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Nuernberg, Germany October 23-26, 1993
Immigration and Integration Issues in the 1990s:
Focus on Germany
with the support of the German Marshall Fund of the United States
Mercure WÃ¶hrdersee Hotel,
Dürrenhofstr 8, D-90402 Nürnberg, Germany
(Tel 911-99490; Fax 911-994-9444)
Tel 911-179-3091, Fax 911-179-3258
Saturday, October 23, 1993. Arrival Day.
7:00PM Drinks and dinner at Heilige Spital in the Old Town
Welcome: Frank Loy, President, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Moderator: Michael Teitelbaum, Sloan Foundation and Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform
Speakers: Philip Martin, Professor, University of California, Davis, and Thomas Straubhaar, Professor, Military University, Hamburg
Ã¯ Immigration involves three fundamental questions: how many, from where (or who should have priority to enter), and in what status should immigrants enter. How are industrial countries answering these questions? Whose interests tend to be most important? What time dimensions enter into immigration debates?
Ã¯ What are current immigration flows into industrial countries and how do countries rank in their openness to immigrants? Is there an upper limit on the immigrant share of the population (Switzerland, 17 percent; Germany, 9 percent; or the US., 8 percent) or are such numbers misleading because each country has a different understanding of who an immigrant is, and how immigrants are integrated into a new society?
Ã¯ What influences the absorptive capacity of a nation? Gross numbers? History? Demography and Economics? Geography? Regional concentration/dispersal of immigrants? Views about cultural homogeneity vs. multiculturalism? Is the absorptive capacity affected by the speed at which the ethnic/racial/religious composition of the population changes? Should the annual inflow of immigrants be set by an annual ceiling or "quota." Should it vary with domestic socioeconomic conditions such as the unemployment rate, or with international events, such as the number of refugees and asylees?
Ã¯ How large is the contribution of immigration to population and labor force growth e.g., in a country with a declining native population, such as Germany, where immigration prevents the population from shrinking?
Each group will have a discussion leader and rappatour.
Moderator: Wolfgang Weickhardt, Vice President, Federal Office for the Recognition of Refugees
Speakers: David Martin, Professor, University of Virginia and Jonas Widgren, Director, International Center for Policy Development
Commentary: Roland Schilling, Head of UNHCR Office, Zirndorf
Ã¯ The Geneva Convention provides for an individual right to seek asylum. How should this fundamental human right be balanced against the state's right to control the entry of non-nationals?
Ã¯ What is the proper balance of rights vs. regulation in cases where, e.g., asylum applicants arrive with fraudulent documents or no documents? What issues arise when visa requirements and airline deny passage to asylum applicants?
Ã¯ Worldwide, there are 18 million refugees. However, 1 to 2 million asylum applicants already in the industrial country in which they want to stay: what is the proper balance of effort and expenditure on these groups. Have industrial countries created incentives for refugees to become asylum applicants, e.g. ,should a refugee who is protected in a second country be prohibited from applying for asylum in a third?
7 PM Dinner
Moderator: Frank Loy, President, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Speaker: Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, German Commissioner for Foreigners
6: 30 PM Dinner /Panel Discussion
Moderator: Elizabeth Midgley, President, Working English
Speakers: Cornelia Schmalz Jacobsen, Alessandra Venturini, Patrick Weil, Friedrich Heckmann and Ursula MehrlÃ¤nder
Ã¯ What does integration mean in the various industrial countries? Do policies that actively try to foster integration for particular groups work better than an overall integration policy?
Ã¯ Do policies aimed at cultural maintenance result in more migrants returning home or do they merely handicap the immigrants who remain?
Ã¯ How important is citizenship? Should birth in the host country lead to automatic citizenship, or should there be an application process? How rigorous should be the requirements for naturalization?
