Exploring the Multi-dimensional Aspects of Human Migration (LEAD IT 2018 Faculty Panel)

Exploring the Multi-dimensional Aspects of Human Migration (LEAD IT 2018 Faculty Panel)


Steve Wermiel, the president of the
Alumni Association welcome to day two of lead it I hope you had a wonderful day
yesterday I enjoyed the panels and really learned a lot highlights for me I
think obviously hearing from the president and the provost and the
chairman of the board was wonderful the announcement that the race colonialism
and diaspora consortium is becoming a department I think was very exciting to
hear and a great step in the right direction
the amazing interdisciplinary work that we heard about on all the panels but I
think maybe I learned the most about the antimicrobial resistant bacteria and
infection scared the hell out of me but but good to know what’s out there enjoyed the chance to get to meet new
people and speak with lots of people and hope to do more of that today and hope
others are doing that as well we have a full day and an interesting day planned
for you this morning we’re going to start with a panel discussion featuring
professors from Fletcher school before moving to an interactive session where
you can learn about different volunteer opportunities and expand your volunteer
roles and then we’re going to hear from a panel of current students and finally
midday we will have a meeting of the Alumni Council those of you that are not
council members I hope will join us and will talk to you a little bit about how
the council works and what it does and who we are our panel today is on human
migration a global concern the Tufts professors are currently examining
learning that Tufts is involved should come as no surprise making a global
impact is not only a key component of the brighter world campaign but also an
important part of the Tufts mission always shaped by common intellectual
experiences in classrooms and labs Tufts students and faculty are taking on
active roles in the wider world and addressing complex problems they’re
making a difference but not just in international relations they’re making a
difference in nutrition in public health and disease and the environment and in
so many other areas Tufts is preparing the next generation
of leaders to work cooperatively and compassionately across borders to enact
solutions I’m really excited and proud to be part of this community the Tufts
community that’s tackling some of the toughest global issues of the 21st
century and I hope you share that sentiment part
of Tufts’ mission is to provide transformative experiences for students
how do we do this in part by providing robust financial aid and scholarship
programs that allow the university to match students dreams with opportunities
in the arts and humanities and social sciences engineering science and
medicine the lessons learned on campus today will continue to inform their
successful and engaged lives long after they graduate providing an inclusive and
collaborative environment where creative scholars generate bold ideas innovate in
the face of complex challenges and distinguish themselves as active
citizens of the world is what sets Tufts apart from many other universities it’s
engrained in our culture that’s who we are active citizens making
a difference during the day today just a reminder again don’t forget to tweet
about your favorite leading moments using the hashtag hashtag Tufts lead it
and tagging us at Tufts University or share your thoughts on the boards
downstairs by the registration table I hope you will have a wonderful day too
of lead it and let’s get on with the program thank you thank you Steve good morning everyone
now my name is Mark Ferri I’m the co-chair of the lead it host committee
along with my co-chair Diana Lopez I’m a double jumbo undergraduate 1984 and a
Fletcher graduate 1986 I’ve been a member of the Alumni Council since 1995
I’ve had the pleasure of working with many people here and those who were
before them on a variety of committees and really it’s the working college
ality that’s really given way to lasting and durable friendships and really
that’s what makes the council so special so I urge all of you who are considering
a role to really take an active role engage yourself in the council because
the rewards will really be much larger than the investment that you’ll make on
to today’s topic as Steve has started to mention migration has been a challenge
throughout human history the difference today is that social media 24-hour cable
news bring the realities into our lives on a daily basis for the past two years
investigators at the Henry J Leir Institute at the Fletcher School of Law
and Diplomacy have been looking at the state and local authorities house 8 and
local authorities are managing migration challenges in Europe and the Americas
and how these challenges may be affecting the perceived legitimacy of
such authorities in transit states like Greece and Mexico again as Steve
mentioned we have with us today professors from the Fletcher School who
are going to share their research and insights into the migration experience
from the vantage point of those on the move as well as those in the host
communities who either welcome or resent the newcomers moderating the discussion
is Dr. Eileen Babbitt, director of the Henry J Leir Institute and principal
investigator of the migration research project please join me in welcoming Dr.
