In a globalized world, immigration is one of the most important factors that prosperous countries must take into account. This dynamic is not always positive, and the governments of many nations have felt the need to implement different policies to counter the challenges that this disequilibrium begets. Two of the most important entities in the world, the United States of America and the European Union, have very different characteristics, and their approaches to limit immigration have been very different. Even though both have made much advancement, such as more complex infrastructure, more ambitious policy goals and cooperation with other nations, by implementing measures such as the control of data about the travelers, the risk of terrorism and other serious international crimes still makes this an important issue for discussion.
It would seem that the EU has had a more difficult time implementing effective strategies to balance this phenomenon. This entity has taken many effective policies, such as its enlargement, the augmentation of the role of the EU and special arrangements for the Schengen Area expansion, which have allowed for the effective management of different crises in the regions nearby, such as the Arab Spring. “But there is a crisis in Europe’s response to irregular migrants and asylum seekers, including the EU’s ability to keep people safe and secure” (Open Society Initiative for Europe, 2015). They seem to have the most challenges, such as different areas of demographic and geopolitical change and diverse border control, which includes a complex division of responsibility.
Thus, there are still many areas that the Europeans can improve. For example, they can balance the intake of refugees with different amounts of skills, helping both of them in their settlement by making the communication and the cooperation between local communities and resettlement agencies even better. Plus, they could improve trust within the EU so that the US actually believes that they will go through with the policies, instead of just promising them. Furthermore, they should diminish the residential segregation so that the less-fortunate neighborhoods do not become focus points for crime, drugs, gangs and disorders.
The United States seems to be doing better to combat this, even though it has more detractors around the world. The economic booms of the 90s and the 00s increased the demand for immigration, and it has had to toughen its controls so that it does not go out of control. It has provided favorable immigrant integration, with an important intergenerational upward mobility. Its flexible labor market, inclusive public education and laws against discrimination have diminished the social exclusion that immigration sometimes has. Furthermore, it has a more focused border control, with only one great source of illegal immigrants: Mexico.
On the other hand, it has some unfavorable instances too, such as its current economic climate, which has affected the favorable upwards mobility because they do not need less-skilled immigrants. Plus, unlike the European Union, which grants many social benefits from the state, in the US there is little government protection for immigrants. “Many countries in Europe and further afield invest substantial resources in language instruction, mentorship, job-training, and credential-recognition programs” (Fargues, Papademetriou, Salinari, & Sumption, 2011, p. 9). One thing that this country could learn from the European Union would be the facilitation of their integration through these practices.
More complex is the relationship between immigration and economic development. It is logical to think that people generally go from countries that are less economically developed to those that are more. However, there are many different strategies that governments have implemented to reduce this, most to little to no avail. The biggest of these attempts was the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, which did not meet its core objectives in this spectrum.
Fargues, P., Papademetriou, D. G., Salinari, G. & Sumption, M. (2011, October). Shared Challenges and Opportunities for EU and US Immigration Policymakers. Retrieved from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/reports
Open Society Initiative for Europe. (2015, April). Understanding Migration and Asylum in the European Union. Retrieved from http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/understanding-migration-and-asylum-european-union