Migration & Integration 7
Dialog zwischen Politik, Wissenschaft und Praxis
Mathias Czaika, Lydia Rössl
MIGRATIONS- UND DES-INTEGRATIONSPROZESSE
SOWIE TRANSNATIONALISMUS AUS GLOBALER UND EUROPÄISCHER PERSPEKTIVE
Post-Truth Politics and Migration:
The US Case
The Syrian Humanitarian Disaster:
Understanding Perceptions and Aspirations of Refugees and Practitioners in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey
Can EU’s migration policy deter migration from Africa?
Transnationalism, immigrant integration and return processes
Good practice examples in
vocational education and labour market integration of refugees in seven European countries
Arbeitsmarktintegration und Bildung 1: wissenschaftliche Perspektiven
Raimund Haindorfer, Bernd Liedl, Bernhard Kittel, Roland Verwiebe
Determinanten der Arbeitsmarktintegration von Geflüchteten am Beispiel der Stadt Wien
Integration braucht Unterstützung: Erfahrungen mit weiblichen Flüchtlingen in Österreich
Herausforderung für die Erwachsenenbildung aus Sicht der Migrationsforschung Wien
Ungleichheit und ethnisch-sprachliche Diversität im österreichischen Schulsystem
Arbeitsmarktintegration und Bildung 2: Perspektiven aus der Praxis
Produktionsschulen in Deutschland:
ein pluralistisches pädagogisches Experiment und berechenbarer Faktor im Übergangssystem
Junge Erwachsene mit Fluchthintergrund und der schwierige Weg in das österreichische Ausbildungs- und Beschäftigungssystem
Die Integration von Geflüchteten auf lokaler Ebene. Weiße und blinde Flecken in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschungund möglicheAuswege
Integration auf regionaler und lokaler Ebene 2:
Perspektiven aus der Praxis
ZusammenLeben in Dornbirn.
Leitbild und Strategien im Kontext von Diversität
Marika Gruber, Friedrich Veider
… (ge)kommen, um zu bleiben …
Etablierung einer Ankommenskultur im ländlichen Raum
Stefan Auradnik, Katharina Kirsch-Soriano da Silva, Florian Rautner
Zugewanderte Menschen als Multiplikatorlnnen und ihre Rolle in Integrationsprozessen
Integration und Gesundheit 1:
Judith Kohlenberger, Isabella Buber-Ennser, Bernhard Rengs, Sebastian Leitner, Michael Landesmann
Gesundheitszugang von syrischen, irakischen und afghanischen Geflüchteten in Österreich:
Ergebnisse aus dem Refugee Health and Integration Survey
Birgit Wolf, Arash Razmaria
Niederschwellige Unterstützung bei Trauma und Postmigrationsstress.
Eine Feldbeobachtung der Good Practice im Integrationsprozess
Verzeichnis der Autorinnen
Das DialogForum Migration & Integration widmet sich bereits seit 2009 gegenwärtigen und zukünftigen Fragen und Herausforderungen der Migration und Integration. Im September 2018 feierte die Veranstaltung 10-jähriges Jubiläum, und es hat sich in dieser Zeit – unter der maßgeblichen Federführung von Prof.in Gudrun Biffl – zu einer zentralen Plattform für den Austausch von Wissenschaft, öffentlicher Verwaltung und Zivilgesellschaft in der österreichischen Migrations- und Integrations-Community etabliert. Der Dialog ist eines der wichtigsten Instrumente der Kommunikation, besonders in einer Welt der Globalisierung, der Diversifizierung und der Beschleunigung. Der direkte Austausch zwischen Akteuren und AkteurInnen der Zivilgesellschaft, der Wissenschaft, der Politik und öffentlichen Verwaltung ist notwendig, um ein Verständnis für die Strukturen und Prozesse der diversen Institutionen zu entwickeln, sie zu diskutieren und zum Teil auch zu hinterfragen. Besteht ein aktiver und konstruktiver Dialog, ist es auch möglich, gemeinsam Ziele zu definieren und Lösungsstrategien zu entwickeln. Die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung von Migration und Integration sowie der anhaltende Bedarf an wissenschaftlich fundiertem Austausch hierzu haben sich in den vergangenen zehn Jahren immer wieder bestätigt. Das DialogForum Migration & Integration wird sich somit auch weiterhin der nachhaltigen Vernetzung unterschiedlicher Akteure und AkteurInnen, Multiplikatoren und Multiplikatorinnen und Stakeholdem widmen, die wechselseitige Beziehung und mögliche Bereicherung von empirischer Forschung und Praxis diskutieren sowie die Dissemination aktueller Forschung und wissenschaftlicher Ergebnisse unterstützen.
Dieser Tagungsband umfasst Beiträge von Vortragenden, Diskutanten und Diskutantinnen und Experten und Expertinnen aus Theorie und Praxis zu den Themen, die 2017 und 2018 beim DialogForum im Fokus standen. Das DialogForum 2017 zeigte sich unter anderem stark von den Flüchtlingsbewegungen aus Syrien und Afghanistan geprägt, als auch den umfassenden damit einhergehenden Berichterstattungen und Debatten auf nationaler, europäischer und globaler Ebene. Zentrale Themen, wie die Arbeitsmarktintegration, wurden im Kontext der Erwachsenenbildung – unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Flüchtlingen – aufgegriffen. Dazu zählte auch die neue Bewertung der Bedeutung der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit für die europäische Migrationspolitik, sowie die Herausforderungen und Pflichten von Wissenschaft und Praxis in einer „postfaktischen Gesellschaft“, wenn die Zusammenhänge von Sicherheit, Migration und Demokratie ins Zentrum medialer und politischer Diskussionen rücken und zu einem wesentlichen Einflussfaktor des gesellschaftlichen Diskurses und des subjektiven Sicherheitsgefühls in Bezug auf Migration und Flucht werden.
Diesen Entwicklungen wurde auch im DialogForum 2018 entsprochen, der Veranstaltungstitel „Migrations- und(Des-)Integrationsprozesse“bringt die enge Verflechtung und Interdependenz von Migration und Integration zum Ausdruck. Das Gelingen von Integration hängt maßgeblich von Faktoren ab, die außerhalb des politischen und gesellschaftlichen Einflussbereiches des Aufnahmelandes liegen. Aus diesem Grund widmete sich das zehnte DialogForum insbesondere auch Fragen, die eng mit (Des-)Integrationsprozessen in den Herkunftsländern zu tun haben und hierbei die spezifischen Abwanderungsgründe, Migrationserfahrungen und Rückkehrabsichten von Migranten und Migrantinnen und Flüchtlingen mitberücksichtigen. Der inhaltliche Bogen erstreckte sich hierbei von den Lebens- und Abwanderungsbedingungen in den außer- und osteuropäischen Herkunfts- und Transitländern, bis hin zu vergleichenden Perspektiven von Migrations- und Integrationsprozessen in europäischen Zielländern. Schlussfolgerungen und weiterführende Themen wurden In einem Zusammenhang mit spezifisch österreichischen Herausforderungen betreffend der ökonomischem und gesellschaftlichen Integration von diversen Zuwanderungsgruppen gestellt. Diese über nationale Grenzen hinausreichende Perspektive von Migration und Integration, und die Veranschaulichung der komplexen Kausalitäten dieser Prozesse, stellt eine wesentliche Weiterentwicklung der Veranstaltung dar die auch in den kommenden Jahren weiterverfolgt werden wird.