Babbit good morning everyone
nice to see you the introduction sort of sums up what we’re here to do today as
was mentioned I’m the principal investigator and coordinator of a study
that’s being funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to look at
migration and the challenges thereof and how it might affect or should be
affecting local national and global policy thinking what I and my colleagues
would like to do this morning is present different lenses through which we’ve
come to view this migration challenge global trends regional politics and the
individual experiences of the migrants themselves so you begin to get to see a
full picture of the complexity of these problems my colleagues who will be
speaking in this order are Monica Toft professor of international security
Katrina Burgess associate professor of political economy and Kim Wilson
Kimberly Wilson senior lecturer in International Business and human
security all of whom have been looking at this question and and the attending
challenges for many years and in very in many different and intersecting ways so
I’d like to start with Monica I’d like to begin with you can you give us
insight into how the world community is viewing international migration
especially countries on the receiving end of migration flows and what accounts
for these perspectives so good morning I’m delighted to be here I was happy to
wake up and have an extra hour on a Sunday morning and this morning I’m
going to talk to you about nativism which I prefer over nationalism because
I’m looking at the countries that are receiving immigrants and refugees and
then in global politics so I lived in the UK for a couple of
years right before brexit in fact I was there during the brexit vote and the
rhetoric and actually the actions got pretty hostile I don’t know if you
remember but an MP was actually killed over the brexit vote so you can’t hear
it here okay is that better maybe I’ll just hold the mic I’ll just hold it so I
was living in the UK and in Oxford which arguably is one of the most educated
towns in the world and I would take the bus to and from work and I got on the
bus one day and there was a local newspaper very local newspaper sitting
next to me and I picked it up and somebody has started to scribble all
over it and I don’t know if you can see but you know the PM is promising to cut
migration immigration and you could see the person writes promises promises stop
it all together we’re all full up so immigration was a extraordinarily
critical to brexit so I thought okay that’s sort of the
front page of the newspaper and I started reading through and on the next
page was a an article about a teacher who’d by girl pupils for a threesome no
commentary and I was struck okay it’s basically a white probably British
English chap and because while I was struck by that as I get to the next page
and I sorry for the the sticking up of the middle fingers but here are two
young men who basically stole a wallet from a man who had fallen asleep and
instead of you know you can see that they say bring back the cane which is
you know going back to you know corporal punishment but the common is as bad as
the pakis right and so in the UK it’s Pakistan at South Asia that scene is
sort of over running the country and I was really struck by that in the
rhetoric if you had lived there during the brexit got really hostile and to me
this was reflective of it coming in on you know on a bus and Oxford where you
tend not just hear and see that kind of thing so I took pictures of it and and
use it to demonstrate that even in Oxford a city just like mex or Medford
tops where we’re supposed to have open debate and dialogue and respect and and
and treat each other with respect this kind of thing is happening on a regular
basis so what’s happening is is I think this nativism which I
over nationalism it feeds into populism and populism I’ll explain what I mean by
that in a second and it’s researching globally we can just look around the
world and see sort of the mass demonstrations of people saying that
they want a direct response or a direct action with their government its
domestically sourced it’s coming out of public policy at which people believe is
bad public policy but it’s globally fed and with social media has already been
alluded to people are learning from each other around the globe we can think
about the Arab Spring and it is a foreign policy issue in terms of
immigration so nativism it’s a set of a beliefs around the idea that the
interests of Native inhabited against those of the immigrants and it’s
sometimes referred to as majority ethnic nationalism or in extreme cases
xenophobic nationalism where there’s actually fear that’s embedded in that
it’s often linked to populism if you think about popular is a very worthy
slide but the idea populism is that the existent system is corrupt and that the
elites are corrupt and that the institutions are corrupt and they need
to be changed so you think about the UK the the the election right before the
brexit vote the Liberal Democrats are basically were tossed out of office
because they had made too many compromises as a party the Conservatives
and labor they don’t know where they stand and you can think about this
country the Republicans and the Democrats are really having a hard time
what do they stand for and it’s because people are challenging them and saying
we don’t know what they stand for but you’re not you’re not standing for what
we think you should stand for and what ends up happening is if these political
parties in these institutions and it could also corporate elites oftentimes
are targeted as well and we can think about Brazil right in the corruption is
that it gives rise to personalistic regimes because the institutions aren’t
valid anymore so you look for people that can speak truth to power so they
say and when it’s happening and we’re seeing this around the world and
established democracies is that there’s no loyal opposition anymore it’s the
enemy of the real people who these people have decided are the real people
all right and we see that a hungry in Poland I think are the most extreme so
why now I think it’s a convergence of three trends one is modernization which
the state the modern state promised to end war I’m a student of war promise to
end famine look at Yemen prong which is actually an artifact of
war among other things it promised to deliver medical services education
proper roads and modern states are not doing that right they’re falling back on
that the third is the rise of democratization which is a good thing it
really took off but what it means is you’ve got content contested politics
and in many places where there was not prior and then lastly globalization and
its capacity to deliver ideas people and resources of course across borders so
modernization there’s four interrelated aspects to it and and how it failed that
it didn’t eradicate that and it created a backlash right and so people are
looking for alternatives and in a book that I wrote prior to this one place
they look was to religious leaders and religious institutions because it turns
out who’s delivering foreign aid around the world there’s an estimate between
four and seven dollar four and a forty to seventy percent of all world
eight dollars go through religious institutions there on the ground and so
many corners it was religious institutions but in any event it created
a backlash a change of Institute demand for change of institutions it’s both a
left and a right issue and it’s not just about reforming the system its
overthrowing it this is what happened in Britain and I’ll show you some data in a
second so if you look in the United States supposed to be the most developed
