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Views from the Center

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A Well-Intended Waste at Malta? The New EU-Africa Deal Will Do Little for the Migration Crisis

On Thursday, the leaders of 30 African countries signed a European Commission action plan tasking them–in exchange for a $2 billion “emergency trust fund”–to take back economic migrants looking to settle in Europe. If this sum is meant as a bribe, it is a bad deal. With remittances dwarfing foreign aid worldwide ($580 billion versus $135 billion in 2014), migration is a better deal for Africa than aid.

What the EC’s 17-Point Refugee Action Plan Ignores

At last, a glimmer of hope in Europe’s refugee crisis: on Sunday 25 October, the European Commission released a 17-point plan to manage refugee flows along the Western Balkans route. The agreement is a welcome sign of political progress. However, the policy prescriptions fall far short of the wide-ranging, creative, long-term plan necessary. An effective refugee strategy requires a more holistic approach on three dimensions: space, institutions and time.

A Self-Interested Approach to Migration Crises

Recent research overturns the standard narrative about refugee crises: that addressing them mainly means curtailing the conflict and poverty that “push” migrants away from home and slashing the excessive generosity that “pull” them into other countries. Instead, pragmatic and self-interested policymakers should consider that they often waste resources when trying to reduce push factors, and they can spark an inhumane and inefficient race to the bottom by acting individually to reduce pull factors. Through broad international cooperation to get people out of camps and into the labor force, though, they can transform refugees from a burden into an investment.

Remittance Economics 101 for Populist Politicians

Around 1900, many claimed that Italian immigrants were harming the US by sending money abroad. All the way back to 1728, Jonathan Swift believed that outflows of money hurt Ireland. The idea keeps coming back because, if you think about it for a minute, it makes sense. Money buys stuff, and if it buys Mexican stuff, it’s not buying American stuff. But if you think about it for one more minute, it falls apart. Here is a basic course in the economics of remittances for populist politicians. 

Strange Bedfellows – Politics of Immigration Policy in the 2016 Presidential Election

Spoiler alert: this is not a blog post about #DumpTrump. However, the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and last week’s Republican debate – demonstrates an increasing focus on U.S. immigration policy and reform. While many candidates are sticking to the oft-repeated refrain of ‘border security first,’ some have taken unexpected stands.

Migration into Europe: A Problem with No Solution

One needs just to look at the newspaper headlines to see that the problem of migrants is growing daily in Europe and that its gravity is greater than before. The number of migrants this year has already exceeded 100,000 (about 15 percent higher than the last, record, year);  the number of the dead has reached at least several thousand although the statistics are murky since no one has incentive to compile them. People just die in desert or sea and no one cares. Practically every European country thinks about either deporting the migrants, making the asylum laws more difficult, or simply shutting the borders. 

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