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© 2007 The German Marshall Fund of the United States. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in
writing from the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Please direct inquiries to:
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
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T 1 202 745 3950
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E info@gmfus.org
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send an email to info@gmfus.org.
About GMF
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a nonpartisan American public policy and grant making
institution dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe.
GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working on transatlantic issues, by convening leaders
to discuss the most pressing transatlantic themes, and by examining ways in which transatlantic cooperation can
address a variety of global policy challenges. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen
democracies.
Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF main-
tains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has
seven offces in Europe: Berlin, Bratislava, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, and Bucharest.
This report benefted substantially from the contributions and work of Te Rockfeller Foundation and the
Bellagio Study and Conference Center. GMF thanks Te Rockfeller Foundation for its support.
About The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bellagio Study and Conference Center
The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller Sr. to “promote the well-being” of
humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. It is one of the United States’ largest private founda-
tions, working internationally to expand opportunities for poor and vulnerable people and to help ensure that
the benefts of globalization are shared more equitably. The Bellagio Study and Conference Center is central to
this commitment, and its programs encourage critical thinking about and creative responses to some of the most
pressing issues of our time, especially those directed at alleviating poverty and vulnerability. The Center hosts
more than 140 fellows and 50 conferences each year.
Table of Contents
Introduction ...............................................................................3
Economic Dimensions .................................................................3
Migrant Integration and the Question of National Identities .........6
Balancing Act: the Security-Rights Nexus ...................................9
Conclusion .............................................................................. 11
Bellagio Fellows ...................................................................... 12
FINAL REPORT | 3
Introduction
In June and July 2006, the German Marshall Fund of the
United States, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation,
convened the Bellagio Dialogue on Migration, a four-week
program of workshops, cultural events, and keynote addresses
to examine and advance thinking on the challenges that
international migration poses to Europe, the United States,
and migrant countries of origin. Starting with the idea that sig-
nificant migration to and from the United States and Europe
will continue into the foreseeable future, the Bellagio Dialogue
on Migration brought together more than 150 policymak-
ers, academics, civil servants, community-based practitioners,
foundation representatives, and artists from 15 countries to
identify effective approaches to some of these challenges.
The Bellagio Dialogue explored wide-ranging and multifaceted
issues associated with international migration in order to glean
insights, share best-practices, and propose an agenda for future
research. The approach of the month-long project was to treat
migration as an enduring phenomenon and seek to make it
work better for all those who are affected by it. To that end,
the month-long dialogue undertook the question of interna-
tional migration by dividing it into three broad categories: the
economic dimensions of migration for sending and receiving
countries; the social dimensions of migration facing newcom-
ers and their host societies; and the intersection of migration,
security, and rights. While each facet of migration was dis-
cussed by different groups of participants, it became clear that
the division of immigration into the various issue areas was an
artificial one and that real solutions would require a compre-
hensive approach.
Over the course of the month, participants assessed the effects
of global forces such as economic competitiveness on interna-
tional migration; confronted the challenges of managing diver-
sity in Western democracies, including integration, religious
pluralism, and equal opportunity; and evaluated the balance
between national security and immigrant rights. This report
is intended to capture the key debates, dilemmas, and tensions
that emerged from this uniquely structured dialogue.
Economic Dimensions
The discussion at Bellagio focused on the question of how
to better manage the flow of migrants across borders so as to
increase the benefits of international migration and create a
mutually advantageous outcome — or what the participants
called a “win-win-win” scenario — for source countries,
destination countries, and migrants themselves. It was clear
from the discussion at the workshops that the impacts on these
respective actors varied considerably depending on the extent
to which cooperation on critical issues had occurred. How
individuals and countries respond and the benefits that they
accrue is conditioned by the degree to which migration is seen
as a collective problem with identifiable economic roots. As
globalization intensifies, migrants exit their countries of origin
in search of more economic opportunity. At Bellagio, all par-
ticipants emphasized that there was a necessity for more inten-
sive communication and greater policy coherence between the
actors involved in the migration debate. Furthermore, many
agreed with then Congressman Jim Kolbe’s (R-AZ) assertion
at the closing conference, “the case is clear: compassion and
economic interests can — indeed, must — coexist.”
