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29 May 2017


A Reflection of Progress
By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

(First published in "G7 Italy: The Taormina Summit", May 2017 issue)

Switzerland – The world’s experience with globalisation — the widespread transfer of peoples, technologies and cultures — did not begin in our time. Scholars argue that it dates back to 1492, when European migration, together with movements of Asians, Africans and Native Americans, forged the global relationships that help shape life to this day.

This centuries-old process has led to ever freer trade networks for goods and services, and ever increasing human mobility — the labour and intellectual property components of our codependent economies — to raise prosperity globally.

Migration embodies all we have accomplished in responding to human ambition and promoting the dignity and freedom of men and women worldwide. Yet it is that progress — which has lifted billions from poverty — that now is being shaken to its core, with a return to antimigrant nationalism. This is a threat we cannot ignore.

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Cubans arriving in Key West, Fla., in 1980 after Fidel Castro opened the port at Mariel. Photo: Eddie Adams/Associated Press

Did a Data Error Scramble America’s Immigration Debate?

When immigrants arrive, what happens to locals’ wages?

One of the core arguments of most immigration opponents is that competition from immigrants makes the people who are already in a country worse off.

That seems to make intuitive sense. Basic supply and demand: If there are more workers, wages should fall.

A recent study by the Harvard economist George Borjas found that was true. He took advantage of a natural experiment — the Mariel boatlift, which brought thousands of Cubans to Miami. Mr. Borjas looked at the wages of low-skilled workers in Miami, and found that they fell substantially after the “Marielitos” arrived. By comparing Miami during that period with other cities that didn’t have the same influx of immigrants, he was able to estimate how much of that effect was the result of immigration, as opposed to broader economic factors.

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Migration in the News


  • Baltic News Service reported that in a meeting with Estonia's Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing commended the practical processes of accepting refugees that have been introduced in Estonia.

  • The Irish Times reported that as migrants continue to attempt to cross the Mediterranean, into Europe and from the same countries, their journeys have become more diverse and more dangerous.

  • Prensa Latina reported that 1,530 migrants and refugees have died this year trying to reach Europe.

  • Saudi Gazette ran an op-ed about the recurring tragedy of migrants dying in the Mediterranean. It noted that urgent action is needed to provide safe and legal channels for them.

  • Reuters reported that nearly 80 migrants were rescued off Libya's coast after clinging to their sinking boat for two days, though the bodies of seven people who did not survive were also recovered.

  • Reuters reported that world leaders at the G7 summit said little that will help Italy manage the steady flow of migrants to its shores or enable it to cope with the growing number of new arrivals.

  • Euro News reported that the British charity Oxfam staged a protest to draw attention to migrants, displaced people and refugees while G7 leaders were working on their final joint communique on Saturday.

  • EFE reported that an MSF rescue ship carrying 1,446 migrants finally docked in the southern Italian port of Naples on Sunday, 48 hours after it was refused permission to disembark due to the security measures in place for the G7 summit hosted there over the weekend.

  • UN reported that the number of people fleeing West Mosul is soaring as on 18 May, as some 16,100 transited through the Hamam al-Alil screening site.

  • Ghana News Agency reported that Minister of Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has called for increased media reportage on migration for better public appreciation of the subject matter because it has become a regional and global concern.

  • Sudan Tribune reported that due to the improvement of humanitarian access in Darfur, IOM last April managed to register 52,700 IDPs mostly displaced from Jebel Marra in 2016.

  • Zimbabwe’s The Herald reported that Beitbridge Rural District Council has constructed a clinic in Chabili area under Beitbridge East constituency.  


Trending on the Internet


  • The Economist reported that the number of Eritreans successfully completing the trip across the Sahara and the Mediterranean via Sudan appears to have declined in recent years.

Media Contacts
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