Moderator: Philip Martin
Speakers: Michael Teitelbaum, Sloan Foundation, and Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and Elmar HÃ¶nekopp, Economist, German Institute for Labor Market Research
Ã¯ What is the importance of the pull of relatively high-wage job and benefit options in industrial countries, unemployment and low-wage pressures that push people from south to north, and networks that link immigration and emigration areas? How do these factors change in their importance over time and from country to country? How can industrial countries confronted with unwanted immigration reduce it over that period?
Ã¯ If EC- or North American Free Trade Agreement-style economic integration is the best long-run policy to reduce labor migration, but such policies increase emigration in the short term, how should policymakers and opinion leaders shape the debate on such trade policies?
Ã¯ What role does ideology play in immigration politics, such as the free-market-oriented Wall Street Journal asserting that free markets require open borders? To what extent does free trade "require" free migration?
Ã¯ Since immigration into industrial nations tends to add people at the extremes of these countries' socioeconomic ladders, current immigration flows increase inequality. Should immigration policies be designed to avoid such inequality-increasing effects?
Ã¯ Should immigration policies be modified to respond to socioeconomic needs, such as admitting nurses to deal with labor shortages or young immigrants to finance public pensions, or do such attempts to use immigration policy to offset demographic trends fail in any event and wind up postponing necessary structural reforms?
7 PM Dinner for those staying Tuesday night
Wednesday October 27 Final departures.
Report of the Migration Seminar, Nürnberg October 23-26, 1993
As we reviewed the discussions, several themes were apparent. First, immigration and integration issues seem certain to move ever higher on the agendas of industrial democracies because immigration is likely to persist for demographic, economic and socio-political reasons, and no country is satisfied with its integration policies. However, it was emphasized that the world is not on the march, that most migration flows are between one or two sending counties and one receiving country, and that the fear of the stranger can easily be exploited.
Second, the discussion repeatedly returned to the theme of "trade-offs" that need to be considered. When dealing with most domestic and international issues, there is an easy-to-understand goal; increase economic and wage growth; reduce joblessness, crime, and poverty; and preserve peace and accelerate economic growth in developing nations. Immigration is different: the consensus seemed to be that industrial nations cannot remain closed to immigrants, but neither can they have open borders. Many factors influence where a country winds up along the closed-open spectrum, and how it reaches this decision: history in the form of colonial ties or recruitment programs; economics and politics in the form of domestic groups that want borders open or closed; international considerations and social factors such as accepting the family members of resident immigrants. These factors--in various combinations and permutations--answer the three fundamental immigration questions of how many immigrants; from where; and in what status do newcomers arrive.
The third leitmotif was that the industrial democracies are uneasy about the newcomers in their midst. No country is satisfied with its integration policy; there are fears that newcomers may not assimilate, or will integrate in a manner that requires natives to change their notions of what it means to be a citizen. Americans seemed surprised by the apparent inability of some Europeans to recognize that most immigrants and their children will stay, so that those Europeans who cling to the hope that newcomers will be persuaded to depart are making an inevitable integration challenge more difficult. Europeans seemed surprised to learn that, despite several models of integration over the past two centuries, Americans continue to debate whether the proper integration metaphor is a melting pot or a salad bowl.
Philip L. Martin*
February 9, 1994
Migration Patterns and Policies 1
The Goal-Outcome Gap 3
International Labor Migration 5
A World on the Move 5
Why International Migration? 6
Demand Pull 7
Supply Push 8
The Migration Challenge 11
Industrial Country Responses 12
The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the fundamental issues behind current European immigration and integration issues among 40 opinion leaders in an off-the-record setting. The seminar was held in Nürnberg, so that participants could observe German officials deciding asylum cases in nearby Zirndorf.
Five topics were addressed, ranging from worldwide immigration patterns to the issue of whether Germany should introduce dual nationality. This report summarizes the discussion of each issue.
The world appears to be on the move. There are an estimated 100 million immigrants, refugees and asylees, and authorized and unauthorized workers living and often working outside their country of citizenship. If this "nation of migrants" were assembled in one place, it would be equivalent in size to the 10th largest nation in the world.