Die inhaltliche themenspezifische Anordnung der Beiträge in diesem Tagungsband verfolgt den Anspruch, die Zusammenhänge auf globaler, europäischer und letztendlich österreichischer Ebene zwischen Migrations- und Integrationsprozessen zu berücksichtigen, anstatt beides isoliert zu betrachten. In diesem Sinne sind im ersten Teil des Tagungsbandes „Migrations- und Des-Integrationsprozesse sowie Transnationalismus aus globaler und europäischer Perspektive “ wissenschaftliche Forschungen zu den migrationsinitiierenden Rahmenbedingungen und Ereignissen in den Herkunftsländern, als auch der Rolle nationaler Migrations- und Integrationspolitik auf internationaler Ebene zu finden.
Der Beitrag von Phil Martin beschreibt zu Beginn dieses thematischen Abschnitts des Tagungsbandes am Beispiel der USA Möglichkeiten der Interpretation, Präsentation und Instrumentalisierung von Forschung und Fakten im Sinne bestimmter wirtschaftlicher und politischer Anliegen und Ziele. Er stellt die zentrale Frage der Rolle und der Glaubwürdigkeit von Wissenschaft in einer postfaktischen Gesellschaft. Im folgenden Beitrag greift Dawn Chatty mit der Fluchtbewegung 2015 und 2016 wohl eines der auf europäischer Ebene – betreffend politische und gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen – prägendsten Ereignisse der letzten Jahre auf. Sie berichtet zu den historischen und aktuellen Geschehnissen in Syrien, die wiederholt zu massiver erzwungener Migration von Millionen von Menschen geführt haben. Sie geht auf die unterschiedlichen unmittelbaren und längerfristigen Maßnahmen der angrenzenden Länder, wie der Türkei, den Libanon und Jordanien, als auch der Europäischen Union und deren Mitgliedsstaaten ein; und zeichnet dadurch ein komplexes und umfassendes Bild der Ereignisse sowie der Bedeutung für Flüchtlinge und die Zivilgesellschaft in den unterschiedlichen Transit- und Aufnahmeländern. Belachew Gebrewold schließt inhaltlich an den Beitrag von Dawn Chatty betreffend der EU-Migrationspolitik an. In seinen Ausführungen zu der Bedeutung, die europäische Migrationspolitik den Migrations- und Fluchtursachen, wie Armut, Konflikte und Umweltkatastrophen beimisst; konzentriert er sich auf afrikanische Länder und argumentiert, dass die migrationspolitische Ausrichtung und Maßnahmen in den Herkunfts- und Zielländern in vielerlei Hinsicht nicht ineinandergreifen; und dass die Identifikation, Analyse und Interpretation von Migrationsursachen zu kurz greift, und weitere zentrale Faktoren unberücksichtigt bleiben. Der Beitrag von Paolo Ruspini konzentriert sich auf den europäischen Kontext, behandelt allerdings übergeordnet theoretische Konzepte zu und die Beziehungen zwischen transnationaler Migration, Integrationsprozessen und Rückkehrmigration. Er beendet seine Ausführungen mit dem Vorschlag eines methodischen Ansatzes, um das Ausmaß und politische Relevanz dieser Prozesse erfassen zu können. Helga Moser widmet sich den Herausforderungen der Arbeitsmarktintegration von Geflüchteten und berichtet zu dem Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Projekt „Refugees in Vocational Training – RevoT“ (2016-2018), das in Österreich, Deutschland, Griechenland, Kroatien, Italien, den Niederlanden und Spanien good practice Beispiele der Berufsausbildung und -training und der Arbeitsmarktintegration identifiziert hat. Ihre inhaltlichen Ausführungen stellen eine gelungene thematische Überleitung zu der Arbeitsmarktintegration und Bildung in Österreich dar.
Im zweiten Teil „Die sozioökonomische Integration von Migrantlnnen und Flüchtlingen in Österreich“ wird der Fokus auf die nationale Ebene und den unterschiedlichen relevanten Dimensionen, wie Arbeitsmarktintegration und Bildung, Integration auf regionaler und lokaler Ebene, sowie Migration und Gesundheit gelegt; wissenschaftliche Forschung und Projekte aus der Praxis werden jeweils zu einem übergeordneten Themenbereich vorgestellt.
Raimund Haindorfer, Bernd Liedl, Bernhard Kittel und Roland Verwiebe stellen die Ergebnisse einer umfassenden quantitativen Studie und Analyse („Integration-Survey 2017“) zu den Determinanten der Arbeitsmarktintegration von Geflüchteten vor. Die Autoren stellen die individuellen Ressourcen für die Arbeitsmarktintegration in den Mittelpunkt und verweisen auf die Bedeutung und enge Zusammenhänge zwischen der sozialen Integration der Geflüchteten und der Arbeitsmarktintegration. Gudrun Biffl greift in ihrem Beitrag die spezifische Situation von weiblichen Geflüchteten in Österreich auf und behandelt hierbei auch die Bedeutung von Bildung und den Arbeitsmarktzugang. Direkt im Anschluss erläutert sie die besonderen Herausforderungen für die Erwachsenenbildung aus Sicht der Migrationsforschung. Allerdings soll nicht nur die Bedeutung der Erwachsenenbildung abgehandelt werden, sondern auch das österreichische Schulsystem. Oliver Gruber geht auf die ethnisch-sprachliche Diversität im Schulsystem ein und plädiert für einen differenzierteren Umgang mit der Analysekategorie „Migrationshintergrund“, welcher die Heterogenität unter Migranten und Migrantinnen in geeigneter Form berücksichtig und zudem die dahinterliegenden Ursachen der Bildungsungleichheit, sowie systemische und strukturelle Gegebenheiten des Schulsystems ausreichend in Analysen und Schlussfolgerungen miteinzubeziehen. Abschließend berichtet Martin Mertens In einem Praxisbericht von seinen Erfahrungen und anhand individueller Fallbeispiele zu dem Modell und die Umsetzung der Produktionsschulen in Deutschland als ein „pluralistisches pädagogisches Experiment unberechenbarer Faktor im Übergangssystem“. Nadja Bergmann thematisiert in ihrem Essay „Junge Erwachsene mit Fluchthintergrund und der schwierige Weg in das österreichische Ausbildungs- und Beschäftigungssystem“ die Rahmenbedingungen und Herausforderungen für junge Menschen bei der Integration in österreichische Gesellschaft sowie eine Ausbildung zu absolvieren und letztendlich den Schritt in den Arbeitsmarkt zu bewältigen. Sie bezieht sich hierbei exemplarisch auf das Projekt „Start Wien – Das Jugendcollege“, um bisherige Erfahrungen in diesem Bereich darzustellen.