1
As an example, within receiving or destination countries,
research presented at Bellagio suggests that economics plays
a significant role in social integration. While gross economic
disparities may reinforce differences and perpetuate the mar-
ginalization of migrant groups, effective economic integra-
tion that comes as a result of policy action can facilitate social
incorporation and reduce negative impacts in localities and
regions. Upon arrival in their host countries, migrants inevita-
bly become part of the domestic labor force, and, as such, may
contribute to increased labor market flexibility. This provides
both obstacles and opportunities for governments in receiving
countries, neither of which is being addressed effectively at
this time.
1
All quotes included in this document are taken from on-the-record
events including the armchair discussions and keynote addresses
throughout the month and the closing conference. All workshops
sessions were held under Chatham House Rule and comments made
during those sessions are not attributed to individual participants.
4 | BELLAGIO DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION
Impact of migration on developing countries
It is in the self-interest of migrant-receiving countries to be
selective about the quantity and the quality of labor migration
that they permit to enter their workforce. Seen in the context
of international competitiveness, it makes good economic
sense to target a limited, but specific, number of highly-skilled
migrants for entry as they can fill employment gaps, contribute
to economic productivity, and enhance the outputs of both
businesses and the nation as a whole. However, as participants
argued, this demand-driven model of picking the best and the
brightest comes at the expense of sending countries because it
leads to the loss of their most skilled workers. Institutionalized
brain drain of this type significantly thins the talent pool avail-
able in sending countries and clearly threatens the prospects
for both political and economic development. Even among un-
skilled migrants, it is frequently the most entrepreneurial who
leave, a dynamic that only further depletes sending countries
of their best human capital. Here, the flow of knowledge and
skills among countries is uni-directional and the distribution
of advantages is unbalanced.
Participants at Bellagio emphasized that as long as sending and
receiving countries do not align national policies affecting mi-
gration, these dilemmas will persist in the current global politi-
cal economy. Although not a specific topic of the workshops,
discussion inevitably revolved around the failure of current
developmental policies and the need for more effective incen-
tives to keep those individuals vital to the process of political
stability and economic growth at home. If one accepts the
argument that the loss of each worker in the sending country
significantly impacts the potential for that country to achieve
its developmental goals, policymakers in migrant countries of
origin are challenged to determine what conditions would en-
courage skilled and unskilled individuals alike to stay in their
communities and contribute to the welfare of their country.
In general terms, participants agreed that the solution must
emphasize economic opportunity and increased standards of
living in the sending countries, but how to achieve this is still
being debated even among experts in the developmental com-
munity. Questions concerning the need for capacity-building
and the ability of developing countries to absorb human and
financial resources were discussed, but remained unresolved.
These latter points were especially important when the debate
turned to harnessing the power of “diasporas” and increasing
the opportunity for return migration, or “circularity.”
Some participants observed that the Mode Four commitments
outlined in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
— introduced by India during the Doha Round — could be
considered a critical link between trade, migration, and devel-
opmental policies. Although created by India specifically to
address its national needs in the service industry, it conceptually
provides an initial framework for the temporary movement of
persons across borders to provide specific, time-constrained
employment activities of nearly any type. It addresses the need
of developed countries to respond to domestic labor require-
ments and yet encourages the return of workers — including
the financial means and skills they acquired while working
abroad — back to the country of origin. Moreover, it could
reduce the pressure driving illegal immigration by providing an
alternative through temporary channels. In essence, it generates
the “virtual circle” needed to address the range of problems as-
sociated with the international migration of skills.
However, some participants noted that current commit-
ments on Mode Four made by developed countries are mainly
targeted at high-skilled workers and have limited value for de-
veloping countries whose comparative advantage mainly lies in
low- and medium-skilled services. Other participants argued
that the importance of the temporary movement of workers
has not been recognized by the Organisation of Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries since their
immigration policies are mainly aimed at permanent migra-
tion and rarely include temporary stay provisions.
