International Cooperation on Managing Migration and Borders
June & July 2021 Meetings
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed, in many cases severely, migration opportunities, as governments introduced restrictions on visa issuance and travel that prevented people from moving outright and imposed public-health requirements that made many journeys difficult, if not impossible, including for those in need of asylum. These policies led to sharp declines in immigration in many regions. At the same time, the pandemic’s health and socioeconomic effects have deepened livelihood insecurity dramatically in poorer countries, adding to the incentives for many to move—and, particularly when legal migration options are unavailable, to take greater risks in the process. These events have multiplied the challenges of managing borders more effectively yet humanely.
In a pair of virtual meetings in mid-2021, the Transatlantic Council on Migration explored current and potential avenues for cooperation to address perennial border pressures and periodic surges in migration in ways that boost migration’s benefits and reduce its adverse consequences for all concerned.
The first meeting, Managing Migration Pressures at Borders: What Role for Bilateral and Regional Cooperation?, took place in June 2021 and explored how destination-country governments and regional and international organizations are addressing migration pressures at borders, and how and where they can work most effectively with countries of origin, transit, and first asylum to develop more productive policy responses. The second meeting, International Cooperation on Managing Migration: Recent Progress and The Way Forward, followed in July 2021 and centered on questions including: What are the common interests, principles, and “red lines” that should guide cooperation between countries of destination, origin, and transit? To what extent do current negotiations mark a departure from past approaches? And what will it take to translate political commitments to cooperation into stable and enduring partnerships?
The following papers were presented at these convenings:
Migration Management and Border Security: Lessons Learned
What strategic lessons can be learned from the migration- and border-management challenges North America and Europe have faced in recent years? This reflection by a former high-ranking homeland security official explores a range of timely issues, including the need to rethink multilateralism and improve international cooperation, address migrant smuggling, and engage in advanced planning to avoid future crises.
The Challenge of Coordinating Border Management Assistance between Europe and the Maghreb
To address cross-border challenges, the European Union and its Member States have increasingly partnered with neighboring countries, with those in the Maghreb region of northern Africa playing a particularly important role. This report examines the border security situation in the Maghreb and European efforts to work with Maghrebi partners to strengthen border management. It finds a mismatch in priorities stymies cooperation.
The Central Role of Cooperation in Australia’s Immigration Enforcement Strategy
Cooperation with other countries has become a central part of Australian border enforcement. Partnerships with countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Nauru, and Papua New Guinea have helped Australia curb irregular maritime migration, but also come at significant costs. This report explores the current and future role of cooperation in Australian immigration enforcement policy.