Martha Ecker stellt den ersten Beitrag zu dem übergeordneten Thema der „Integration auf regionaler und lokaler Ebene“. Sie fokussiert auf die Integration von Geflüchteten auf lokaler Ebene und die Herausforderungen für die sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung. Diese wissenschaftliche Aufbereitung grundlegender themenspezifischer Fragestellungen und deren Bearbeitung stellt einen gelungenen Einstieg zu den folgenden Ausführungen zu unterschiedlichen Praxisprojekten dar. Elisabeth Planinger erklärt den Entstehungsprozess des Integrationsleitbilds der Stadt Dornbirn „ZusammenLeben in Dornbirn im Kontext von Diversität“, der unter anderem die gelungene Zusammenarbeit von Wissenschaft, öffentliche Verwaltung und Umsetzung in die Praxis illustriert. Marika Gruber und Friedrich Veider behandeln die Integration von Zuwanderinnen und Zuwanderern sowie die Etablierung einer Ankommenskultur im ländlichen Raum am Beispiel des Bezirkes Hermagor. Anhand von zwei Projekten werden integrationspolitische Schritte und die damit einhergehenden praktischen Maßnahmen aufgezeigt. Im letzten Beitrag führen Stefan Auradnik, Katharina Kirsch-Soriano da Silva und Florian Rautner die positive Dynamik und die Relevanz von zugewanderten Menschen als Multiplikatoren und Multiplikatorinnen im Wiener „Grätzel“ aus und demonstrieren dadurch, dass Sozial- und Systemintegration bereits im individuellen Miteinander seinen Anfang nehmen kann.
Die letzten zwei Artikel dieses Tagungsbandes beschäftigen sich mit der Dimension der Gesundheit. Judith Kohlenberger, Isabella Buber-Ennser, Bernhard Rengs, Sebastian Leitner und Michael Landesmann beziehen sich in ihren Ausführungen auf eine Analyse des Refugee Health and Integration Survey und fokussieren auf den Gesundheitszugang von syrischen, irakischen und afghanischen Geflüchteten in Österreich. Das daran anschließende Praxisprojekt setzt bei der niederschwelligen Unterstützung bei Trauma und Postmigrationsstress an. Birgit Wolf und Arash Razmaria zeigen in ihren Ausführungen exemplarisch den hohen Handlungsbedarf bereits in der jeweiligen Unterbringung direkt nach der Flucht auf, und können zudem in ihren Fallbeispielen auf Erfolge hinweisen, die auch für eine nachhaltige Integration von hoher Bedeutung sind.
Auch 2019 wird dieses inhaltlich weitgefächerte Programm, das nur durch die finanzielle Förderung durch den Asyl-, Migrations- und Integrationsfonds, das BMEIA und das BMBWF möglich ist, weitergeführt werden. Neben zahlreichen wissenschaftlichen Fachvorträgen und praxisorientierten Impulsreferaten wird weiterhin gezielt Raum für einen strukturierten und interaktiven Austausch geschaffen.
Wir laden Sie herzlich ein, auch im kommenden Jahr Ihr Wissen und Ihre Erfahrungen einzubringen und Teil des Dialogs zu sein.
Krems, Jänner 2019
The US experience demonstrates that even when researchers achieve consensus on the socio-economic impacts of migrants, the results can be interpreted very differently by ‘admissionists’ who favor more immigration and the legalization of unauthorized foreigners and ‘restrictionists’ who oppose amnesty and want to reduce immigration. For example, the consensus of social scientists was that the 15 million foreign-born workers in the US labor force in 1996 depressed average hourly earnings by three percent and led to a net expansion of US GDP of $8 billion. Admissionists touted the $8 billion net gain from immigration, while restrictionists emphasized that the then $8 trillion US economy was growing by three percent or $240 billion a year, making the net gain due to immigration equivalent to 12 days of US economic growth.1
The effect of economic research on policy making is muted because migration’s major economic effects are (re)distributional, with migrants and owners of capital the major winners. Admissionists stress the gains to individual migrants, the minimal costs to US workers, and other benefits ranging from preserving industries to repopulating cities and increasing diversity. Restrictionists highlight migration as a key reason, along with technology and trade, for depressing wages, increasing inequality, and reducing social trust.
As immigration numbers and impacts rise, the debate over migration policy is increasingly dominated by the most extreme admissionists and the most extreme restrictionists. Researchers are also tugged toward these no borders and no migrants extremes by the funders who support and publicize their work. Migration risks joining abortion, guns, and other issues on which Americans are very polarized, and migration research risks joining pharma and nutrition as issues where links between funders and researchers make research findings suspect, reducing the credibility of all research.
The US is a nation of immigrants whose motto e pluribus unum, from many, one, reflects openness to newcomers.2 The US had 42 million foreign-born residents in 2014, almost 20 percent of the world’s international migrants. Over half of US foreign-born residents are from Latin America and the Caribbean, including 28 percent from Mexico.3 Another quarter are from Asia, with the major source countries China, India and the Philippines. Almost half of all foreign-born residents are naturalized US citizens (Brown and Stepler, 2016).
Immigration to the US occurred in four major waves, beginning with the largely English-wave before immigrant admissions began to be recorded in 1820, a second wave dominated by Irish and German Catholics in the 1840s and 1850s, a third wave that included many southern and eastern Europeans between 1880 and 1914, and a fourth wave set in motion by 1965 laws that switched priority for admission from the migrant’s country of origin to US sponsors requesting the admission of relatives or needed workers. Waves suggest peaks and troughs, with troughs due to the Civil War in the 1860s and World War I in 1914 and legislation in the 1920s (Martin and Midgley, 2010).
There is no end in sight to the immigration wave launched by the 1965 switch from favoring Europeans seeking to immigrate to giving priority to foreigners whose US relatives sponsored them for immigrant visas. The change from national origins to family unification was not expected to change immigration patterns, but it did. There was little research to counter the assertion of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in 1965 that a family unification based selection system would not change “the ethnic mix of this country.”
Kennedy was wrong. During the 1950s, 56 percent of the 2.5 million immigrants were from Europe; by the 1970s, fewer than 20 percent of 4.2 million immigrants were from Europe (DHS, Immigration Yearbook, Table 2).4 Chain migration, as when immigrants and naturalized US citizens sponsor their relatives for visas, was soon apparent, especially because the US has one of the world’s most expansive definitions of immediate family, including children up to the age of 21 and the parents of US citizens. In addition, the US allows US citizens to sponsor their adult children as well as their adult brothers and sisters for immigrant visas, and offers 50,000 “diversity immigrant visas” awarded by lottery to citizens of countries that sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the US during the previous five years. Over 14 million foreigners apply for diversity visas each year.
The 10 million foreign-born residents in 1970, the beginning of the fourth and current wave of immigration, were about five percent of US residents. Most immigration research until the 1970s involved historians who explained the integration of third-wave immigrants, debated the relative effects of very low levels of immigration between the 1920s and 1960s and efforts to “Americanize ” newcomers who were often moving from rural areas abroad to US cities. Researchers debated the roles of factories and unions, mobilization for war, and public schools to explain the largely successful integration of third-wave southern and eastern European immigrants (Higham, 1984).