Diasporas
Diasporas, or populations of migrants from a single country
living abroad, potentially create a vibrant network of connec-
tions between the social, economic, and political contexts in
their countries of origin and destination. Because diasporas
constitute a direct link between the two contexts, academics,
governments, and development agencies have increasingly
touted the possibility that they can serve as a source or catalyst
for economic development. As evidence, a number of partici-
pants at Bellagio pointed to the vast quantity of remittances
FINAL REPORT | 5
that are sent by migrants to their families at home each year
and called for a means to harness the development potential
of these large sums. Similarly, they emphasized that diasporas
could and have been used as a mechanism that assists in trans-
ferring knowledge, skills, and financial resources back to their
country of origin, thereby directly aiding the development
process. Through the explicit creation of synergistic policies
that effectively leverage the social, intellectual and financial re-
sources of these “diasporic networks,” governments can thereby
establish the conditions for their own economic growth.
It is clear from the discussion that an active diaspora offers
the potential for substantial input into the political and eco-
nomic trajectory of developing countries. From a diaspora-
for-development standpoint, the questions for the policy and
research communities revolve around
best-practices for engaging these diaspo-
ras, specifically how diasporas can be best
organized so they can effectively contribute
to their countries of origin. Issues related
to the creation of critical masses, identifica-
tion of best-practices, and replication of
effective models remain outstanding, as do
emotional engagement of migrants beyond
second or third generations in their “home”
communities.
There were participants who were less
enthusiastic about the power and durability of diasporas
and more concerned about “moral hazard” questions. These
individuals cautioned that allowing diasporas to be a first line
of response for the problems of development would actually
foster an unhealthy dependence by communities and regions
on external forces and would, moreover, relieve governments
in developing countries of their responsibility to address criti-
cal policy questions on their own. Some participants, while
accepting the viability of transfers of private funds for public
projects related to development, voiced strong opposition to
these funds being appropriated by governments due to the
possibility of corruption and waste. Finally, there were seri-
ous concerns about the capacity of diasporas to contribute to
political and economic instability.
While the role of diasporas in the economic development of
sending countries remains a contested question, there was broad
consensus that development will not and should not be expected
to occur by remittances alone. Successful development strategies
must be more comprehensive than leveraging migration-related
capital and require serious consideration given the dramatic
changes that are taking place as a result of globalization.
Effects of labor migration for developed countries
As mentioned above, developed countries facing globalization
increasingly seek ways to increase their competitiveness and
promote entrepreneurship within their labor force. For years,
this has meant, in part, hiring skilled labor from abroad. In
an economic climate in which high-skilled labor is a coveted
resource, some participants observed that developed countries
are now in competition with each other
to attract the best and the brightest. This
global competition for talent, dubbed by
some as “human capital mercantilism,”
underscores the idea of labor as a com-
modity to be traded internationally. To stay
competitive, receiving countries intention-
ally tailor their legal immigration policies
to attract the most desirable migrants, in
the process increasing the number of visas
available in critical sectors or industries.
Participants at Bellagio emphasized that the
policies that underlie these practices have increasingly come un-
der fire as a result of several concerns. First, there are national
security concerns that derive from easy entry and exit across
national borders. Second, there are workforce training concerns,
specifically those that emanate from countries not using the
talent that its education system has created. This problem has
been made more pronounced as labor unions in developed
countries have pointed to data suggesting that the importation
of labor from developing countries has led to a rapid, down-
ward spiral in wages in both skilled and unskilled industries. Fi-
nally, there are ongoing questions that migrant workers trained
in developed countries may move to other countries — home
or otherwise — taking their knowledge, skills, and resources
with them, in the process increasing the comparative advantage
of other countries.
Diasporas…
potentially create a
vibrant network of
connections between
the social, economic,
and political contexts in
their countries of origin
and destination.
6 | BELLAGIO DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION
The tension that exists on this latter issue — that which exists
between the sharing of intellectual and financial capital be-
tween developed and developing countries, remains one of the
most critical issues on the policy agenda at this time. Solutions
must be developed that recognize the importance of collective
economic welfare, the wisdom of integrating streams of knowl-
edge and resources for the common good, and the potential
for co-development strategies. Participants emphasized that
these strategic goals can only be accomplished through more
coherent and consistent policy engagement by developed and
developing countries, and that this effort had not yet occurred
to a significant degree.
Migrant Integration and
the Question of National
Identities
The social inclusion of legal, permanent newcomers is in the
long-term interest of both migrants and their host societies.
