The Permanent Migration Crisis

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Ross Douthat argues that the migration crisis that Europe and the US has experienced over the last decade or so is now permanent. He argues that there are two driving forces, “first, the way the internet and smartphones have made it easier to make your way around the world, and second, the population imbalance between a rich, rapidly-aging West and a poorer, younger Global South, a deeply unstable equilibrium drawing economic migrants north.” He continues to argue that the dynamic loop of suppressing migrants followed by humanitarian policies followed by more suppression will be very hard to break. Douthat’s ideas are thought provoking but like so many opinion pieces free of evidenced-based research. While I agree that migration largely from the south-north (or developing to industrial nations) will continue for the foreseeable future, I am less convinced of either the causes or their social implications. For that, much more research is needed. Migration is a social process, not an event. Understanding that process is complicated, but essential if our society is ever to craft migration policies that work.

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