Two immigration issues drew the attention of social scientists in the 1970s, farm workers and Asians. Between 1942 and 1964, the US government allowed farmers to employ Mexican guest workers under a series of bilateral Bracero agreements. Farm worker admissions peaked in 1956, when 445,000 Braceros were 20 percent of US hired farm workers, and fell to fewer than 200,000 after 1962 as the US government tightened enforcement of regulations aimed at protecting US and Bracero workers.5
A combination of no Braceros, few unauthorized workers until the 1980s, and the charismatic leadership of Cesar Chavez amidst concerns about civil rights put upward pressure on farm wages, including a 40 percent wage increase in the first United Farm Workers union table grape contract in 1966, and led to the unionization of most California table grape and lettuce workers by the early 1970s (Martin, 2003). Even though farmers argued that Braceros preserved good nonfarm jobs for US workers, President Kennedy and the Democrats who voted to end the Bracero program disagreed, saying that ending the entry of Braceros was helping Hispanics as Civil Rights laws helped Blacks.
Farm employers opposed ending the Bracero program. Some encouraged their largely legal Mexican-born supervisors to recruit friends and relatives in Mexico to enter to the US illegally. There were no penalties on employers who knowingly hired unauthorized workers until 1986, so rural Mexicans faced a choice of uncertain incomes in Mexico and a guaranteed job in the US moved north. Illegal immigration from Mexico surged in the 1980s, especially after a short-lived oilinspired Mexican government-spending boom in the late 1970s collapsed with the price of oil in the 1980s. Farm worker unions protested that “illegal aliens” were undercutting their demands for higher wages and benefits and demanded that the federal government impose sanction on employers who hired such workers, but Congress at the behest of farmers refused to act.
Research played little role in the debate over unauthorized migrants in agriculture despite case study analyses of how unauthorized workers replaced US citizens and legal immigrants. Farmers turned to contractors to obtain workers rather than hiring them directly, so there was indirect competition between employers rather than direct competition between workers for farm jobs (Mines and Martin, 1984). This competition between employers helped the unauthorized share of California crop workers jumped from less than 25 percent in the mid-1980s to 50 percent a decade later.
The major intervening variable was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, a compromise between restrictionists whose priority was to reduce illegal migration and admissionists who wanted to legalize the estimated three to five million unauthorized foreigners who had accumulated in the US. IRCA imposed federal sanctions on employers who knowingly hired unauthorized workers and allowed unauthorized foreigners in the US at least five years or who worked in agriculture at least 90 days to become legal immigrants.
IRCA proved to be a victory for admissionists. Some 2.7 million unauthorized foreigners, 85 percent Mexicans, were legalized, and the widespread use of false documents to obtain legalization under the farm worker program, which accounted for 40 percent of all legalizations, taught low-skilled Mexicans that they could continue to get US jobs by providing false documents to their employers. Legal and unauthorized Mexicans spread throughout the US, from agriculture to construction, manufacturing and services.
IRCA unleashed a wave of research in the 1990s. One strand asked how employers adjusted to employer sanctions, and found that labor costs fell because of the upsurge in illegal migration. However, newly legalized foreigners increased their earnings 10 to 15 percent, largely because legal status increased their mobility in the US labor market, allowing them to seek jobs with “better employers.” Farm worker unions shrank due to increased illegal migration, with their problems compounded by internal union problems and the rise of labor contractors and other intermediaries (Martin, 2003).
The second major area of research involved the economic progress of especially Asian immigrants. Newcomers to the US typically earn less than similar US-born workers, but the earnings gap narrows over time. Chiswick examined various cohorts of immigrants, such as those arriving in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and concluded that newcomers experienced rapid income gains, catching up to similar US-born workers within 13 years and then surpassing their US peers, so that average US incomes could be raised via immigration (Chiswick, 1978).
Borjas extended the analysis and concluded that Chiswick was wrong, and that “immigrant quality” as measured by earnings growth in the US was falling. Chiswick’s data analysis was correct but reflected a unique and one-time event: Asians found it hard to immigrate until 1965, and those who first arrived after 1965 were especially talented. As immigration from Latin America surged in the 1970s, the initial earnings gap between newcomers and similar US-born workers widened, and immigrant earnings rose much slower as they integrated in the US. Immigrants who arrived in the five years before the 1960 census earned 10 percent less than US-born workers in 1960, while those who arrived between 1995 and 2000 earned 30 percent less in 2000.
The legalization of 2.7 million mostly low-skilled Mexicans and the continued arrival of unauthorized foreigners raised questions about how low-skilled migrants affected similar US workers. Case studies from the 1970s and 1980s suggested that the availability of low-skilled newcomers, legal or illegal, displaced similar US workers and/or depressed their wages. However, studies that compared the wages and unemployment rates of US workers who were assumed to be similar to immigrants could not detect wage depression and displacement, which led to the conclusion that low-skilled migrants do not hurt similar US workers.
The best-known study involved the “natural experiment” of 125,000 Cuban Marielito migrants who arrived in Miami between April and September 1980, increasing Miami’s labor force by seven percent. Card (1989) found that the unemployment rate of Blacks in Miami rose more slowly than in several comparison cities that did not receive Cuban migrants, suggesting that the Marielitos benefited rather than hurt Blacks in Miami.
Borjas disagreed with this no-harm-and-perhaps-benefit conclusion, emphasizing that, when another wave of Cubans tried to reach Florida in 1994, the US Coast Guard intercepted them and sent them to Guantanamo, a US naval base at the eastern end of Cuba. Even though few Cuban migrants arrived, the unemployment rate of Blacks rose in Miami and fell in comparison cities, leading Borjas to conclude that natural experiments that fail to find the impacts predicted by economic theory demonstrate there are many factors in addition to migration that affect the unemployment rate of Blacks and other similar US workers.
The second major focus of research during the 1990s involved the fiscal impacts of immigrants, the question of whether immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in tax-supported benefits. California Republican Governor Pete Wilson blamed the need to provide services to unauthorized foreigners for the state’s budget deficit in the early 1990s, and won re-election in November 1994 as voters approved Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that would have denied state benefits to unauthorized foreigners, including K-12 education to unauthorized children.
Most of Proposition 187 was declared unconstitutional, but suits demanding that the federal government reimburse states for the cost of providing services to unauthorized foreigners prompted studies of the fiscal impacts of immigrants. The Republican-controlled Congress, in response Proposition 187, enacted several laws in 1996 to make it more difficult for low-income residents to sponsor their relatives for immigrant visas and denied legal immigrants arriving after August 23, 1996 federal welfare benefits. At a time when 11 percent of US residents were foreign-born, 45 percent of the estimated federal savings from the new welfare system were estimated to come from denying benefits to immigrants until they had worked in the US at least 10 years or become naturalized US citizens after five years.