The subject of integration — approached separately from that
of citizenship — arose many times throughout the month at
Bellagio, and each time participants indicated what was meant
by integration in the specific national contexts they discussed.
While the desired degree of incorporation varied a great deal
across contexts, it was generally agreed that integration refers
to the economic and civic participation of immigrant groups
in their host societies. It was also widely agreed that integra-
tion differs from assimilation in that integration does not
call for migrants to fundamentally change their identity or
practices. Rather, integration was understood to be a two-way
process in which both migrants and host society make certain
accommodations to promote the economic and social inclu-
sion of newcomers.
There was consensus among participants that understanding
how migrants are integrated into full membership in their host
society hinges on the migrants’ and the societies’ understand-
ings of identity and solidarity. As international migration flows
have increased to a record-setting volume and it becomes
apparent that national borders no longer bound homogeneous
populations, ambiguity about what constitutes group identities
is simultaneously thrown into question and viewed as increas-
ingly important. This reflects the paradox identified in one
meeting that while group identities (and associated ideas of
belonging and solidarity) are historically contingent, they are
at once entrenched and weighty.
In the United States and Europe, the presence of migrants
generates concerns among the host society and politicians
about national loyalties and the security issues that accompany
uncertainty about loyalties. Some participants shared the con-
cern that in a globalized world, even a formal national affilia-
tion doesn’t guarantee an individual’s loyalty to a state. Other
participants challenged this line of thinking, asserting that the
national loyalty of migrants didn’t have to be an either-or deci-
sion between where they had come from and where they had
settled, but that it was possible to have loyalties to more than
one country.
Citizenship and the State
The subject of citizenship also generated strong debate, both
in the legal and conceptual senses of the term. Defined legally,
citizenship is a contract between an individual and the state,
conferring certain benefits and entailing certain responsibili-
ties. In the conceptual sense, citizenship conveys membership
or belonging to a nation, and includes a bond of solidarity
with other members, one’s fellow citizens. These two ideas are
closely related: while migrants may in some cases be granted
citizenship in the legal sense, it is up to society to acknowledge
them as full members. Participants cited Germany as one place
where even those who had been granted legal citizenship con-
tinued to be referred to as “foreigners with German passports.”
For migrants, the question of whether or not to pursue citizen-
ship in their new countries is not always clear. For example, in
places where dual citizenship is not allowed, migrants some-
times chose not to naturalize rather than renounce their origi-
nal citizenship. In the case studies that were presented, a clear
distinction emerged: citizenship is a social contract that natives
never have to sign, while immigrants must undergo selection
and testing. One difference to emerge across the Atlantic was
that in the United States, which has historically defined itself
as a nation of immigrants, it is assumed that migrants who
are legally permitted to do so will become citizens and fully
FINAL REPORT | 7
incorporate into society. In Europe, where national identities
are perceived as hereditary, not acquired, the idea that migrants
can become a country’s newest citizens is only reluctantly con-
ceded. In practice, the national identities that individuals as-
sume are in many cases more fluid than the formal affiliations
granted (or withheld) by states. A discussion of transnational-
ism, defined as the processes and networks linking countries
of origin to migrant host countries through the members of
the diaspora who maintain relationships and investments in
both places, highlighted the flexibility of individual identity.
The ease with which people and capital flow across borders
presents certain challenges to traditional ideas of citizenship,
and some suggested that international migration also presents
an immense challenge to the closed structure of nation-states
themselves. Those who viewed the high volume of internation-
al migration as a paradigm shift called for immigration policies
to be made with the interests of both sending and receiving
countries in mind. Still others suggested that it is in the interest
of individual countries to be open to changes to the national
identity (especially in the United States, where the national
character is steeped in the idea that the nation’s composition is
forever changing).
Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism
In light of recent adjustments to multicultural policies in many
European countries, a conversation about various approaches
to immigrant integration yielded a dynamic, fruitful debate.
