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In addition to the top 10 migration issues of 2005, we have selected three issues to watch in 2006 and beyond.
The European Union's Membership Talks with Turkey
The UK Presidency of the European Union (EU) made Turkey's membership talks its top priority for this fall. Austria's concerns nearly derailed the process, but the decision to open talks with its neighbor Croatia removed that obstacle. After a 40-year campaign, Ankara agreed in October to the EU's terms for the talks. Still, the prospect of a large Muslim country — which sent thousands of guest workers to Europe in the 1960s and early 1970s — joining the EU has many on edge, and membership is by no means guaranteed.
Increasing Reliance on Detentions and Deportations
Detaining and deporting migrants who do not have legal status or have violated the terms of their visas has long been a tool for governments. But the use of detentions and deportations to control illegal migration in the United States, Italy, Malaysia, and most recently Morocco (see Issue#7) have led to accusations of human rights violations. The reliance on detentions and deportations — and the media attention they generate — will most likely increase in the future.
Migrants Voting in Home-Country Elections
In January, thousands of Iraqis living abroad and those of Iraqi descent voted in the country's first free elections. The political influence of diaspora populations is becoming more recognized now that over 90 countries allow dual citizenship (though not all allow citizens outside the country to vote). Mexicans and Colombians in the United States may sway the outcome of elections in their respective countries in 2006.