Second, this "nation of migrants" has a significant impact on both emigration and immigration areas. Emigration nations receive at least $75 billion annually in remittances, making labor, by some estimates, second only to oil as the world's most important traded good. Most of the world's migrants move from one developing country to another--the industrial democracies of Western Europe, North America, and Asia have only about 40 percent of the world's migrants--but immigration is nonetheless a top domestic priority in Brussels, Washington, and Tokyo because a significant share of the migrants they host are "unwanted," and entry pressures seem to be rising rather than falling.
Third, industrial democracies that coordinate policies in areas from defense to economics to the environment are only at the beginning stages of coordinating their immigration and integration policies. The coordination process is furthest along in Western Europe, where the European Union has taken the first steps to coordinate policies on asylum seekers and visa entry requirements. However, when viewed in the familiar tri-polar sense of Europe, America, and Asia, the surprise is that immigration and integration are still perceived quite differently in each area, making it hard to find a common basis for coordination.
There are two competing visions of immigration that make it hard for an interested citizen to know whether she should welcome or fear the prospect of more immigrants. Two anecdotes from the United States illustrate the hopes and fears about immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic. The optimistic extreme flows from past fears that proved to be groundless. In the 1750s, Benjamin Franklin worried that Germans would not learn English, and thus become unassimable, yet two centuries later, Dwight Eisenhower, a descendent of these German immigrants, was a U.S. President.
The pessimistic extreme is embodied in the probably apochraphyl story of a dying Indian chief in the American midwest at the end of the 19th century. The young braves gathered around his deathbed asked: what was your generation's biggest mistake. His reply: we failed to control the immigration of the white man.
Both of these cases emphasize that the truly important consequences of immigration may not be apparent for decades. It is also important to remember that emigration and immigration played very different roles in nation-building on the two sides of the Atlantic. Even though France and Germany were destinations for immigrants at the turn-of-the-century, the process of nation-building in Europe was shaped more by emigration than immigration including, in some countries "laws of return" and policies that transmit citizenship through parents, even if parents and child are far from Western Europe. In the United States, by contrast, a nation of immigrants was quick to embrace the notion that the act of starting over in a new land was an important tie binding together diverse immigrants, so that the path to naturalization was easy for all, and especially easy for those born in the country, who became U.S. citizens by their birth.
Migration has played different roles in nation-building in the old and new worlds, but the common challenge of dealing with high and rising immigration pressures, as well as integrating the newcomers who have arrived, may lead to a convergence in migration policies. For example, most recent immigration policy reforms have had a Grand Bargain quality Ã± a restrictionist policy such as stopping guestworker recruitment in Western Europe in 1973-74 was accompanied by an admissionist policy that permitted the families of settled guestworkers to join settled guestworkers. Similarly, the United States in the mid-1980s coupled the introduction of sanctions on employers to deter illegal entries with an amnesty for some of the illegal aliens who had settled or worked in the country.
The Goal-Outcome Gap
This Grand Bargain approach to dealing with migration problems reflects the competing optimistic and pessimistic visions of how immigrants will ultimately be viewed by the receiving country. But Grand Bargain approaches to immigration reform guarantee frustration, a sense that governments are unable to articulate and implement consistent migration policies.
There are several reasons why Grand Bargains fail, including the fact that people eager to migrate to another country are flexible and quick to learn, so that packages of toughness and generosity tend, over time, to error on the side of generosity. For example, no amnesty program is complete Ã± there are always persons who just miss the work or residency cutoff dates and, if they plead their cases, are legalized or at least tolerated. Enforcement efforts, on the other hand, typically lag behind the ingenuity of workers and employers who want to begin a mutually beneficial work relationship.