Proponents of assimilation urged that in order for immi-
grants to become members of their host societies, they must
adapt to the existing society, which they believe should remain
unchanged by immigration. Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam
Ahmed Aboutaleb likened this to vehicles merging onto a high-
way on which members of society were already driving. In his
view, the role of a politician is to create the conditions to facili-
tate the merge, but it is ultimately up to the migrants to change
their behaviors and beliefs — the cars on the highway may
accommodate them to some extent, but the rules of the road
and the overall flow of traffic do not change. An assimilationist
approach, however, does acknowledge important lines between
the public and private spheres, and between laws and tradi-
tions. While migrants can be expected to follow the laws of
their new lands, including those that would seemingly conflict
with their religious and cultural traditions, the same traditions
can be maintained to the extent that they do not conflict with
the legal code of the host society.
On the other side of the coin, a multiculturalist approach
maintains that the process of immigrant integration is a
two-way street that involves changes and accommodations
both by migrants and their host societies. One multicultural-
ist approach to identity and belonging suggests that a national
identity — or “we” — exists, but is constantly redefined and
renegotiated by the addition of new members to the polity.
German MEP Cem Ozdemir said, “You need to work with
people as they are and make the people who want to transform
the society stronger. Don’t lose sight of the goal — not to draw
stereotypes, make lines deeper, and borders bigger, but to find
solutions.” Other proponents of multiculturalism argued that
it softens the edges of integration precisely because it does not
call for wholesale assimilation. One participant stated that
multiculturalism is uniquely valued in the United States, where
a number of universities and other institutions recognize
diversity as a criterion for excellence.
Most participants agreed that the key to integration lies
somewhere between the extremes of assimilationism — where
differences are minimized and culture is homogenous — and
multiculturalism, where de facto segregation often replaces
real integration. Dr. Alejandro Portes of Princeton University
proposed that an intermediate approach might be “soft assimila-
tion,” which tolerates different ethnicities while promoting the
ultimate goal of integration and knowledge of the language and
legal systems of the state. They recognized reasonable accom-
modation as a good practice in establishing a middle ground.
Operationalizing Integration
The economic integration of every generation of migrants is
the first step toward the successful incorporation of migrants
into a host society, and education is critical to economic
integration. Migrants’ ability to speak the language of their
host society increases their chances of finding and success-
fully holding a job, as well as interacting with members of the
host society and participating in everyday social activities.
In instances where language acquisition among the migrant
population is low, there is a higher propensity for migrants to
limit their social interactions to members of their own ethnic
8 | BELLAGIO DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION
or national group. Beyond the ability to speak the language of
the host society, illiteracy among migrants, especially low-
skilled workers, presents a major impediment and perpetu-
ates gaps between an educated native-born population and
uneducated migrant groups.
Creating equal opportunity for migrants was identified as
another major component of integration. In education, this
can be done by mitigating inequalities in elementary and sec-
ondary education and emphasizing the importance of higher
education. Equality of opportunity in housing can be achieved
by developing stronger policies that account for the important
role that housing plays: because having
stable housing is necessary for success in
other areas — such as maintaining a job
— ensuring the availability of affordable
housing is a key to integration. Partici-
pants noted the close ties among housing,
urban planning, and geographical integra-
tion: best-practices include policies that
promote new immigrants to live among
the native-born population and thereby
prevent ghettoization.
Secularization vs. Religious
Tolerance: Navigating the
relationship between Islam (and
Muslims) and their Western Host Societies
Central to the discussion of integrating migrants into their
host societies was the specific question of integrating Muslim
migrant populations into their Western host societies. The
debate focused on the idea that both Muslims and their host
societies must display a certain degree of flexibility and accom-
modation. Secularization versus tolerance got to the heart of
the relationship between religion and Muslim integration.
Policymakers in the group were quick to assert that it is not up
to politicians to debate the content of any faith, and that they
were concerned with questions including how to navigate the
line between norms and values, enforcing laws while tolerat-
ing different beliefs. Geneive Abdo, an American journalist
who has worked with Muslim populations across the United
States, argued that the distinction between religion and cul-
ture was a difficult one, even for Muslim migrants themselves.