country in the world right and they’re supposed to be flip privileged right
whites are supposed to be privileged in this country but how do we explain that
non educate non-college educated white males are dying disproportionately it’s
gone up over a hundred percent their death rates oh and by the way at the
bottom most of us were all here were college-educated you can see that number
because it’s not differentiated enough but men and women with a fork and this
isn’t working with the four-year college degree those
numbers are actually slightly ticking up even the people in this room how can
that be in this modern state and then you can
look at us and income inequality this was a piece and the Washington Post and
what it shows is is that in the past it was the poor in the middle classes that
got most of the benefits of any economic growth but since 2000 you know a 10 that
has gone disproportionately not to the point 1 percent not to the 1% but the
point 0 0 1 percent so the income inequality has really
dramatically so while modernization failed modern states are not delivering
what they’re supposed to democratization thrived and you can see this is good
news I’m sorry to be a downer in a Sunday morning but the good news is
actually the number of democracies are rising the bad news is that it’s
contested we know this from the Federalist Papers right that monitor
that it’s the fight between different coalition’s right but what this means as
new voices are being heard and challenging the system and it’s messy
and divisive business and you get elite outbidding which is political parties
jockeying for our votes right trying to slice and dice the electorate and we see
this in the United States where we’ve got it down to the household practically
about who’s going to vote where so and then that’s the second once of
modernization and democratization and then globalization facilitated the
movement of ideas and people and it’s sort of worldwide and it’s really taken
off particularly since in 1945 and then again in 1970 with the container ship
which had a profound impact on trade and in the world but then also satellite
communications and you can see this is a World Bank I’d use my pointer but it’s
not working but you can see the 1970s satellite communications really helped a
lot now one of the things were supposed to be talking about immigration is is
that immigration actually has not been on the rise it’s been fairly constant
since the 1990s most people don’t realize that what hasn’t been constant
is a number of refugees and my colleagues are going to talk about
refugees going over borders and again it comes down to a public policy issue
where are they coming from they’re coming from Iraq and Afghanistan the
United States because the invasions of Iraq in particular but then also
Afghanistan not helping to stem the tide and then Syria which really sort of set
Europe over edge because you had a mass of angry migrants coming in but we can
also go back to the 1990s and Wars and former Yugoslavia that the Europeans
that was when they really started thinking my gosh we need to do something
about these refugees but so be clear that it’s immigrants versus refugees and
it’s refugees who are fleeing war repression and oftentimes trying to seek
asylum because they can not go home either for sexual abuse sexual violence
harassment or just gang warfare and other kinds of things not to mention war
of course moreover why I think we’re you know
talking about these issues is that refugees come at a time of increasing
global terrorism so the only thing I want to let you to look at is the top
two countries here on the Left Poland and Hungary and there are the countries
that are now have them some of the most extreme sort of ideas about governance
and democracy right and it’s because they make a thick populations there make
a clear connection between refugees and terrorism and the truth is is the read
the data the research shows that actually there’s not yes there’s some
bad apples that go on to commit terrorist acts but for the most part
they just want to get on and live their lives all right so the convergence of
these trends have raised questions of who are we and where are we headed as
nations as peoples and so if you look at Europe this is not just an American it’s
not just a UK problem but if you look the rise of parties on the right are
directly correlated with the rise of migration with people trying to get in
to the borders and if you look at the brexit vote how you feel about
immigration regardless of your income is how you voted toward brexit it helped it
inform so if you if you felt like there’s too much immigration you tended
to vote for brexit because it would allow you to control your borders if you
didn’t then you didn’t vote for brexit and surprise surprise we see the same
thing with attitudes toward Trump this is why we’re talking about the wall the
caravan it’s appealing to a portion of the population regardless of income this
is not an income issue right that there’s a direct correlation between
your vote and how you feel about immigration and your vote for Trump all
right so nativism and Popular’s and the bad news is it’s here to stay for a long
time you know people have to get out and vote and and decide what they want to do
about it it’s complex and it’s complicated right it’s not just income
education it’s and what I would say it actually boils down to really solid good
public policy which is why I’m at the Fletcher School with these great
colleagues and traditional political parties any leads they’re struggling
with this they’re trying to figure this out right we hear the Republicans are
trying to figure out what is their message just as the Democrats are trying
to figure out what is their message because the people are not happy and
then we’re going to continue to have conversations about who are we who does
not belong and does belong thank you very much hello
hello can you hear me okay so now we’re going to move to Katrina Burgess and
we’re going to shift to the regional view and focus on what’s happening in
the Americas so we hear a lot about this in the news particularly in the run-up
to the midterms elections what should we in the United States know
about this northward migration from Central America toward the United States thank you very much good morning so what
what I’m going to try to do to this morning is actually to get underneath
some of the rhetoric that we’ve been hearing and that that Monica talked
about mostly in the European context but clearly it’s happening here as Eileen
mentioned leading up to the midterms and try to share some of what is actually
going on in the Americas with regard to migration as opposed to the myths that
are being propagated and that many of us I think believe about migration in the
Americas the political discourse here is very out of step with the reality with a
very fast-paced reality and the fear-mongering that is being generated
by politicians around the world but but I’m going to focus on the Americas is is
creating fear about challenges that aren’t really very dangerous but
ignoring others that are very frightening and that need to be
addressed although not through scaremongering tactics and one of the
things is I think there’s not enough tension paid to the drivers and the
costs of migration south of the border and the impact that that’s having on
individual migrants on communities and on societies and then there’s a naive
assumption I think often that if we can just keep people outside our borders
everything will be okay it’s a naive assumption particularly in a highly
globalized world and we we ignore this reality at our own peril and so it would