The Commission in Immigration Reform sponsored a study conducted by the National Research Council (NRC) that concluded the US economy was $1 billion to $10 billion larger in 1996 than it would have been with no immigrants, with the best estimate that immigrants were responsible for a net $8 billion gain (Smith and Edmunds, 1997). The $8 trillion US economy was growing by 2.5 percent a year. Admissionists stressed the $8 billion gain, while restrictionists emphasized that the net gain was equivalent to two weeks economic growth.
The model for estimating the net economic gain from immigration assumed that adding immigrants to the labor force reduced average wages by three percent, from an assumed $13 an hour to the actual $12.60 in 1996. The lower wages of all workers expanded the economy and increased the returns to owners of capital, making them and the immigrants who moved to the US for higher wages and more opportunities the major beneficiaries of immigration.
Estimating the public finance effects of immigrants required more assumptions. The NRC calculated the net present value of the average immigrant in 1996 by assuming that the earnings of immigrants will catch up to those of similar US workers, and that the children and grandchildren of immigrants will have the same average earnings, taxes paid, and benefits received profiles as the children and grandchildren of native-born children. The NRC further assumed that immigration did not raise the cost of public goods such as defense, and that the federal government would eventually raise taxes and reduce benefits to provide benefits for aging residents, meaning that both young immigrants and young US-born workers would pay more in taxes and receive fewer benefits.
These assumptions generated two major findings. First, the average immigrant had a positive net present value (NPV) of $78,000, meaning that a typical immigrant was expected to pay $78,000 more in federal taxes than they would receive in federal benefits in 1996 dollars over their lifetimes and those of their children and grandchildren. However, the NPV of immigrants with more than a high school education was plus $198,000, while the NPV of immigrants with less than a high school education was minus $13,000, that is, even assuming that the children of low-educated immigrants have the same average earnings, taxes, and benefits as US-born children, low-skilled immigrants and their children impose a net cost on US taxpayers.
The NRC study led to an obvious conclusion: to generate the maximum economic benefits from immigrants for US-born residents, the selection system should favor young and well-educated newcomers who are most likely to earn higher incomes, pay more in taxes, and consume fewer tax-supported benefits. This recommendation was rejected, as those favoring the current system, including advocates for particular migrant groups, churches, and immigration lawyers, argue for increasing overall levels of immigration to accommodate more high-skilled foreigners rather than introduce a point-selection system. Furthermore, many US employers preferred the current demand-oriented system under which they sponsor foreigners for immigrant visas, since employer sponsorship ties foreigners to a particular employer for years as guest workers. By contrast, a Canadian style supply-oriented point-selection system would allow newcomers to move from one employer to another.
During the three decades from 1970 to 2000, the share of foreign-born residents in the US population doubled from five to 10 percent, and the number of unauthorized foreigners, after dipping briefly with legalization in the late 1980s, more than doubled from 3.5 million in 1990 to 8.6 million in 2000. The effects of legal and unauthorized foreigners were debated, with many economists agreeing with Card that, since they could not find the expected negative effects of low-skilled foreigners on similar US workers, there were few or no such effects. There was more consensus among demographers on the number of unauthorized foreigners and more agreement on public finances, since it was easy to visualize that higher levels of education and higher incomes meant more taxes paid and less reliance on welfare benefits.
Immigration Patterns and Research: 2000-2016
The election of Presidents Vincente Fox in Mexico and George W. Bush in the US in 2000 was expected to usher in a new era in Mexico-US migration, marked by cooperation to reduce illegal migration and violence along the Mexico-US border, legalization of unauthorized foreigners in the US, and new guest worker programs. Indeed, just before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Fox was in Washington DC imploring Bush and the US government to enact immigration reforms that legalized unauthorized foreigners before the end of 2001.
Security took center stage after the September 11, 2001 attacks. As the US economy recovered from recession and illegal immigration rose, there were renewed calls for legalization and new guest worker programs. However, there was deadlock in Congress between restrictionists who emphasized the need for enforcement to deter unauthorized foreigners, and admissionists who wanted to legalize unauthorized foreigners.
Economists were also deadlocked over the impacts of low-skilled foreign workers on similar US workers. Borjas published an article, the labor demand curve is downward sloping, to emphasize that economic theory is correct, viz, adding migrant workers to an age and education cell, such as 25 to 30 year old workers with less than a secondary school education, reduces the wages of US workers who are similar in age and education by up to 10 percent (Borjas, 2003). Peri and his collaborators disputed Borjas’s conclusion, arguing that migrants and natives within age and education cells were complements rather than substitutes, playing different labor market roles despite similarities in age and education, and that employers responded to the arrival of migrants by investing more to create jobs for them and US workers.
The debate over the impacts of low-skilled migrants was mirrored in a similar debate over high-skilled migrants. The US created the H-1B program in 1990, a time when there were believed to be sufficient US workers as indicated by the unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, but not enough to fill all of the jobs being created in the rapidly expanding IT sector. Some 20,000 temporary foreign workers with college degrees and fashion models were being admitted at the time, and the H-1B program made it easy for US employers to recruit and employ up to 65,000 a year. The expectation was that the number of H-1B visas requested would quickly jump to exhaust the 65,000 visas available, and demand for H-1B workers would then fall as US colleges and universities ramped up training and Americans filled more IT jobs.
These expectations proved wrong. The H-1B program expanded slowly, not reaching the 65,000 a year cap until 1997. At a time of low unemployment and in anticipation of the Y2K problem of computers not adjusting to the year 2000 properly, US employers persuaded Congress to raise the cap, add 20,000 H-1B visas for foreigners who earned Master’s degrees from US universities, and exempt non-profits from the visa cap, allowing over 200,000 H-1B workers a year to enter. Since each H-1B can stay up to six years, the US soon had over a million H-1B visa holders.
Researchers studied the impacts of H-1B workers and reached opposing conclusions. Some found that US employers preferred to hire H-1B workers because they were younger and cheaper than similar US workers. In an IT labor market experiencing considerable mobility, H-1B workers were “loyal” to a particular employer since they wanted to be sponsored for an immigrant visa. Critics called H-1B workers high-tech Braceros, a reference to the discredited program that brought Mexican farm workers to the US under what are now seen as exploitative circumstances.
Other researchers stressed the spill over effects of highly skilled foreigners with H-1B visas. They found, inter alia, that cities with more H-1B foreigners generated more patents and experienced faster wage and job growth, findings that supported employers who wanted to raise the cap on visas. Some researchers echoed employers in arguing that it made no sense for US universities to educate foreigners in STEM-related fields and deny them an opportunity to stay in the US and work.
Employers resisted efforts to link more protections for US workers with an increase in the number of H-2B visas available, arguing that requiring employers to first try to recruit US workers would slow down their need to quickly hire H-1B workers. Instead, they persuaded DHS to allow foreign students who graduate from US universities with STEM degrees to remain in the US and work in jobs related to their degree for up to 30 months, so-called optional practical training or OPT, giving them time to find an employer to offer them H-1B visas good for six years.6
By 2005, when Congress began to consider immigration reforms to deal with unauthorized foreigners, most social science researchers agreed that any negative economic effects of low-skilled migrants on similar US workers were small, that high-skilled migrants had positive spillover economic effects, and that legalization of unauthorized foreigners would increase their mobility and wages as well as expand the US economy. However, restrictionists in the House of Representatives approved an enforcement-only bill in December 2005 that would have increased enforcement on the Mexico-US border, required all employers to use the internetbased E-Verify system to check the legal status of new hires, and made illegal presence in the US a crime, perhaps hindering the ability of unauthorized foreigners to become legal immigrants in the future.