Muslims living in Islamic countries are not frequently con-
fronted with this question, and therefore must work toward
their own understanding of the relationship between religion
and culture upon entering their new surroundings. In the
West, they are immediately faced with the conundrum of how
to stay true to Muslim values and also integrate into the non-
Muslim society. As Abdo pointed out, most Muslim migrants
have never experienced being a minority population in their
home countries, so the entire concept of “integration” is an-
tithetical to their experience. The sharp differences presented
by life in the Western cultures of the United States and Europe
has led some second-generation migrant
youth to reject their parents’ traditional
interpretation of Islam as outdated, fault-
ing it for blurring the distinction between
religion and culture. This has earned them
the title “rejectionist generation” by some
sheikhs (Islamic scholars). While this
perspective of second-generation youth
portrayed them as progressive in thinking
about the integration of two cultures, oth-
er participants presented a more complex
perspective of the situation, in which the
second-generation is not recognized as the
bridge between Muslim and host society,
but finds itself betwixt and between, not
fully accepted nor feeling itself a part of either group.
Questions also arose about the usefulness of drawing distinc-
tions between religion and culture, and whether religion itself
created an insurmountable obstacle to integration. While the
current public debate still questions whether Islam and democ-
racy are compatible, the overwhelming consensus at Bellagio
was that Islam and democratic principles are not diametrically
opposed. Many agreed with Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam
Aboutaleb’s idea that “religion is not a jacket that you take off
when you enter the office, it’s part of your identity,” and that it
was not the religious principles, but different cultural practices
that presented the greatest obstacles to integration. German
MEP Cem Özdemir warned that integration problems tend to
get reduced to the religion issue, but that it’s too simplistic to
only look at the problems through the lens of religion.
The economic
integration of every
generation of migrants
is the first step
toward the successful
incorporation of
migrants into a host
society, and education
is critical to economic
integration.
FINAL REPORT | 9
There was broad consensus around the idea that efforts to in-
tegrate Muslims into their host societies must be mutual, with
flexibility and accommodation both on the part of Muslim
migrants and their host societies. One participant called for
Muslim communities to maintain particularly good relation-
ships with other minority groups in the places where they
reside, and that these groups could form coalitions based on
their common interest in being fully integrated members of
society. Another emphasized the need for Muslims to play an
active role in shaping public opinion and to help change the
debate from one about the Muslim population as a security
risk to a discussion about how to best integrate it.
At the same time, there was consensus that
native-born populations need to move be-
yond the idea that the relationship between
democratic values and Islamic values is a
zero-sum game, and that Muslims can’t
be integrated into their societies. Some
participants stated that in Europe, public
sentiment dictates that to be very religious
(regardless of which faith) is at odds with
being a good citizen of a secular state.
Balancing Act:
the Security-Rights
Nexus
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S.
national security called for a dramatic increase in the scrutiny
of foreign applicants for admission to the country. In Euro-
pean countries security concerns over the past several years,
including the bombings in Madrid and London, have gener-
ated anxiety about migrants as a security threat. At the same
time, asylum-seekers and other legal entrants face stringent
restrictions that can result in putting them in harm’s way. As
countries work to manage flows of people, certain restrictions
on individual rights have been inevitable. Participants at Bel-
lagio engaged in a lively debate about the relationship between
national security and immigrant and citizen rights. In his
remarks at Bellagio, Italian Minister of the Interior Giuliano
Amato captured the opinions of many participants when he
said that “the first thing that needs to be done is to keep migra-
tion conceptually separate from terrorism.”
There was broad consensus that a security paradigm has come
to dominate the discourse on immigration. Participants cited
several implications of this reality. First, those who advocate
for migrant rights need to work within the security paradigm
in order to make convincing arguments to policymakers. Sec-
ond, focusing on the integration of newcomers is an important
means of preventing their recruitment for terrorism. Dr. Sarah
Spencer of the Centre on Migration Policy and Society at
Oxford University synthesized this, stating that “rights are es-
sential for integration, and integration is essential to security.”
Therefore, “security, human rights, and
integration are complementary objectives,
but often competing objectives as well.”
Some participants argued that myopic
attention to security concerns may actually
be counterproductive: when immigrant
communities are the object of suspicion,
they will develop a mistrust of law enforce-
ment authorities and be reluctant to coop-
erate with them. Since September 11, 2001,
many new measures taken by governments
have had chilling effects on migrant com-
munity relations with law enforcement,
especially for Muslims. Racial profiling,
monitoring of mosques, the use of “confidential informants” to
entrap unwitting members of the Muslim community, “special
registration” of Muslim men, and the freezing of Muslim chari-
ties have all contributed to a sense that Muslim migrants are
simply objects of suspicion, and not potential partners in a
common battle against extremism.
