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(Kaci Farrell contributed to this post and preparations for the roundtable)
Last week, I hosted a roundtable here at CGD to discuss how the United States and other rich countries might better provide safe haven and opportunity to potential migrants from developing countries that are in acute need—particularly the victims of natural disasters.
This question has been at the forefront of my mind since the earthquake ravaged Haiti on January 12.
President Obama spoke yesterday on overhauling U.S. immigration. He went straight to the thorniest issue, what to do about the millions of unauthorized migrants already here. Obama wants a third path between the extremes of blanket amnesty and mass deportation.
That compromise approach, he goes on to sketch, would be a combination of sending troops to the border, cracking down on employers, and obliging unauthorized immigrants to:
Do the costs of international migration outweigh its benefits for the poor? Many people I talk with suspect that migration should be regulated on development grounds—because it might bring large social costs, as well as private costs that the migrant is too poorly informed to account for.
A good first step is to measure the private benefits, because that gives us an idea of how large those other costs would have to be in order for international migration to be a net harm.
This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post
Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.
But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.
Dubai has many unique features—it is a city state arising improbably out of the desert, boasting some extraordinary buildings, including a hotel shaped like an Arabian dhow and a 12 million sq ft shopping mall, with a fountain four times the size of the one at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But despite this uniqueness, its labor market policies may well serve as a model for other countries. Dubai has actively sought talent from all corners of the world—its population of 1.7 million has four times as many foreigners as locals. These guest workers staff hotels, drive cabs, build skyscrapers, a