Skip to navigation
Skip to main content
Report of the conference
University of California, San Diego
February 23, 2001
North America............................................................. 2
Asia—Japan and Malaysia................................... 4
Agenda and Participants..................................... 5
The 15th CIIP-CCIS workshop on immigration and integration was held February 23, 2001 at UCSD. The purpose of CIIP is to promote comparative research on immigration and integration issues among UC faculty and graduate students.
This workshop explored migration issues in North America, Europe, and Asia. The major points raised included:
Â· There may be a "window of opportunity" for new thinking about Mexico-US migration, due to (1) the election of new US and Mexican presidents; (2) slower labor force growth and faster formal sector job creation in Mexico, and (3) rapid job growth and low unemployment in the US. However, most participants were not optimistic that 2001 would bring about the migration policies they thought would be optimal. Instead, the consensus was that the most likely outcome of rethinking of Mexico-US migration would be a new guest worker program, and that may be blocked by disputes over whether guest workers should be linked to a new legalization program.
Â· Germany and the EU in 2001 are likely to acknowledge that they are areas of immigration, but it is yet clear how this acknowledgement will be translated into national or EU-wide immigrant admissions systems. Some of those involved in the German debate want to link planned immigrant admissions with successful integration, which has prompted a debate in Germany over what successful integration means, and which government carrots and sticks the government should utilize to assure successful integration.
Â· Japan and Malaysia are two major destinations for foreigners in Asia. Japan insists that most foreigners should be nonimmigrant trainees, language students, or entertainers who are not generally entitled to minimum wages, while Malaysia's dominant political party is apparently encouraging Muslim immigrants in Sabah to become naturalized Malays, thus increasing the percentage of Muslims in an area that once had a majority of residents who were animists or Christians.
Â· Empirical analysis of the housing and income mobility of foreigners in Germany suggests that movers within the country improve their housing and increase their incomes, although foreigners generally have lesser quality housing and lower incomes than Germans.
Â· internal migration within Mexico increased 20 percent
Â· emigration increased 200 percent
Beginning in 1996, formal sector employment expanded strongly, which should reduce informal employment and emigration pressures as the gap between labor force growth and job growth diminishes. CONAPO, the Mexican demographic agency, projected 1.2 million new labor force entrants a year between 1995 and 2000, and 1.1 million a year between 2000 and 2005. Between 1990 and 1995, formal sector employment increased by an average 200,000 a year, while between 1996 and 2000, the number of formal sector jobs increased by 700,000 a year, including 329,000 a year in maquiladoras, 147,000 in services, and 145,000 in construction. Agriculture is different—formal sector employment rose by only 2 percent a year, while unpaid family employment rose by 6 percent a year, suggesting that agriculture has significant excess labor.
This means that Mexico is approaching the magic X-cross, the time when formal sector job growth equals labor force growth. This point may be reached between 2005 and 2010.
Should the US and Mexico develop a guest worker program to manage migration during the hoped-for downward part of the migration hump? Many Mexicans would like to expand the Canada-Mexico guest worker program to the US. They that this program defines roles for both the Canadian and Mexican governments, e.g., Mexican consular officials ensure that employers and Mexican workers fulfill their contracts, including having the workers return to Mexico at the end of the season. The Mexicans who participate in the Canadian program are employed 6 to 7 months a year and, because they are guaranteed work and free housing and do return to Mexico, their remittances and investment in Mexico are considerably more then typical migrants in the US.
Gail Mummert emphasized the very different visions of migration, describing the case of a woman who had not migrated but dreamed of the US, and a person born in the US who considered his parents' village in Mexico to be his "home."
Wayne Cornelius discussed the window of opportunity for new thinking about migration opened by the election of new US and Mexican presidents, but warned that the net effect of "new thinking" about Mexico-US migration may be some type of guest worker program. Mexico would consider US enactment of a new guest worker program a success, and would likely promise to reciprocate by trying to target development assistance in emigration areas; reduce the transfer costs and increase the income impacts of remittances; and use migrant networks and hometown associations in the US to more aggressively promote development in the migrants' areas of origin. Mexico might also try to raise the skills of residents of high emigration areas to promote private investment in these places. the fox administration will refocus mexico's policy on the linkage between migration and regional economic development.
The discussion emphasized that the US is concerned about more than Mexican immigration (e.g. Cuba and the Caribbean are more important in Florida), which makes it less likely that there will be Mexico-US "special relationship" on immigration. Politics could also interfere. For example, the AFL-CIO and most immigration advocates favor legalization, but oppose guest workers, while Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) favors guest workers but opposes legalization. The US has traditionally dealt with Mexican immigration by making symbolic control efforts, and ignoring the entry of Mexicans who enter to work. The question is whether this familiar response of symbolically shutting the back door to illegals before opening front or side doors to immigrants or guest workers will be the outcome of the 2001 interest in immigration.
Straubhaar argues that Germany and Europe's immigration problems are linked to the failure to reform the welfare system. Labor markets are generally closed to unskilled migrants, but welfare systems are relatively open to legal migrants. Thus, the public perception of migrants has changed from persons who do menial jobs to those unemployed and on welfare. Illegal migrants and "new guest workers" provide some of the mobility missing in the German labor market.
Straubhaar believes that Germany should increase intra-EU mobility and allow migration levels to be set by market forces. However, the EU is more likely to believe predictions that in the past proved to be wrong about high levels of migration from new EU members, and thus impede intra-EU labor mobility by nationals of Eastern European nations unnecessarily for 7 or more years. For example, the Conference on the Movement of Persons coming from central and eastern European in 1991 dealt with projections of 1.5 to 2 million migrants a year from the ex-USSR—these projections proved to be far too high.