Some participants argued that if criminal law enforcement
can be separated from the enforcement of migration status,
then migrant populations may be more likely to cooperate
with community policing efforts without fear about their
own legal status. This argument complemented some partici-
pants’ calls for the regularization of the large number of illegal
migrants currently residing in the United States and Europe.
“Rights are essential
for integration, and
integration is essential
to security.” Therefore,
“security, human
rights, and integration
are complementary
objectives, but often
competing objectives
as well.”
10 | BELLAGIO DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION
Many participants felt that it would be in the interest of these
countries’ security to bring the illegal, undocumented popula-
tion out of the shadows and establish an accurate record of
who is in the country.
The Biometric Dilemma
In an environment of heightened security, biometric identifiers
are increasingly looked at as an effective means of preventing
the unwanted entry into a country of foreigners who may pose
a threat. Because biometric identification is based on unique
physical attributes (such as a fingerprint or retinal scan), many
have lauded them as an effective solution to identity document
fraud that allow people to cross borders illegally.
Yet the embrace of biometric identifiers comes with substantial
costs that are not immediately apparent to those concerned
with protecting the border.
From the standpoint of accurately identifying threats, nothing
is more precise than biometric data. Yet critics of biometrics
argue that concerns about privacy, data security, and limited
data threats all argue against an over-reliance on biometric
data in security systems. The success of biometric data at iden-
tifying individuals is based on the fact that a person’s biometric
information is a unique identifier. When this unique identify-
ing information is collected and stored, it presents yet another
security risk: if stolen and misused, the integrity of the data is
forever compromised. It is not possible to issue a new set of
fingerprints the way it would be a new passport or credit card
number. This is of particular concern when biometric data is
shared among security agencies. As a result, the shift to height-
ened security such as biometrics engenders the need for ever
increasing security. Second, biometric data is incredibly effec-
tive at correctly identifying persons who are already known to
be security threats, but they are useless unless the identity of a
foreigner posing a threat is already known. Due to the fact that
new terrorists are continuously being recruited, this will always
be a major shortcoming of a biometric system.
Balancing security and rights for asylum-seekers
As Western Europe and North America erect tougher barri-
ers to migration, bona-fide asylum seekers find it increasingly
difficult to find refuge. Among the reasons for this dramatic
decline are measures taken by states to curb potential abuse
of the asylum system. Procedures and requirements to deter
economic migrants and individuals posing security threats
from gaining asylum have also made it more difficult for
those genuinely fleeing persecution. More intense screening
by consular offices, biometric controls, visa restrictions, more
pre-departure requirements for travel and more airline liaison
officers to detect those without proper documentation have all
made it more difficult for asylum seekers to enter the countries
in which they seek refuge in the post 9/11 security context.
In addition, states have designated certain countries of either
origin or transit as “safe,” enabling receiving states to return
asylum seekers to those countries. As one participant noted,
from the perspective of UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), the concern is that the increased restrictions on
asylum seekers force them “underground.” In these cases, asy-
lum seekers obtain fraudulent documents and resort to other
unauthorized means to circumvent restrictions.
Given the current barriers to the effective functioning of the
asylum system, some participants suggested that states pursue
alternative means to fulfill international obligations to offer
asylum to refugees. One alternative is to identify refugees be-
fore permitting them to flee the country of persecution, which
can be done by local authorities, who attest to the fact that
certain individuals do have a reasonable fear of persecution, or
by UNHCR offices within the countries that are being fled. In
some countries, this practice has already been in place for some
time (and is permitted under U.S. domestic law). Similarly, a
“refugee visa” issued by foreign embassies and consular offices
within the country of persecution could be tested through
a pilot program. A more challenging proposal was to train
immigration control officers to better identify those fleeing
persecution. The viability of these options depends first on the
political will to develop new programs and then on the success
of establishing and promoting these programs.