This enforcement-only bill was widely denounced as ignoring the benefits of migration, and culminated in a May 1, 2006 “day without migrants” that involved many businesses closing for the day to highlight the contributions of migrants. The Senate in May 2006 enacted a three-pronged comprehensive immigration bill favored by most social science researchers, viz, increase enforcement to deter illegal migration, legalize most unauthorized foreigners and put them on a path to US citizenship, and create new guest worker programs for low-skilled workers. The House refused to act. A similar comprehensive immigration reform bill failed in the Senate in 2007 but was approved in 2013, but the House again refused to act and there was no reform.
During these immigration reform debates, most social scientists generated research that supported legalization of unauthorized workers and more guest workers. There was very little research on how employers, labor markets, and the economy might adjust to fewer foreign-born workers, since immigration reforms were expected to legalize current workers and admit more.
Trump and Migration
Donald Trump in 2015-16 campaigned on seven major issues, two of which involved migration, viz, have the US build and Mexico pay for a wall on the 2,000 mile Mexico-US border and deport the 11 million unauthorized foreigners in the US. President Trump issued three executive orders during his first week in office, planning a wall on the Mexico-US border, increasing deportations and dealing with sanctuary cities, and reducing refugee admissions. Trump said: “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.”
Trump launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in June 2015 by accusing unauthorized Mexicans of “bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They’re rapists … but some, I assume, are good people. ” (Rural Migration News, 2015). There was an immediate negative reaction. Most pundits thought that Trump’s inflammatory comments would doom his first campaign for elective office, especially since he was competing with well-known senators and the brother of ex-President George W. Bush.
Trump won the most votes in state-by-state primaries and became the Republican candidate for president in July 2016 with a nationalist platform that centered on Make America Great Again. After a short visit to Mexico, candidate Trump outlined a 10-point immigration plan on August 31, 2016 that began with a wall on the Mexican border to be paid for by Mexico and ended in ambiguity about what would happen to unauthorized foreigners in the US. He said “No citizenship. They’ll pay back taxes … There’s no amnesty, but we will work with them.” (Rural Migration News, 2016).
President Trump in January 2017 ordered DHS to redirect funds to plan for construction of a wall on the Mexico-US border and to beef up interior enforcement by adding 10,000 agents to the current 10,000 to detect and remove unauthorized foreigners convicted of US crimes.7 Trump said that Mexico would pay for the wall, if necessary with a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports.
Trump reinstated a program that allows federal immigration agents to train state and local police officers to detect unauthorized foreigners and to hold them for federal agents or involves state and local police joining task forces with federal enforcement agents to pursue criminal gangs. Trump’s order expanded the definition of criminals who are the highest priorities for deportation to include those charged, and not necessarily convicted, of US crimes. Trump threatened to withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities that “willfully refuse” to cooperate with DHS, prompting California legislators to say they would nonetheless defy Trump and prohibit state and local police from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement agents.8
Trump suspended the admission of refugees for 120 days, blocked the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely, reduced planned refugee resettlements in the US in FY17 from 110,000 to 50,000, and banned entries for 90 days from seven countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.9 The entry-ban was blocked by the courts, and re-issued in March 2017 to block only new entries from six countries, with Iraq removed from the list, and this revised order was also blocked by courts.
Trump’s executive orders were widely condemned by most researchers, who emphasize that unauthorized Mexico-US migration has fallen to historic lows as Mexico completes its fertility transition and better education and more jobs in Mexico keep most potential migrants at home. Most researchers conclude that migrants are less likely to commit crimes than similar US-born persons, and that efforts to detect and remove unauthorized foreigners would be costly10 and break up mixed families, those in which some members are unauthorized while others are US-born and thus US citizens. Finally, researchers decried reducing refugee admissions, arguing that the US has long been a haven for those seeking refuge and that most refugees integrate successfully and are not terrorist threats.
The US does not have a governmental migration commission that studies the socio-economic effects of migration on an ongoing basis. Each house of Congress has an immigration subcommittee that conducts oversight hearings on migration-related issues that range from visa issuance to unauthorized migration to guest workers. Researchers are often invited to testify, although the majority party controls most of the witnesses allowed to testify. Private foundations and the federal government support a wide range of migration research, most of which concludes that migrants and their children are integrating successfully, with few adverse and many positive effects on the US economy and society.
Conclusions: Research and Policy
Most social science research on migration is optimistic, finding that immigrants help themselves by moving to the US and enrich the US economy and society. There are several reasons for this optimism, including economists who find that migrants expand the labor force and the economy without hurting US workers, sociologists who find that most newcomers integrate successfully, and political scientists who are more likely to celebrate diversity rather than emphasize the loss of social capital.
There are three major lessons of the US experience. First, the locus of migration research shifted from historians who examined how immigrants integrated into and changed US society to contemporary migration in the 1970s, when the number of legal immigrants and unauthorized foreigners rose and the origins of most migrants shifted from Europe to Latin America and Asia. A new generation of researchers, many of whom were immigrants themselves, from George Borjas (from Cuba), David Card (Canada), Alejandro Portes (Cuba), and Giovanni Peri (Italy), examined the impacts of contemporary migration, often with the goal of influencing migration policies.
Second, most government- and foundation-supported research concluded that immigration was beneficial for the migrants and the US economy and society. The Mexican Migration Project supported by the US government obtained work and migration histories from thousands of Mexicans in Mexico who had been in the US. Massey concluded that Mexico-US migration had mostly mutually beneficial circular patterns until the US government stepped up border enforcement, “trapping” unauthorized Mexicans in the US. The general theme of social science research was that immigrants generate more benefits than costs, although some warned that there was a risk of segmented assimilation, as when frustrated immigrant children or the children of immigrants who identified with US minorities could feel unable to get ahead, drop out of school, and perhaps join gangs.
Third, unauthorized migration became an increasingly contentious issue. The research and elite consensus was that three-pronged comprehensive immigration reforms including more enforcement, legalization for unauthorized foreigners in the US, and new guest worker programs would be enacted after Hillary Clinton was elected president. This means that Trump’s plans for a wall on the border and widespread deportations were denounced as unneeded and too expensive. Since Clinton was expected to win, the foundations supporting migration research spent more on projects to implement legalization than to anticipate the effects of increased enforcement.
Comparisons with two other issues may highlight links between research and policy in migration. For two centuries, economists have preached the virtues of freer trade, arguing that comparative advantage ensures that most people in trading countries are better off, since winners can compensate losers and still be better off. Free trade became the mantra of opinion leaders in both major political parties and all significant research institutions, with lip service paid to the need to compensate the losers from freer trade by retraining displaced workers for new jobs. Opposition to freer trade came largely from unions representing manufacturing workers that found retraining displaced manufacturing workers for service jobs usually resulted in lower wages, that is, retraining left displaced workers worse off.
