United Kingdom, 1999 to 2009 By Terry Threadgold
The print and broadcast media in the United Kingdom typically use a “template” to frame coverage of migration, focusing primarily on asylum seekers, refugees, unauthorized migrants, and migrant workers. As a result, the media contribute to a perception that immigration is in perpetual crisis – thus influencing policy monitoring and reform, the author argues.
The Evolution of German Media Coverage of Migration By Gualtiero Zambonini
The German media has helped reinforce the image of immigrants as “foreigners” and “aliens,” dating back to the arrival of the first guest workers in the 1950s and 1960s, contributing to an atmosphere of polarization among the German public, the author suggests. Yet as Germany has given increased focus to integration policies, media coverage has evolved as well.
Immigrating from Facts to Values: Political Rhetoric in the US Immigration Debate By Drew Westen
Voters’ brains connect words, phrases, images, values, and emotions, and these connections — known as networks of association — influence their receptiveness to political messages, often far more strongly than facts and rational arguments. In this paper, the author dissects the messaging surrounding immigration.
Political Rhetoric in the Netherlands in Times of Crisis
By Maarten Hajer and Wytske Versteeg
This paper examines the intersection of migration, integration, and security issues that have been rapidly and dramatically politicized in the Netherlands over the last decade and how politicians such as Geert Wilders and the media characterized events such as the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh as well as the release of the controversial film, Fitna.
Future Immigration Patterns and Policies in the United Kingdom By Will Somerville
This paper examines the major policy changes that have occurred in the United Kingdom over recent years, amid a changed environment and immigration context. The author articulates strategies that policymakers should focus on as they address key challenges with respect to immigration: public confidence, immigrant integration, and good governance.
The Future of Migration and Integration Policy in Germany By Rita Süssmuth
Germany has undertaken a set of steps since 2000 to reform its laws and shape public opinion in order to bring about better immigrant integration and managed migration. This policy shift ended a longstanding public and political pretense that Germany is not a country of immigration. Yet the author finds that amid the progress, more remains to be done to meet the needs of the 21 st century.
• COMPETING FOR TALENT
Talent in the 21st Century Economy
Council Convenor and MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Will Somerville, and Hiroyuki Tanaka examine how for a growing number of countries, attracting the "right" talent is at the top of the policy toolkit for increasing economic competitiveness. They outline how governments and employers view and access highly skilled talent and detail the decision-making factors weighed by highly skilled individuals as they decide where to migrate.
Hybrid Immigrant-Selection Systems: The Next Generation of Economic Migration Schemes
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Will Somerville, Hiroyuki Tanaka
As governments think more seriously about attracting and selecting immigrants for their education, skills, and, increasingly, their ability to plug specific holes in the labor market, the authors discuss the emergence of hybrid systems that combine ideas drawn from points systems with other, more demand-driven and employer-led methods of selection.
The Growing Global Demand for Students as Skilled Migrants
International student education is a large, growing, and lucrative industry in many developed countries. Students not only help to maintain domestic institutions' competitiveness, they also represent a valuable pool of skilled immigrants for governments wishing to recruit "tried and tested" individuals into their labor forces. As Lesleyanne Hawthorne details in this paper, it is not surprising, therefore, that Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries are innovating widely with policies to attract and retain international students.
Soft, Scarce, and Super Skills: Sourcing the Next Generation of Migrant Workers in Europe
Elizabeth Collett and Fabian Zuleeg examine how the selection criteria that developed-country immigration systems widely use (particularly points systems and occupational "shortage lists") fail to capture three important skill groups: soft, scarce, and super. In this paper, the authors discuss key policy recommendations to improve governments' skilled-immigrant recruitment strategies.
• RECESSION AND IMMIGRATION
Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse: Where Do We Stand?
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Madeleine Sumption, and Aaron Terrazas with Carola Burkert, Stephen Loyal, and Ruth Ferrero-Turrión
Immigrants, particularly men and youth, have been disproportionately hit by the global economic crisis that began in fall 2008 and now confront a reality of dwindling budgets for public services and immigrant integration programs, this report for BBC World Service reveals. The report, which has a particular focus on five North Atlantic countries -- Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States – finds that the unemployment gap between immigrant and native workers has widened in many places. It offers analysis of a number of trends, including the fact that some immigrant-destination countries that historically have been countries of emigration, such as Ireland, Greece, and Portugal, may be reverting to earlier trends.
Download Report | Press Release
Migration and the Global Recession
By Michael Fix, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jeanne Batalova, Aaron Terrazas, Serena Yi-Ying Lin, and Michelle Mittelstadt
The global financial crisis that began in September 2008 can be viewed as having a deeper and more global effect on the movement of people around the world than any other economic downturn in the post-World War II era of migration, finds a new MPI report commissioned by the BBC World Service. The report explores how the recession has affected the movement of some of the world's more than 195 million migrants and their remittances in locations around the globe. It provides data on migration, remittances, employment, and poverty rates for immigrants and the native-born alike; and examines the policy changes some countries have enacted to suppress migrant inflows, encourage departures (including through recent "pay-to-go" plans), and protect labor markets for native-born workers.
Download Report | Press Release
in the United Kingdom: The Recession and Beyond
By Will Somerville and Madeleine Sumption
Will the recession reduce immigrant inflows to the United Kingdom and encourage
return migration as immigrants find it more difficult to get jobs? There is already
evidence that Eastern European workers are arriving in significantly smaller
numbers. Still, the report makes clear that immigration will by no means cease
during the recession in part because the downturn also is affecting immigrant-source
countries and because migration decisions are not governed solely by economic
and the Labor Market: Theory, Evidence, and Policy
By Will Somerville and Madeleine Sumption
With the current economic downturn leading to questions over the value of economic
migration, this report examines labor-market conditions in the United Kingdom.