be better to a manage these effects humanely and with attention to
unintended consequences of which there are many in this space so I’m gonna I’m
gonna try to debunk four myths or and/or unpack them at least one myth is there
is no invasion from the south we’ve been hearing a lot about the migrant caravan
coming through Mexico which is actually a pretty regular thing but it’s gotten
blown up into this big political political spectacle let’s look at the
data first of all net migration from Mexico to the United States turned a
negative in the mid-2000s so there are more Mexicans going back to Mexico than
are coming to the United States that’s point number one point number two Asians
have overtaken Latinos as the fastest growing immigrant group in the United
States and they are not for the most part coming through Mexico into the into
the u.s. they’re not crossing the border a few are but generally they’re not
third us-mexico border crossings are at their lowest level since the 1970s and
I’ll show you a chart in in a minute that clearly demonstrates that and
fourth they’re a declining number of undocumented immigrants they’ve gone
down by by several hundred thousand in the last few years so this idea that
we’re under siege were under attack it just doesn’t match reality it’s not it’s
not what’s happening it’s change fundamentally since the 1990s and this
is an interesting chart that shows the decline the rather steep and rapid
decline of southwest border apprehensions that have as I mentioned
dropped to their their lowest level since the 1970s despite there being many
times more Border Patrol right so this peak in the tooth in 2000 was with half
as many border agents so they were catching far met more people trying to
cross with fewer with fewer border agents this which to really suggest that
fewer people are trying to cross all right myth number two is that higher
barriers make us more secure this is very much a part of the discourse right
and I want to try to debunk this a little as well although it requires a
somewhat more nuanced and broader definition of what
we mean by security so one thing that we’ve clearly seen is that US policies
become far more restriction aside our traditional crossing points particularly
places like Tijuana El Paso which are you know have fences and cameras and you
can’t sneak across the border there anymore so what a migrant do who do try
to cross they go to Arizona and try to cross through the desert and many of
them died on the journey second we’ve increased our internal enforcement of
deportation so we the the u.s. didn’t used to enforce terribly rigorously
migrants who were living inside the United States that has changed
dramatically as we know with all the the contestation about ice and the role of
ice raids and workplaces raids in in communities the deportation of long term
residents this is a relatively new phenomenon and then finally the
externalization of immigration control to Mexico Mexico is doing more detaining
and deporting than the United States and primarily of Central Americans so we’ve
kind of outsourced our immigration control to Mexico which creates a number
of problems so what happens what happens is our border is secure but migrants are
not journeys are far more dangerous and expensive and now cost tens of thousands
of dollars to cross at least even vaguely safely unless you join one of
these caravans and who has benefited criminal networks smugglers drug
traffickers corrupt officials smuggling is now a multi-billion dollar business
in Mexico and it’s a direct result of of restriction esteem aggression policies
so what we’re seeing are shocking levels of migrant deaths abuse and extortion to
just give you some a couple of data points according to one source around 47
thousand migrants lost their lives in Mexico between 2007 and 2013 another
organization estimates that around 20 thousand migrants go missing each year
and at least a third of female migrants are sexually abused these are shocking
statistics that we don’t hear much about in the news and then so these caravans
become the safest at alternative for these migrants this is a way to to avoid
getting wrapped in the smuggler networks but be able to
cross because doing so alone is no longer terribly viable and so we have
the infamous Caravan that is currently trying to make its way through Mexico
but it’s a way to stay safe in numbers rather than some sort of Machiavellian
invasion so the third myth or sort of fuzziness
that I want to try to try to unpack is this this distinction which Monica
mentioned between migrants and refugees and it’s an increasingly unuseful
distinction because it’s really not clear where the line is so so one thing
that we’re seeing in Americas which is quite different is the drivers of
migration are no longer primarily economic I started studying migration
and I was a you know I studied labor migration well now that’s that doesn’t
cover a lot of what’s happening in the Americas so but but the the literature’s
the policy network so looking at migrants versus refugees are very
different and we need to we need to move beyond that so Central Americans are
fleeing homicide domestic abuse gang recruitment they’re they’re being pushed
out out of their homes by astronomical levels of violence and then they’re the
Venezuelans which Eileen’s question didn’t mention and this I think is the
really big story that were not paying much attention to since 2015 the number
of Venezuelans who have fled their home is almost two million if you look at
registered migrants and then they’re another 2 million or so who are
travelling without papers about 600,000 of them have gone to Colombia next door
so this is an enormous exodus if it keeps on pace it could catch up to the
Syrian refugee flight so this is a major development that’s happening very close
by and nobody’s paying attention to however most of these migrants from
Central America and Venezuela don’t classify as refugees as a result they
fall outside of the refugee protection regime there are some efforts to push
South American governments to treat the Venezuelans like refugees but it’s
having mixed success so there’s a clear need to rethink this whole the migration
and refugees to address these kinds of these kinds of
flows and this is just a quick look at how dangerous it is to live in in
countries in the northern triangle the the homicide rates and the femicide
rates and Al Salvador and Honduras are among the most dangerous countries in
the world Venezuela is also very high up there
it may be first at this point okay fine oh and then this is the this is a way to
try to figure out in the inflation rate in Venezuela cuz there are no statistics
so it’s called the Cafe con Leche Index which is where they took the price of a
cup of coffee and with milk and they a fault they traced it and as you can see
it’s it’s getting close to two million percent inflation children are dying of
malnutrition the hospital the health care system has collapsed I mean it is a
true humanitarian disaster and people are fleeing in in droves which brings me
to the fourth and final maybe misunderstanding if not a myth which is
that the burden is not really being and this is true in Europe as well the
advanced industrialized countries are not the ones bearing this burden it’s
not the United States it’s not Western Europe its countries of the global south
it’s the neighboring countries and in the case of Latin America its Mexico its
Brazil its Colombia it’s Peru it’s Ecuador and many of these countries
historically been countries of emigration they’re not used to trying to
absorbing and providing the needs of immigrants it’s a very new phenomenon