Research on the causes of and appropriate responses to climate change are similar. Even with agreement that the climate is warming, there is disagreement over how much warming is due to human activities and the appropriate investment needed now to avoid problems in the future. Most researchers conclude that human activities are a major cause of climate change, and that a significant investment is required now to minimize future adjustment costs. As with migration, the few researchers who disagree on the need for a carbon tax or other investments now to avoid future problems are considered out of the mainstream, with their research often dismissed because some was funded by energy firms that would be adversely affected by carbon taxes.
Perhaps the two most telling facts about US migration research involve consistent results and no penalties for objectively wrong predictions. In migration research, one needs to read only the name of the researcher to know the conclusions. Most economists consistently find that low-skilled migrants either help or hurt similar US workers, and their results do not vary with the data source or model. Second, there appear to be few penalties for false predictions, as illustrated by the careers of those who confidently predicted in the 1970s, when there were fewer than two million Mexican-born US residents, that Mexicans were sojourners, not settlers, and would not settle in the US. There were 12 million Mexican-born persons in the US in 2014, plus an additional 18 million children born to them in the US.
Americans are better educated than ever before, and there is more scientific research than ever. However, the willingness of the public and politicians to accept the results of scientific research has perhaps never been lower. Examples of research ranging from the value of particular drugs and dietary advice are often dismissed by those who disagree with the conclusions. Instead of confronting the science, the critics often suggest that research results were tainted by their funders.
Borjas, George. 2003. The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market. Quarterly Journal of Economics. pp1335-74. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/118/4/1335/1925108/The-Labor-Demand-Curve-is-Downward-Sloping
Brown, Anna and Renee Stepler. 2016. Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States. www.pewhispanic.org/2016/04/19/statistical-portrait-of-the-foreign-born-popu lation-in-the-united-states-trends/
Card, David. 1989. The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market. NBER Working Paper No. 3069. https://www.nber.org/papers/w3069
Chiswick, Barry. 1978. The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men. Journal of Political Economy pp 897-921. https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jpolec/v86y1978i 5p897-921.html
DHS. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook
Higham, John. 1984. Send These to Me: Immigrants in Urban America. John Hopkins.https://books.google.com/books/about/Send_these_to_me.html?id=5JgYAQAAMAAJ& hl=en
Martin, Philip. 2009. Importing Poverty? Immigration and the Changing Face of Rural America. Yale University Press. www.yalebooks.com/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=978030020976
Martin, Philip. 2003. Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and Farm Workers. Ithaca. Cornell University Press. www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100792940& CFID=9652803&CFTOKEN=f1155d49f162eed5-5AABB7F9-C29B-B0E5-30D66D992EBA BD0B&jsessionid=84301cb0683d5770849b171b6b4e272f564cTR
Martin, Philip and Elizabeth Midgley. 2010. Immigration in America. Population Reference Bureau. June. www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2010/immigrationupdate1.aspx
Martin, Susan. 2011. A Nation of Immigrants. Cambridge. https://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/ catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521517997&ss=fro
Mines, Richard and Philip Martin. 1984. Immigrant workers and the California citrus industry. Industrial Relations, Vol 23, No 1. January: 139-149 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/ 10.1111/j.1468-232X.1984.tb00883.x/abstract
National Academies. 2015. The Integration of Immigrants into American Society. https://www.nap.edu/download/21746#
National Academies. 2016. The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration. https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23550/the-economic-and-fiscal-consequences-of-immigration
Smith, James and Barry Edmonston. Eds. 1997. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. National Research Council. www.nap.edu/catalog/ 5779/the-new-americans-economic-demographic-and-fiscal-effects-of-immigration
1 Migration News. 1997. NRC on Immigration. https://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php? id=1246
2 The original meaning of e pluribus unum was that from the 13 colonies comes one nation, but the phrase has evolved to symbolize unity from diversity, or the ability of the US to integrate newcomers (S Martin, 2011).
3 There were 11.7 million Mexican-born residents in 2014, four million born in the Caribbean, 3.3 million born in Central America, and 2.8 million born in South America, that is, 21.8 million or 52 percent of all foreign-born residents were from Latin America.
4 Stocks changed slower than flows. In 1960, 85 percent of the 9.7 million foreign-born residents were from Europe or Canada; by 1980, their share dropped to 43 percent of 14 million (Brown and Stepler, 2016).
5 The average employment of hired workers on US farms was 2.5 million. https://usda.mannlib. cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1063
6 www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/students-and-employm ent/stem-opt. Employers do not have to try to recruit US workers before hiring OPT graduates, and there are no special wages that must be paid to OPT employees.
7 Two-thirds of the two million foreigners who were put in removal proceedings after being detected by Secure Communities enforcement had committed only misdemeanor crimes. The Priority Enforcement Program unveiled in November 2014 targeted foreigners convicted of felonies and gang members.
8 Sanctuaries are states, counties, and cities that limit their cooperation with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the Department of Homeland Security. In 2015, there were four states, 326 counties, and 32 cities that had declared themselves to be sanctuaries for unauthorized foreigners (www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/sanctuarycities-trust-acts-and-community-policing-explained).
9 The US admitted 785,000 refugees since September 11, 2001, including a dozen who were arrested or removed from the US due to terrorism concern. Some 3.2 million refugees were admitted since 1975, including 85,000 in FY16, of whom 72 percent were women and children. In FY16, 38,900 Muslim and 37,500 Christian refugees were admitted.
10 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimated in 2016 that it costs $12,200 to identify and remove each unauthorized foreigner, a cost that could drop if state and local governments cooperated with ICE. See www.politico.com/story/2016/12/is-donald-trump-deportation-plan-impossible-233041
Twice in modern history, Greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham) and its peoples have experienced massive displacement. In the 100 years between 1850 and 1950 Syria received several million forced migrants from the contested borderlands of the Imperial Russian and Ottoman Empires. Then, a decade into the 21st century, Syria disintegrated into extreme violence triggering a displacement crisis of massive proportions. The speed with which the country emptied of nearly 30 % of its population shocked the world and left the humanitarian aid regime in turmoil as agencies struggled to respond to the growing displacement crisis on Syria’s borders. Each country bordering on Syria has responded differently to this complex emergency: Turkey rushed to set up its own refugee camps for the most vulnerable groups, but generally supported self-settlement of Syrians; Lebanon refused to allow the international humanitarian aid regime to set up formal refugee camps preferring to encourage multiple informal settlements near areas of labour shortages; and Jordan openly accepted Syrians to self-settle for nearly a year then reversed its policy and insisted upon the setting up of a massive United Nations refugee camp thus distancing Syrians from urban areas and opportunities to establish livelihoods. And Europe, after 2015, sought to contain these nearly 5 million displaced people in the region. This study addresses the disparities in perceptions and aspirations of practitioners and displaced Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It also seeks to identify what measures and conditions – if any – are regarded as critical by the three target communities for a safe and secure future.