These factors combine to help migration channels to widen over time. In this sense, migration is unlike trade between countries. Trade channels tend to narrow over time unless international organizations and treaties stiffen the resolve of national governments to resist special interests who would like to block imports of particular commodities. There are no international organizations or treaties aimed at narrowing migration channels directly Ã± indeed, humanitarian organizations such as UNHCR and economic organizations such as the OECD and ILO have promoted international refugee and labor migration. A relaxed international environment and the ingenuity of eager migrants makes the pressures different in trade and migration matters.
International Labor Migration
- most people don't move; most people never cross national borders to live or work in another country
- most migrant workers move from one developing country to another
- countries that have successfully made the transition from exporting to importing labor range from Korea to Spain.
Given economic differences between nations, the surprise may be how little international migration occurs.
The world's population in 1994 is about 5.6 billion, and almost 3.5 billion people are in the 15 to 64 age group from which the world's 2.5 million workers are drawn. The world's population and its potential work force are increasing by 80 to 85 million persons annually.
Neither people nor income are distributed equally around the globe. The World Bank divides the countries on which it collects data into 22 "high-income" and about 100 middle and low income countries. High-income countries--the United States and Canada, Western European nations such as from Sweden to Spain, and Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Australia--include 15 percent of the world's population, but they accounted for over three-fourths of the world's $22 trillion GDP in 1991. The average income in these rich countries was over $21,000 annually, versus a worldwide average $4000.
These data suggest that an average person from one of the poorer 100 countries could increase his or her income 5 to 6 times by moving into one of the 22 richest countries. Young people are responding to the opportunity to "go abroad" for opportunity, but most of them travel only a short distance to another developing country. About 60 percent of the world's "nation of migrants" is in developing countries, and there is a great deal of not-well-studied labor migration between developing countries.
However, the 40 or so million immigrants, refugees and asylees, and authorized and unauthorized migrant workers in the industrial democracies are an important socio-economic and political issue. Many are unwanted, in the sense that their settlement was not anticipated--as with guestworkers who settled in Western Europe or applicants for asylum whose claims that they would face persecution at home are rejected, but who nonetheless are allowed to stay. The United States recognized as legal about 9 million immigrants who arrived since 1982, but one-third of them initially arrive illegally, and then had their status legalized. Polls in North America and Europe indicate that a majority of the public wants such unwanted immigration curbed.
Why International Migration?
- demand-pull factors that draw migrants into another country,
- supply-push factors that encourage migrants to leave their own countries, and
- networks of friends and relatives already settled in destination countries who serve as sources of information and anchor communities for newcomers.
The relative importance of each factor changes over time in particular migration streams.
However, in what has become a familiar story, demand-pull, supply-push, and network factors evolved to prove the aphorism that there is nothing more permanent than temporary workers. In all of the industrial democracies, migration has seemingly taken on a life of its own, with migrants continuing to arrive in Western Europe, the United States, and Japan despite historically high unemployment rates. Migrant workers are often prized for their flexibility: they are willing to accept jobs that offer low wages, unpleasant or seasonal work, or unusual hours. As a result, migrant workers are found in the same industries and occupations in all industrial democracies: construction, agriculture, and service jobs that offer low wages, such as restaurants and hotels, or night and weekend work, such as nursing.
Relatively few migrant workers are employed in industries in which trade in place of migration is a near term option. Labor-intensive manufacturing industries such as garments and shoemaking are often dependent on migrant workers and protected from developing nation imports, but freeing up trade in goods would directly affect less than one-fourth of the migrant workers in industrial countries. Thus, while free trade is desirable as a means to accelerate economic growth, it will not immediately curb the desire to employ migrant construction workers, janitors, and nurses.