While there is consensus among economic researchers that immigration has only
a small impact on the average wages of all workers, the report suggests that
policymakers cannot ignore immigrants’ role in the labor market. Interventions
to assist low-skilled workers, integration policies, and employer-sponsored training
are essential tools to mitigate real and perceived effects of immigration.
Migration and the Economic
Downturn: What to Expect in the European Union
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Madeleine Sumption, and Will Somerville
As unemployment rises and household budgets shrink across the European
Union, policymakers, analysts, and the public are beginning to ask what
the consequences will be with respect to immigration. The implications
of the recession should not be underestimated. The downturn is likely
to affect the kind of immigrants that arrive and leave, with implications
for labor supply in certain sectors, for integration, and for the host
Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas
As the United States sinks into a recession that may be the worst since the Great Depression, the economic crisis raises fundamental questions about future immigration flows to and from the United States and how current and prospective immigrants will fare. This report, a research product of MPI's new Labor Markets Initiative, examines how the number of immigrants has changed since the recession began; how legal and illegal immigration flows may change; and how immigrants fare in the labor market during downturns.
Download Report | Press Release
More on the Labor Markets Initiative here
• IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION
Immigrant Integration in a Time of Austerity By Elizabeth Collett
With austerity at the forefront of European government policy debates and rising debt levels sure to catalyze additional difficult public spending decisions, immigrant integration programs have been an early place for budget cuts in some countries. In this report, MPI European Policy Fellow Elizabeth Collett offers fresh analysis of how immigrant integration programs are faring in a number of EU countries: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. While the economic and political climate offer some explanation for governments’ response, the report details how those factors alone are insufficient to explain countries’ differing approaches to immigrant integration programs. Download Report | Press Release
Demographic Trends in Mexico: The Implications for Skilled Migration
Elena Zúñiga of the Universidad Aut ó noma de Zacatecas, Unidad de Estudios del Desarrollo and independent consultant Miguel Molina examine the growing flow of Mexican professionals heading to the United States – and how projections suggest the demand in Mexico for professionals could outstrip supply after 2025.
the Demographic Course across the Mediterranean
By Philippe Fargues
This paper, prepared for the Transatlantic Council on Migration, examines
the demographic future for the Middle East and North Africa through 2030 – and
notes that the MENA region’s growing supply of young, educated
workers is occurring against the backdrop of Europe’s aging population
and below-replacement fertility. While at first sight it appears obvious
that the MENA region will play a pivotal role in Europe’s hunt
for skilled workers, the paper outlines that the European Union isn’t
the sole destination for MENA migrants.
Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa: The Most Demographically Extreme Regions
By Wolfgang Lutz, Warren Sanderson, Sergei Scherbov, and Samir K.C.
The world’s two most demographically extreme regions are sub-Saharan
Africa, which is experiencing the most rapid population growth, and Eastern
Europe, which has the fastest shrinking population. In this paper, prepared
for the Transatlantic Council on Migration, the authors track the region’s
divergent paths through 2030 and examine labor-force trends, educational
attainment, and implications for future migration to Europe.
• THE CITIZENSHIP PAPERS: PRIORITIZING CITIZENSHIP
Once a narrow, largely placid legal backwater, citizenship has become
a dynamic policy vehicle for promoting the political incorporation and
more complete integration of immigrants. These five papers, commissioned
for the Council’s April 2008 meeting, examine various facets of citizenship.
Dual Citizenship in an Age of Mobility
Thomas Faist and Jürgen Gerdes of Bielefeld University discuss the
evolution of global views towards dual citizenship and discuss its benefits
Local Voting Rights for Non-Nationals in Europe
This paper, by University of Nijmegen Sociology of Law Professor Kees Groenendijk,
examines what is known and what should be learned about local voting
rights across Europe and their effect on integration, naturalization,
and political participation.
Rethinking National Identity in the Age of Migration A discussion on the anti-immigrant political movement in both Europe and the United States and its implications for community cohesion and national identity, with Patrick Simon, Institut national d’études démographiques, Cas Mudde, University of Georgia; Charles Kamasaki, National Council of La Raza; Frank Sharry, America’s Voice; and moderated by MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou.
October 24, 2012 Listen to Audio |
Watch Video | Purchase the Book
The Role of National Governments in Promoting Immigrant Integration
Rethinking European Identity in the Age of Immigration
This MPI Europe panel discussion explores the factors driving societal discontent in Europe and the role played by immigration. Panelists include Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, and former UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke. Listen to/download the event audio podcast here.
MPI EUROPE aims to promote a better understanding of migration trends and effects, provide a forum for the exchange of information on migration policies that primarily relate to Europe, analyze factors regarding refugees, and assist governments and other charitable and educational organizations with migration policy matters.
US-EU Immigration Systems project identified ways in which European and US immigration systems can be substantially improved to address major challenges policymakers confront on both sides of the Atlantic, in the context of the current economic turmoil and in the longer term.
Migration, Public Opinion and Politics
This third book of the Transatlantic Council on Migration, published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, analyzes how media coverage, public opinion and political rhetoric can play an important role in advancing — or impeding — immigration policy reforms in Europe and the United States. The volume examines what publics across the Atlantic think about immigrants and immigration. It also asks: What effect does media coverage have on the prospects for changing the laws and practices that shape immigration and immigrant integration? And how should politicians and others who champion reform speak about immigration?
The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development, and evaluation of
migration and refugee policies at the local, national, and international levels.