The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State in Syria
Twice in modern history, Greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham) and its peoples have experienced massive displacement. In the 100 years between 1850 and 1950 Syria received several million forced migrants from the contested borderlands of the Imperial Russian and Ottoman Empires. At the close of the Crimean War (1853-1856), and the following two Ottoman- Russian Wars in the 1860s and 1880s, an excess of 3 million forced migrants from the Crimea, Caucasus and the Balkans entered the Ottoman provinces of Anatolia; many continued on their journeys to the Arab regions of the Levant (Greater Syria). The Ottoman administration faced with dealing with the aftermath of what many historians labelled as the first genocide in modern history established a special commission to address the needs of these forcibly displaced Tatars (Crimean Muslims), Circassians, Chechnyans, Abkhaza, Abaza, and other related ethnic groups. The Commission (Muhacirin Komisyonu) set out generous terms for the resettlement of these people granting them some freedom of choice along the sparsely settled agricultural lands of Greater Syria. This ‘Refugee’ Commission – the first of its kind in contemporary history - offered incoming forced migrants agricultural land, draught animals, seeds, and other support in the form of tax relief for a period of between 6-12 years depending on location, and exemptions from military service for a decade (Chatty 2010). All effort was made to see these settlers become self-sufficient in as short a time as possible. Social and economic integration into numerous ethnically –mixed settlements of Greater Syria was encouraged rather than any effort to force these immigrants to assimilate into the majority culture of the area. This policy of ‘integration without assimilation’ resulted in the conscious promotion of the cosmopolitan and convivial nature of urban and rural communities in the late Ottoman Empire.
At the close of World War One as many as half a million Armenians found refuge settling among their co-religionists in Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut, and Jerusalem. When the modern Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, 10,000 Kurds fled across the border into Syria choosing to escape from the forced secularism of Kemal Ataturk’s new Turkey and the abolition of the Islamic Caliphate. The Inter-War French mandate (1920-1946) over the modern, greatly reduced, territorial state of Syria saw a continuation of these processes, with waves of Assyrian Christians entering the country in the 1930s seeking asylum and safety from deplorable conditions in Iraq. All these forced migrants were granted citizenship in the new Syrian state. And then in the late 1940s, Syria was the safe harbour for over 100,000 Palestinians fleeing the Nakbah (Catastrophe) and the creation of the state of Israel. Negotiations to grant up to 300,000 Palestinians Syrian citizenship then floundered with the assassination of the Syrian President Husni Zaim (Shlaim 1986). It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the modern ‘truncated’ Syrian state, carved out of Greater Syria by the League of Nations in 1920 and granted full independence in 1946, was a place of refuge for hundreds of thousands of ethnoreligious minorities uprooted from their homelands, near and far, as a result of war, of arbitrary lines drawn across maps, and ethno-sectarian strife.
Even in the early 21st century, Syria admitted over a million Iraqi refugees into its country hosting them as ‘temporary guests’ and brother Arabs. As long as they and other refugees from Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea conducted their business quietly and with little public display, they were tolerated by the Syrian Ba’thi state. The Arab and Syrian institution of hospitality and refuge meant that, until 2011, the humanitarian aid regime did not have to deal with mass influx into Europe of Iraqi or other refugees from the Arab world.
Figure 1 Forced migrations to Syria till the midst of the 20st century. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used in this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.
Then, a decade into the 21st century, Syria disintegrated into extreme violence triggering a displacement crisis of massive proportions. The speed with which the country emptied of nearly 30 % of its population shocked the world and left the humanitarian aid regime in turmoil as agencies struggled to respond to the growing displacement crisis on Syria’s borders. Each country bordering on Syria has responded differently to this complex emergency: Turkey rushed to set up its own refugee camps for the most vulnerable groups, but generally supported selfsettlement of Syrians; Lebanon refused to allow the international humanitarian aid regime to set up formal refugee camps; and Jordan openly accepting Syrians to self-settle for nearly a year then reversed its policy and insisted upon the setting up of a massive United Nations refugee camp. Turkey and Lebanon have generally permitted Syrians to enter as temporary ‘guests’; Jordan has returned some – con trary to international norms. Lebanon and Jordan have not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention that sets out principles and responsibilities of states in providing protection and asylum for those deemed to fit the definition of ‘refugee’ according to the 1951 Statutes and the 1967 Protocol. And although Turkey has signed the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, it has reserved its interpretation of the Convention to apply only to Europeans seeking refuge /asylum in Turkey.
UN estimates are that over 60% of the Syrian refugee flow across international borders is self-settling in cities, towns and villages where they have social and economic networks. In Turkey, most refugees are clustered in the southern region of the country bordering Syria and circular migration in and out of the country is tolerated. Despite a general rejection of encampment among those fleeing, still some 10-15% of Syrians in Turkey are in state-run emergency assistance camps. In Lebanon, informal settlements – often based on pre-existing relationships with ‘gang-master’ agricultural hierarchies - have proliferated with patron-client relationships developing which overshadow the generally more transparent management of humanitarian aid. In Jordan, self-settled refugees from Syria found to be illegally working are ‘deported’ into the UN managed refugee camps of Za’tari or Azraq from which there is no escape other than paying to be sponsored by a Jordanian or to be smuggled out and re-enter the liminal state of irregular status.
Mass Influx Contained Regionally?
Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have each established a variety of measures to deal with this, now, protracted crisis. However, in each country, neither the displaced nor the hosting communities have been consulted. Discrepancies rapidly became visible and tensions and protests quickly emerged among host communities, displaced Syrians and humanitarian policy-makers. After the 2015 mass influx of Syrians into Europe via the land bridge of the Balkans, the humanitarian regime, led by the EU, responded with efforts to make remaining in the region more practicable and more palatable for both the hosting countries and Syrians. The current situation, however, remains unsustainable and threatens to test the humanitarian aid regimes’ preferred ‘solution’ of regionally containing the crisis. Without significant changes in policy and practice throughout the region, Syria’s forced migrants will continue to find ways of leaving the region in search of protection – temporary protection – elsewhere. Unable to work and provide their children with an education for the future they will move on risking their lives in dangerous sea crossings and exhausting land marches led by people smugglers.
This paper sets out to understand the disparity in perceptions, and aspirations, of refugees from Syria, as well as host communities and practitioners in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. It also seeks to identify what measures and conditions – if any – are regarded as important by the three target communities for a future return, and reintegration in Syria once conditions permit.
Methodology and Methods
The field study upon which this paper is based was a multi-sited, 12 month qualitative and participatory research endeavor conducted between October 2014 and September 2015 in Turkey (Istanbul and Gazianteb), Lebanon (Beirut and the Bekaa), and Jordan (Amman and Irbid). Interviews were conducted in Arabic and in English and interpretation was only required in Turkey when interviewing members of local communities hosting refugees from Syria. Once the initial key informants were selected using a purposive sampling approach, a snowballing technique was employed to identify further participants for interviewing keeping an eye on ...