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The British Medical Association just released a new statement on the international migration of health workers. Sadly, it repeats a common, self-contradictory, profoundly unethical position on international high-skill migration.
Next week, President Obama will meet with Congress to begin discussing changes in the way that the United States regulates who can enter this country and what they can do here. The elephant in the room: global development. U.S. immigration policy transforms the lives of low-income people from all over the world, but you won’t hear much about them.
Efforts in the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform kicked off last Thursday with a hearing convened by Senator Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Though conventional wisdom may hold that prospects for reform would only dim in times of economic decline, the hearing, entitled, "Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?”, brought together eight panel witnesses offering diverse perspectives but an underlying consensus that Congress should act on immigration this year. And with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s testimony yesterday before the full Senate Judiciary Committee, the stage is being set for President Obama to address the issue of comprehensive reform later this month.
The global economic crisis is already creating pressure for the United States to further restrict skilled migration. The economic stimulus act that President Obama signs today limits the ability of many companies receiving stimulus money to freely employ highly skilled foreign workers on H-1B visas.
By providing fiscal stimulus and strengthening financial sector regulation, of course. But that may not be enough. Will the U.S. and the Europeans also revisit the idea of a global social contract -- to protect millions of people losing their jobs in developing countries? In a speech I delivered to the Dutch Scientific Council in December, I argued that
Eldis, the online aggregator of development policy, practice and research at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, is conducting a survey to identify "the most significant new piece of development research of 2008." This strikes me as having roughly the same statistical validity as American Idol does for when it comes to finding new singing talent. Still, as with Idol and other talent shows, the entertainment value of a popularity contest is hard to dispute!
Last night, ABC's "What Would You Do?" featured an intriguing hidden camera experiment on attitudes towards migrant workers. The set up was simple: in a New Jersey deli, actors portrayed a cashier hurling insults and refusing to serve a pair of Latino day laborers because they did not speak English and carried "illegal alien money." The point was to capture the responses of unknowing customers who were asked for help.