Two examples help to illustrate the dimensions of the job creation challenge. Almost half of the workforce in developing nations are farmers, but 1 billion farmers are not needed to produce the world's food and fiber--in the industrial democracies, less than 5 percent of the workforce produces such an abundance that rich countries feel compelled to subsidize prices and incomes for their farmers. Developing countries, on the other hand, often tax their farmers by requiring them to sell their cotton or coffee at below world prices to a government agency, which in turn exports the commodity at the world price and pockets the difference. Farming thus generates only one-fourth to one-third of the average income in countries such as Mexico and Turkey, and ex-farmers crowd booming cities from Mexico City to Manila. Once rural residents migrate to these capital cities, it is much easier for them to migrate aboard, either by boarding an airplane and, a day or two later, arrive in Frankfort or Los Angeles, or making contact with a middleman who promises to smuggle them abroad.
A second example of the job creation challenge facing the world is the fact that many workers in developing nations do not seek work because they know jobs are scarce. In the industrial democracies, half of the population is typically in the workforce, so that the United States, with a population of 260 million, has a workforce of about 130 million. In developing nations, one-third of the population is typically in the workforce, so that Mexico, with 90 million people, has a workforce of about 30 million. Many of the Mexicans who are not in the workforce are urban women who would seek jobs they were available.
The communications revolution refers to the fact that potential migrants know far more about opportunities abroad than did turn of the century migrants from southern and eastern Europe who set out for North and South America and Australia. As in the past, the major source of information is countrymen already settled abroad who can tell the migrants about opportunities in Paris or Los Angeles, and in many cases provide advice and funds to migrate, legally or illegally. The industrial democracies perhaps unwittingly add to their allure by portraying, in TV shows such as Dallas and Dynasty that are exported even to the remote corners of the globe, a life of opulence.
Some migrants have their expectations raised by these portrayals of life in the industrial democracies, and many hope to achieve a better life for themselves by migrating to the just slightly richer areas. Others are motivated to go abroad by contractors, labor brokers, and other often shadowy middlemen who promise, for a fee often equivalent to 1/4 to 1/2 of a migrant's first year's earnings abroad, access to the promised land.
The transportation revolution is simply the fact that the cost of traveling has dropped enormously, while convenience has increased geometrically. Even the most remote peasant is less than one week away from the bright lights of New York--once he gets to the capital city of his country, the international network of flights can take him anywhere within a day or two for less than the average monthly earnings of even an unskilled and seasonal worker in an industrial country, $1000 to $2000.
The third revolution that encourages migration is the rights revolution, or the spread of individual rights and entitlements within many nations. All of the industrial democracies have strengthened personal rights vis-a-vis government agencies, and most have signed international treaties that, for example, commit them to provide refuge to those fleeing persecution. One effect of this rights revolution is that, once an migrant arrives in an industrial country, he or she can avoid deportation for 2, 3, or even 4 years.
While a migrant's case winds its way through the legal system, industrial countries face a Hobson's choice. If they prohibit the migrant from working because his legal right to do so is in doubt, then the government must support the migrant. If the migrant is permitted to work, then the humanitarian right not to be returned to persecution becomes a backdoor guestworker program.
The Migration Challenge
But the surprise to many observers is how few, not how many, migrants move into the industrial democracies. Most people do not move: most people will live and die within a few miles of their birthplace. International migration remains an extraordinary event despite the evolution of demand, supply, and network factors that encourage migration. Furthermore, most of those who migrate internationally move only a short distance, so that 60 percent of the world's migrants move from one developing nation to another. One unlikely country, Iran, includes almost one-fourth of the world's 19 million refugees.
The 40 million migrants in the industrial democracies are significant. But it should be emphasized that most people do not migrate despite ever more incentives to do so. The industrial democracies are not being overrun by a tidal wave of immigrants. The migration challenge remains manageable, and responsible policymakers may not be well-served by doomsday scenarios such as those painted in the film March from Africa, in which desperate Africans set out for Europe accompanied by news crews while political leaders there debate what to do to stop them. The logical quick fix for such mass migrations is tight border controls and relief outside the industrial democracies to avoid rights and settlement, but there are steps that can be taken to avoid such crises.
Industrial Country Responses