Politics & Policies

Immigration – How to build a new consensus

Points of reflection include:

  • ƒThe many benefits of running a tight ship on immigration policies. Governments need to rebuild public trust in the integrity and fairness of their migration-management system. Doingso will require minimizing immigration disorder and ensuring effective and orderly returnprocedures, while tipping the balance towards a more selective system that is better aligned with national economic and labor-market needs.
  • ƒ The challenges and crucial importance of communicating complexity. Policymakers need to think carefully about how to communicate their policy priorities and decisions, and the evidence that underpins them, to a concerned public. This includes speaking candidly about what the evidence does—and does not or cannot—say about hot-button issues such as immigration. This must be done in terms that can be readily understood by a wide audience of nonexperts and, when it comes to immigration, include an honest discussion of the benefits of a well-managed immigration system and the tradeoffs such a system can entail. These communications must also include concrete actions to address these emotive issues, especially in times of crisis.
  • ƒ The need to redress inequality by investing in communities. The rise of populism and nativism should serve as a wake-up call for mainstream policymakers on the importance of acknowledging and targeting disadvantage by adopting policies to redress the uneven costs of immigration, globalization, and economic crises. In striving to revitalize neglected regions, governments face tough decisions about whether to invest in costly social and economic development policies to help people stay—and attract new residents, especially immigrants— or to help people relocate to areas with more economic opportunities (at the risk of furthershrinking the fiscal base of struggling regions).
  • ƒ The promise of employing a whole-of-society approach to immigration and integration issues. In an era of growing “welfare chauvinism,” with populists calling to limit access to welfare benefits to citizens, policymakers should confront head on the perception that immigrants benefit disproportionately from government programs and services. Research has also demonstrated the advantages of moving away from programs that target certain groups,such as immigrants, and towards robust services available to and flexible enough to meet the need of all who qualify.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at In Search of a New Equilibrium: Immigration Policymaking in the Newest Era of Nativist Populism | migrationpolicy.org

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