Philip Martin reviewed the role of immigration in recent German politics, noting that the current SPD-Green government elected in September 1998 made dealing with immigration one of its top domestic priorities. The new government proposed routine dual nationality, which would have transformed Germany from one of the industrial world's most restrictive countries on naturalization to one of the most liberal. The opposition parties, which maintained while they were in power that Germany was not a country of immigration, used popular opposition to the dual nationality proposal to defeat the SPD in state elections in Hesse in 1999. The federal government responded immediately, modifying the dual nationality proposal to make it a less generous option model-- children born of foreign parents in Germany are considered dual nationals until age 23, when they lose German citizenship unless they normally give up their old citizenship.
Immigration returned to the front pages early in 2000, when the computer industry asked the German government to allow the entry of up to 30,000 non-EU foreign professionals. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder responded positively, the opposition opposed the "green card" program in state elections but did not win the election, and the green card program went into effect August 1, 2000. An average 200 green cards a week have been issued, or about 5,000 in the first six months.
The discussion emphasized that the 1998 election was a true watershed, bringing the Greens for the first time into the federal government, and the Greens got the SPD to accept many of their immigration proposals. There was also discussion of the fact that Germany may be closer to the Scandinavian model of immigration—newcomers are put into categories with the expectation that individuals should not shift between categories—while the Mediterranean model is far more flexible, with US-style adjustment of status and legalizations.
There were two empirical papers the integration of foreigners in Germany that emphasize that Germans and foreigners who moved in 1984-85 improved their housing and incomes, but the foreigners who moved within Germany did not improve their housing and incomes as much as similar Germans.
Asia—Japan and Malaysia
Tsuda suggests that Japan has been unwilling to open itself to immigrants or guest workers because the control-oriented Ministry of Justice sets immigration policy, and its primary goal is control (the MOJ is described as "one of the most conservative, closed-minded institutions in Japanese society that still operates with ideologies of ethnic homogeneity, cultural purity, and a nation-state based on jus sanguinisâ€¦[and thus prevented Japan] from adopting more immigrant-friendly measures.")
Tsuda advocates an immigration policy that acknowledges Japan's need for foreign workers, but he is pessimistic that Japan will adopt such a policy. Instead, Tsuda predicts that Japan will modify current trainee and other programs that admit foreigners, but do not consider them to be workers entitled to minimum wages. Eventually, Tsuda expects Japan to open itself to foreign workers, acknowledging that some will settle, slowly making Japan more diverse. Tsuda cautions that the government will have to move very carefully to admit foreign workers so as not to stir a xenophobic backlash.
Kamal Sadiq reviewed the naturalization of foreigners in Sabah, a Malaysian state of 2.5 million with 500,000 or more unauthorized foreigners. He believes that the ruling UMNO party encourages at least some of these foreigners—most of whom are Muslims from the southern Philippines or Indonesia-- to become naturalized Malays, so that there will be more Muslim voters in the area. It is apparently easy to get the birth certificate necessary to obtain a Malaysian ID card—in some cases, it is easier for a foreigner to get a Malaysian ID card then a Malay born outside urban areas.
The discussion reviewed whether Asian societies' experience with immigration was and would be different from European and North American experiences, or whether Asia was simply at a different point on the immigration experience spectrum.
Agenda and Participants
UCSD Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS)
Friday, February 23, 2001
Meeting: Deutz Seminar Room, Copley International Conference Center , UCSD
Lodging: Best Western Inn by the Sea
7830 Fay Ave and Prospect Ave, La Jolla
Tel 858-459-4461, Fax 858-454-3941-- firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of CIIP-CCIS is to promote comparative research on immigration and integration issues among UC faculty and graduate students; faculty and students interested in comparative migration issues are invited to participate in the workshop; the meals on the agenda below will be provided for work shop participants.
The CIIP is supported by the UCB Center for German and European Studies to promote comparative analysis of the immigration and integration issues facing the industrial democracies. The UCSD Center for Comparative Immigration Studies is supported by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, UCSD, and the UC Pacific Rim Research Program (see http://www.ccis-ucsd.org)
Friday, February 23, 2001,
8:30AM Continental breakfast available, foyer of Deutz Seminar Room
9AM Welcome and Introductions
9:15 AM Session I. A New Migration Era?--Mexico-US Migration under Presidents Bush and Fox
Chair: Philip Martin, UCD
Agustin Escobar, CIESAS-Occidente
Gail Mummert, COLMICH and UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies
Wayne Cornelius, UCSD,
Discussants: John Trasvina, Office of the Special Counsel, Frank D. Bean, UCI
10:45 AM Break
11AM Session II: New Directions in Immigration Policy in Germany and the EU.
Chair: Wayne Cornelius, UCSD
Presenters: (15-20 minutes each)
Thomas Straubhaar, HWWA, Hamburg,
Philip Martin, UCD
Discussants: Gunther Dietz, CCIS, William Chandler, UCSD
2PM Session III: Recent Developments in Immigration in Asia
Chair: Wayne Cornelius, UCSD
Kamal Sadiq, CCIS-UCSD
Discussant: Amy Gurowitz, UCB
4PM Session IV: UC Faculty and Student Presentations
Chair: Philip Martin, UCD
Housing for Foreigners in Germany, Anita I. Drever and William A. V. Clark, UCLA
Does Migration Improve the Income of Foreigners in Germany? William A.V. Clark and Jamie Goodwin-White, UCLA
 Labor force growth may turn out to be slower, 950,000 to 1 million a year, as fewer teens, women, and older men feel compelled to go to work because breadwinners in formal sector jobs—permanent jobs enrolled in IMSS that last more than 3 months-- get higher-than-average wages plus access to medical services.
 Formal sector job growth has been accelerated by government policy changes, including reducing employer payroll taxes and covering some of the cost of IMSS services from general tax revenues.