FINAL REPORT | 11
Conclusion
Participants in the Bellagio Dialogue on Migration contributed
many insights, shared a wealth of best-practices, and raised
serious questions that will require future research. Along with
the substantive debates captured here, the academics, policy-
makers, and community-based practitioners from both sides
of the Atlantic who participated at Bellagio agreed on the value
of continuing to engage in this type of interdisciplinary, com-
parative dialogue. The two-way transfer of knowledge between
academia and applied work, as well as across countries, is
critical. At Bellagio, we recognized the importance of bringing
a professionally, culturally, and geographically diverse group of
voices and interests to the table in order to have a meaningful
and productive exchange.
Humans have always migrated for opportunity. Successfully
managing international migration is an enduring challenge
that requires the cooperation of those migration effects.
Further transatlantic dialogue on the subject of international
migration presents an opportunity for the primary migrant
receiving countries to exchange perspectives and best-practices,
and to keep migration at the forefront of policy agendas on
both sides of the Atlantic.
12 | BELLAGIO DIALOGUE ON MIGRATION
Bellagio Fellows
Throughout the Bellagio Dialogue, a group of nine resident
fellows from different fields worked on individual projects
focusing on various facets of migration. The fellows also
contributed to the off-the-record conversations that took place
in the thematic workshops, and lent continuity to the ongo-
ing programming through their extended participation in the
Bellagio Dialogue. Fellows undertook the following projects
during their time at Bellagio:
Manolo Abella, of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Soci-
ety at the University of Oxford, prepared the second edition of
his 1997 book, Sending Workers Abroad: a Manual for Low and
Middle-Income Countries. The updated version will include a
discussion of the many subjects that have emerged as critical
policy issues for authorities in countries of origin since the
publication of the first edition. Of special note is a section on
managing the migration of skilled workers.
Rainer Bauböck, of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in
Vienna, worked on his manuscript Exit Plus Voice: Emigrant
Political Participation, which comparatively analyzes the phe-
nomenon of emigrant political participation in their countries
of origin.
Joseph Chamie, of the Center for Migration Studies in New
York, worked on a research paper on illegal migration, includ-
ing its magnitude and dynamics, past and present options for
dealing with illegal migration, and an assessment of possible
government policies and actions likely to be adopted in the
near future that may effectively address the question of what to
do about illegal aliens.
Marie-Claire Foblets, of Leuven University in Belgium,
conducted research on “Inconsistencies in the regulation of
migration and integration in Europe,” which comparatively
addresses causes and possible remedies of this problem. She
focused on internal consistency in the regulation of migration
and the integration of foreigners and newcomers in Europe.
Terri Givens, of the University of Texas at Austin, began work
on a book on the politics of immigration and race in Europe,
which examines the politics of religion, particularly anti-
Semitism and Islamophobia. The book explores whether or
not there is a politics of race in Europe, and how it compares
to the politics of race in the United States. Givens argues that
a politics of race has developed in Europe and that it is driven
by rhetoric that has evolved around immigration policy. As
case studies, she examines the nature of race politics in France,
Germany, and the UK.
Elzbieta Gozdziak, of Georgetown University continued
work on her book, Poultry, Apples, and New Immigrants in
the Shenandoah Valley: A Reflection of a National Trend. The
book focuses on new migrant settlement patterns, particularly
around industries that provide jobs to migrants in suburbs and
rural areas, and examines both the new integration challenges
that these communities face, and how they are able to integrate.
Rey Koslowski, of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs
and Policy in Albany, NY, examined the use of information
technologies used to control migration, evaluating both the
effectiveness and effects of virtual borders. His time at Bellagio
was part of an extended project investigating the role of IT in
border security in several European countries.
Nina Clara Tiesler, of the Institute of Social Science at the
University of Lisbon, worked on an article on “Muslim-related
issues and policies in post-9/11 Europe.” She also continued
ongoing work on the Europeanization of Islam and Islamiza-
tion of European discourses, focusing on Portugal as a unique
case for Muslim integration because it focuses primarily on
ethnic categories and not on religious affiliation.
OF F I CE S
Washington • Berlin • Bratislava • Paris
Brussels • Belgrade • Ankara • Bucharest
www.gmfus.org

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