for them and they’re willfully unprepared to do it and yet they’re
there they’re the ones who are who are having to host these populations so so
far and I’ll close with this the lack of the kind of backlash that we heard about
in Monica’s presentation is remarkable actually there are some there been some
attacks on migrant camps there have been some demonstration anti-immigrant
demonstrations in Ecuador a far-right populist just won the election in Brazil
but not with much of an anti-immigrant rhetoric he was worried about other
things however I think it’s coming it’s coming if something isn’t done we’re
going to see very similar types of backlash very similar types of politics
in the Americas if we don’t act soon – as an international community to do
something – to help these countries manage these these these new populations
thank you okay so now we’ve looked at the global perspective where we’ve
looked at the regional questions particularly in the Americas and so now
a Kim Wilson you’ve spent a lot of time in the last two years interviewing
migrants as they travel both in Europe and here in the Americas what have you
learned from them about the nature of these journeys thank you so much it’s a
privilege to be here and welcome so let me start off by talking about migration
and metamorphosis and you’ll see in a moment where I’m getting at so this is a
group of Fletcher students eight of them to be precise I couldn’t get them all in
this one photo and we went down together to Central America and were joined by
four students from you piece and these students were from Nepal from Algeria
from India from Bangladesh and from French was speaking Africa and we also
had Spanish speakers and a couple of English speakers among us and I’ll tell
you why this collection of fantastically brilliant students and here you can see
us we’re interviewing people we’re interviewing people from Bangladesh
India from Nepal from Eritrea from North Africa from Syria from Yemen and all
over West Africa as well including primarily Cameroon Ghana and Senegal and
here’s where we’re interviewing them you can see here we’re interviewing there
we’re intercepting them along their trails we’re interviewing them in cafes
we’re interviewing them at the side of the road so why are
people leaving these countries and where are they going so I’m going to give you
seven reasons but I’m putting it not in the technical terminology of migration
and refugee these are titles we confer on people it’s not necessarily how they
identify themselves so first I don’t feel safe I didn’t feel safe in my
country of origin my children didn’t feel safe whether that was domestic
violence or ethnic political or religious violence they did not feel
safe I had no freedoms I was conscripted in
the eritrean armored army and I couldn’t really do much about it I didn’t have
any sexual freedoms and anything else that you think is oppressive that’s why
people left I was poor in getting poorer grinding poverty nobody said they were
environmental refugees but when you heard their story you could see that
very much they were environmental refugees I
wanted to rejoin family in the u.s. or in Canada I wanted to pursue opportunity
I wanted education I wanted to start a business I wanted my children to be able
to do that I was shamed into coming my family urged me to come because my
cousin had successfully made the journey and they’re very very pressured this was
particularly Nepal ease coming and the last was I wanted to see the world and
perhaps that’s the most unsympathetic answer people could give but if you
think about it people have been migrating for centuries based on that
and I have a current passport and I have all kinds of stamps in it
I love to see the world and I would imagine every single person here does
the same so I want to see the world is an answer that came up particularly with
young men traveling alone or in groups and so here are some of the routes they
tec took to get to Costa Rica and mind you they’re moving north they’re trying
to move north a few were settling in Costa Rica
so I’m just going to trace a couple of the roots so this one starts in India
and they’re flying to Moscow we’re not sure why Moscow then to Milan then to
Rio de Janeiro and then they’re there taking buses and taxis all the way to
Lima Ecuador north to Colombia and then ultimately by foot and bus to Costa Rica
and here you see a route from Ghana now this this maps a roof of a stowaway he
took a boat and he arrived two weeks later in what he thought was Africa he
emerged in Sao Paulo and then he was told by somebody that he was in Brazil
and he was like okay and he kept moving getting odd jobs along the way and moved
north by bus through Ecuador Colombia Panama and then eventually to where we
saw him in Costa Rica and here’s actually somebody from East Africa and I
just did a bit of his route he stayed in Cuba for about four years
his name is Omar and he went to he flew to Guyana and then took a boat to Manaus
and then onward to Peru in the same route North that you can see and I’m
this is the last map I’m going to show you do you see how it breaks that break
in the map right in the middle is called the Darien Gap and the Darien Gap is
where the pan-american highway cannot go they have been not been able to engineer
through this jungle with mile high mountains and raging rivers a structure
that would not put the area in a great deal of environmental jeopardy so that’s
what the road stops but as one of our migrants said and I’m calling the
migrants because until they’re conferred as refugees they’re migrants said that
even though the road stops the economy is everywhere and this is to Katrina’s
point about there’s a very vibrant smuggling Network taking people through
this jungle and there’s also something everyone
called the Mafia the Mafia being a mixture of paramilitary and local gangs
which were robbing people in the jungle so if you went into the jungle with any
kind of money or a cell phone you came out without any money or a cell phone so
this brings us I’m just going to talk for a couple of minutes about identity
and metamorphosis so really what we saw our study was called the financial
journey of refugees so we were down there to see how did people finance
their journeys not just fund them but finance them and we can talk about that
if you want during our break and and the reason is is that I have a financial
background and was there a role for legitimate services Western Union money
Graham maybe even the banking system to play in helping people move move and
finance their journeys but what we saw was really it was an identity journey
that people were changing their identity across seven ten borders and each border
trying to be a sympathetic character based on what that particular country
saw is sympathetic so you were not welcome maybe in one
country as a Nepali so you passed as an Indian or maybe gonna ins we’re not
welcome because they spoke English and the French speaking Senegalese picked up
Spanish pretty quickly so it’d be better to say you were Senegalese so people are
actually switching out their identities and part of how they’re doing this is
they’re losing their passports they might have gotten to Brazil in Ecuador
with a passport but they’re ditching that passport as fast as they can to try
to assume a country of origin that seems more grievable to the border authorities
the second thing that would happen is people would assemble themselves in ways
that also look sympathetic so I might be a single woman traveling alone from
Cameroon but I would huddle together with maybe a man in a young young person
to look like a family and because when I cross that border I didn’t want to be
