The global migrant crisis is escalating—millions of desperate people are fleeing war zones and persecution and travelling to a new country in the hope of a better future. Distressing scenes of migrants stranded at sea, held in terrible conditions, are reported in the news on a daily basis.
What are the most effective measures policymakers could adopt to ease this crisis?
While border control might seem an obvious solution for a host country dealing with illegal immigrants, there are significant drawbacks aside from the huge cost. Pia Orrenius, in her article Enforcement and illegal migration, warns of unintended consequences such as increased document forgery and higher border death rates.
Timothy Hatton examines EU asylum policy and asks whether the EU has got it right. He argues for improvements to the Common European Asylum Policy including a more even distribution of asylum claims across member states and further centralization of policy in this area. He suggests that public opinion might be more supportive of this than is sometimes believed.
It is public opinion that is perhaps the greatest barrier to developing an evidence-based approach in this matter. Public sentiment towards immigrants and refugees is often hostile, which in turn can have an undue influence on policy. While there is plenty of evidence that immigrants can benefit host nation economies, without affecting the wages or jobs of native workers, policy tends not to reflect these findings.