Borders Beyond Control

Bhagwati, Jagdish N.

The article addresses the government's inability to control international migration. According to the author, the reality is that borders are beyond control and little can be done to really cut down on immigration. The author suggests that there must be a seismic shift in the way migration is addressed: governments must reorient their policies from attempting to curtail migration to coping and managing it to seek benefits for all. According to the author, this requires isolating key migration questions from the many other issues that attend the flows of humanity across national borders. The most compelling problems result from emigration from less developed to more developed countries. They arise in three areas: (1) skilled workers are legally emigrating, temporarily or permanently, to rich countries, (2) largely unskilled migrants are entering developed countries illegally and looking for work, and (3) there is the "involuntary" movement of people, whether skilled or unskilled, across borders to seek asylum. All three problems raise issues that derive from the fact that the flows cannot be effectively constrained and must instead be creatively accommodated.



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February 7, 2013