seen as you know some harlot that was was on her own and
fair game and the men would do the same things as well so people were changing
their countries of origin they’re assembling new family structures and all
with the idea of being able to move north and then finally when they would
get to the US border and we know this because we were able to interview some
people once they had safely made it back our students say back but here uh-huh
they were changing their stories to something that was more acceptable so
they might have left to see the world that’s mine might have been why they
left they might have left because they felt forced to by their family but
that’s not the story they told if they were from Nepal they said they were
fleeing the Maoists even though the Maoists haven’t really been a problem
there since the late 2000s they would create stories that the our border
people would think were permissible and acceptable and by the way we have some
alums that served as border authorities and we’re all too happy to accept the
stories that they knew probably weren’t the truth
but somehow fit a category that our country could understand so I leave you
with this thought does it make sense for us to ask really resilient really
determined and hard-working people who really would like to come here to work
and not necessarily bring their families they’d like to go home they’d like to
send money home save up and return but we don’t have a category for that so
that’s not an identity that they can assume thank you so you’ve heard this wonderful tapestry
of of research and experience that that our faculty have gathered over the years
from the global to the regional to the personal and I wondered if you have any
thoughts or questions that you would like to ask us and we might discuss yes
sir I’m Greg Moore Fletcher school and all this information that you’ve brought
to us what should we do I mean identifying the problem is
helpful but it would be it would be just as helpful to say and here are three
things we ought to do shall we send in the Marines you know we’ve we’ve that’s
been part of our history you know it wasn’t very successful in Central
America there just many we have a lot of options it seems to me we should be
supporting the regimes if that seemed impossible in Central America to make
their countries more livable so that they stay and it’s very interesting the
last comment about people just coming here to work send money home and so
forth but ultimately they’re going to come here they’re I would think I don’t
know but what what should we do yeah well what are the things that that I
noted also to just build a little bit on your point is that there there’s a
there’s a set of shared concerns of both the receiving countries and the and the
people who are moving which is about security economic security physical
security I mean the people who live here in the tear being the United States some
of the concerns that you were raising have to do with opportunities not
realize or perceptions and the same thing
happening of the people who are moving how do we how do we deal with the fact
that we’ve got similar needs but different perceptions about how to get
those needs met in terms of what we might do any any thoughts
well one thought would be and this isn’t my thought if other scholars have
presented this but that for people who do want to return home and work here and
there quite a many I would say every single Indian and Nepali we met had
plans to go home they can’t because they have to declare themselves in some kind
of refugee status which says well you can go anywhere but you can’t go back to
your country of origin because that’s where you felt persecuted if we had a
category of a temporary work visa it would change that and we would declutter
what’s happening at the border so this is something that’s been proposed by
Lant Pritchett at Harvard as well for those people that do want to come work
we need people to work right there’s a there’s a lot of jobs that people from
other countries are willing to do that we’re not or we would rather not so we
need them they want to do that they they would like to save up they would like to
send money home and they would like to go home so if we had some kind of
category for that we might make some strides in that direction this work yes
hello well of course that’s the sixty-four million dollar question my
feeling is that yes we should do what we can to support the cunt of the countries
of a mission who are where people are finding lives unlivable to to overcome
those challenges but that’s a decade’s long project I think there’s a shorter
term focus that we could have which is to try to help the receiving countries
not fall apart right so as I mentioned we don’t we we see a pretty solid aristocratic America who are receiving a
lot of the Venezuelans and the Central Americans
they’re struggling they’re struggling financially they’re struggling in terms
of support the sort of the legal framework that is governing their
treatment of these migrants they’re being pressured particularly in Mexico
to adopt a much more exclusionary response to these migrants which I don’t
think is helpful I think we need to to as an international community and
ideally as a country to support these these these countries that are receiving
thousands of Venezuelans and Hondurans in in constructing some sort of livable
alternative and space for these people to to start to integrate because more
and more of them are staying some colleagues and I are calling this a
state of permanent transience which is an ideal but it’s kind of what’s
happening is people are getting stuck in their second best option however the
second best option doesn’t have to be terrible for example we did a workshop
in 130 Mexico which is not traditionally a place where non Mexican migrants
settle but it’s becoming so and Monterrey has a very dynamic economy
it’s it’s a there’s a lot of opportunity there and yet they but they don’t have
sort of ways to respond mechanisms to try to avoid the kind of anti-immigrant
backlash that we’re seeing elsewhere so I think we do have an opportunity we you
know what’s we the international community the United States but I think
we need to be in a very different place politically for us to be at all helpful
but I think the international community has a real opportunity some of the
regional institutions in Latin America are working on trying to construct a
regional solution trying to think about other categories particularly for the
Venezuelans so things are happening but I think they could even more positive
change it’s possible we have kind of this moment of opportunity that’s not
gonna be around much longer I’m afraid and I’d call it the sixty five million
dollar question because that’s how many refugees and internally displaced people
there are around the world twenty-two million of whom are refugees and so I
think it does boil down to sound public policy which is lacking both at the
international global level the refugee regime is really hurting but then also
domestically trying to figure out and one
I’m a student of civil wars and looking at state failures and you know I was a
bit alarmed when the administration announced that it was going to cut aid
to the countries that are now sending refugees and it’s I want to say no no
you know because that’s one of the things actually that will prevent if you
can help these states to hang on to their own populations and perhaps afford
them the opportunity to stay put but in any event so I think sound public policy
and I wasn’t doing vote right vote with you know on the ballot for people that
are actually advocating for true solid immigration reform and then also going
to support international organizations that are you know the refugee regimes
right that are going to help as well thanks so much Mike um thanks gendo
cough class of 2008 undergrad um so Donald Trump tweeted last night if you
want to protect criminal aliens vote Democrat if you want to protect
law-abiding Americans vote Republican and I you know this is like every day
every hour there there’s very simplified language and then I would say all across
America regardless of political affiliation I did just pick on him
because I wanted to but um we we we do simplify discourse and your
presentations were just jam-packed with fact and like really well put together
and I guess I’m curious to hear on two fronts one how do you keep your
classroom discussions away from this political simplification and like
actually talking about facts and and what we know through research and study
and to how can we better promote thoughtful discourse hey I was just
talking about this with some folks earlier like how can we more effectively
discourse with people in an increasingly polarized and simplified way of talking
that’s back to you yeah sure oh that’s a really great
that’s a really great question and and I think as academics often we
see all the complexities and we’re maybe not so good at trying to translate that
into something that’s that’s capturable by someone who’s not an expert I’m
definitely guilty of this so so part of it I think is to come up with simple but
not misguided phrases or images that that can respond this is some of these
the opposite so for example though we are all immigrants narrative I think in
this country should be helpful and actually what’s shocking is that there’s
some public opinion data that suggests that the the majority and perhaps the
vast majority of people in this country think immigration is good for the
country even now right so so there’s a disconnect between the rhetoric and the
policymaking that’s floating around and what it’s sort of similar to the gun
control issue I think is that there’s actually quite a lot of support for a
different set of policies but it’s not getting translated and there is a
sizable minority of people who are buying into these stories of crime and
fear and based on no real data the immigrants are no less and and an often
or no more and often less likely to commit crimes than then the native-born
population so I think weak so one idea is to come up with sort of alternative
narratives better that are easy to digest another I think of these sort of
personal stories human stories that Kim was talking about that these are people
just like you and me they face similar struggles to humanize it because this is
what’s really terrible is that that immigrants are being dehumanized and to
rehumanize them is something that I think we should try to do and then we’re
very privileged because our classrooms we don’t really have that problem
because we teach Fletcher students but I have colleagues who teach in different
kinds of and they definitely struggle with this
with that challenge Thanks so I’ve taught in a number of
institutions including in Europe with a number of Hungarian students who in
Hungary it turns out because they have never been actually a receiving country
despite having been part of an empire really has had this is one of the
reasons we’re urban is doing so well in terms of you know making it this extreme
nationalism hyper nationalism so in the class so so I’ve taught those kinds of
students in the Fletcher Katrina is absolutely right the Fletcher students
you know we do have very hard and difficult conversations about this and
so how I deal with it in the classroom is with facts right which is a little
unnerving today because of course facts are disputed or people say where do you
get your data or they just ignore the facts so like today I just wanted every
time I made a claim I tried to give you a piece of you know data a data point to
be able to stick on that so that we can have a conversation about whether that’s
the case and then you can move in and I agree with Katrina this is why Nicholas
Kristof the New York Times writer he always humanizes his story anybody see
today’s New York Times magazine cover sadly that way it’s about Yemen and the
war in Yemen and the little girl she died right so because of what’s
happening in Yemen and so you want to humanize it to say that could be from
that could be me but for the grace of God right so I’m just gonna expand a
little bit on what grush followed with you I live in the UK and of course we
have our own migrant issues you know coming from Afghanistan Syria and
they’ve been politicized not with quite the same amount of one-sided
ridiculousness that you get here about the migrants coming through Mexico but
it has been used as a tool for frightening and influencing elections
and I think it’s driven a lot of the European elections to the right over the
past couple of years as well and you know combining the two I’m concerned
about you know once again the solution and especially in the context of you
know most of the many countries could use more immigrants I mean in England
we’ve got an aging population Germany has an aging population the United
States has an aging population the United States has low unemployment so
empty spaces we have empty spaces in England but more sporadically so there’s
a place for some migrants but I think what happened in Europe a couple of
years ago was everybody was getting so flooded and when you have countries that
have five to ten million population they can’t support a hundred thousand people
that aren’t educated don’t share a culture you know that are just so
different from themselves so you know there’s a need for solution balance and
a solution there and you know we’re seeing you know your discussion about
populism we’re seeing people don’t trust their governments so that means that
anybody in government that wants to stand up and say this might be the way
to handle it they probably are disempowered and you know it’s nice to
have people saying well there should be this and there should be that but where
where and what is the solution going to come from because I think we’re getting
to quite a critical point both in terms of the impact it’s having on Western
governments and also all these people you know circulating around a world far
from home no I think it’s gonna come through the electoral process unless the
doctoral process is corrupted this what’s happened in Poland and this is
what’s happening in hungry and people because Katrina is right polls are
actually very clear Americans are not averse to immigration what the reverse
to is bad immigration policy so it needs to be fixed
similarly in Europe and there are some countries in Europe Sweden has been
struggling with this but they seem to have better and more sound public policy
and they work with the refugees and they dealing with the Syrian and Afghan and
Iraqi refugees and there’s been some challenges it’s a small country it’s
fairly homogeneous but it’s not as homogeneous as most people think so
there are some examples of countries dealing with it properly and again we
what we need is global leadership to take this on and Pope Francis you know
Catholic pope try to and said we need to restore the dignity of humans right that
not just Catholic humans but dignity of man and recognize that these are our
brothers and sisters and so what’s unnerving is we’re not seeing that at
the national levels across countries but then also at the global level we do need
voice is to say okay something has to be done here because we are at a breaking
point and I think Katrina is absolutely right the southern European countries
broke right Italy Greece Turkey I mean there they just this was a big crisis
them and the Northern Europeans wanted nothing to do with it
right and you can go and you can read about how the Europeans were dealing
with the Syrian crisis and and and and then the question is are
the Americans and the Canadians going to help the southern frontier deal with
their crises and I’m not sure I mean given the level of rhetoric that we are
facing still in this country about this so I’m not optimistic but it has to come
from people really pushing and if it’s the case that surveys are correct that
shows that immigration is not as perilous you know among the populace
then people have to stand up and say okay we need sound refugee policy
immigration policy going forward I would just add one other thing and and I know
Europe has has been trying to do this and it’s been very difficult but I do
think these problems needs regional solutions that there’s unilateral
approach to migration is it’s not working it’s basically the balloon
effect you know one country closes its borders and it squeezes the people into
another direction often through more dangerous and isolated routes so so this
is going to require I think for any meaningful solution is something to
happen at the above the level of the nation-state at the regional level and
even at the global level and some mechanism this is very pie in the sky
but I really think ideally we have some mechanism for distributing the impact of
these flows because they’re not they’re going to get only worse if you would
Bret let’s bring let’s make ourselves even more depressed and bring in climate
change right so the latest predictions are not good and we just had someone
elected in Brazil who is promising to unleash development in the Amazonian
rainforest which is our carbon sink right so so if that if the predictions
of that report are come true even sooner we are in big trouble
because these flows of people leaving their homes because they’re forced out
are going just going to get larger so we better come up with some sort of
mechanisms to handle this because the distribution of the burden if you will
is very very uneven and it’s actually the country’s least gave it
not even Italy or Greece it’s Jordan it’s Turkey it’s Morocco it’s it’s
Lebanon right who really are not equipped to handle it so so I’m not
quite sure how we work this out in in a world of nation-states but but the
current structure isn’t responding at all adequately okay also not that this
is an answer obviously there is no goal there is no magic bullet here the United
Nations has just completed something called the global compact on safe
orderly in regular migration and it’s true that these compacts are
aspirational there there’s no legal enforcement mechanism but there has been
over the last two years a concerted effort to get a global consensus on what
should be happening and some of us are actually going to the launch of that
compact which is happening in December in in Morocco and at least at least it’s
a set of norms a set of guidelines for what would be potentially optimal and
all countries except the United States Hungary and Guatemala or something have
signed on to this compact wheatley and the US have not it is at least a set of
guidance for what might be what should be happening regionally nationally to
begin to handle this problem so at least we have something to shoot for
so Koston o’clock class of 2000 first a public service announcement on the
microphones if you start talking into it and it’s not working
tap tap tap for a little bit it will come on for you okay they’re not broken
it’s been happening for two days thank you so you’re not the first you’re like
the 15th or 20th so I was born in Colombia my mother’s side of the family
has been there for generations they lived through the FARC they lived
through the drug lords drug wars in Colombia and just
connecting the dots from what I’ve heard if you take nativism and you marry it
with the FARC in Colombia and you marry it with immigration and you marry it
with drug lords who like to fund things that create chaos because it gives them
freedom to operate now I’m the president of the United States Katrina you’re my
Secretary of State give me three things that we could do to help Colombia avoid
that potential crisis that I’m absolutely sure is coming if we do
nothing if the world does nothing no pressure we’re it tough so we will have a
secretary of state right I need to go consult with my staff we’ll get back to
you on that no I think I think one I think I can give a one at least is that
I think we need to rethink we give a lot of aid to Colombia but the the lion’s
share of it has been military aid and I think we read need to reprioritize where
that aid is going and to support the the integration of these of these travelers
but also column the colombia-venezuela border is experiencing some of the same
things that the mexican passageways are experiencing where people because the
official crossings are being closed down they’re being diverted onto these Pat
these clandestine trails called throw chests which are we’re smuggling has
happened for decades where dissident FARC rebels are still fighting with
paramilitaries for turf so you’re absolutely right they things could go
badly in Colombia and I think the US has a certain amount of influence in the
country that we could use productively but I’m not too optimistic that’s my one
suggestion anyways Thanks I I just want to add something about Colombia which
was really interesting so I was there last month with the State Department in
my role I’m in venture capital and so I was part of this whole Festival for
Entrepreneurship which was bizarre with like confetti guns and things like that
but but it was really to attract like it had probably about 10,000 people who
were under the age of 35 to get them to think about being entrepreneurial and
there was a moment and so it was good it was good to see all the companies
growing in the State Department wants them to use more innovation on it and
there was this really touching moment in like this Q&A in front of thousands of
people when this Venezuelan woman got up and was like thank you so much for
allowing people like me to come from Venezuela and to be here in Colombia but
don’t forget about us because we really need you we’ve got nothing and so if
it’s just really touching amongst all this hoopla like about entrepreneurship
because exactly like funding people to get their businesses off the ground and
not just be a solo entrepreneur but to hire two or three people that’s gonna
like really help move the needle and can I just make a follow-up comment I’m
really glad you brought that up because I think there are more grassroots ways
to address some of these challenge and one is through entrepreneurship create
but but then they need to be allowed to work right and they need to be allowed
to participate in the local economy and then our sort of broader thing so to go
from my above the nation state to below the nation state I think there’s a lot
of room for innovation and creativity at the local level of thinking about ways
to create spaces and opportunities and particularly to try to try to create
synergies between the local community and the migrants to to ameliorate some
of the fear and resentment that we’re going to inevitably see I’m afraid we
have to close thank you all very much for your interests and your wonderful
questions we’re going to be here for a few minutes if you want to come up and
and if there’s other things you’d like to ask and it was great to see all of
you and thank you so much for participating

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