Symposium: The Coming Migration Crisis

Symposium: The Coming Migration Crisis

Can migration be a solution to the various demographic challenges facing many nations, or is it a challenge in its own right? How should states adapt to and/or mitigate the effects of changing demographics and influxes of migrants? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the existing demographic problems facing various nations. Many experts warn of the social and economic consequences of declining birthrates, gender imbalances, labor shortages, and aging populations. In response to these challenges, many countries have tried to offset some of the burdens of childcare or instituted other demographic policies. In the United States, the Biden administration has issued a Child Tax Credit to ease the financial burden on families. In China, Beijing has recently amended its policy to allow families to have three children. 

Meanwhile, migrant crises have emerged on borders of countries like the United States, Belarus, Pakistan, and many others. Still more people have been displaced by conflict in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. Climate change, too, has made life in certain areas untenable and created population movements of its own. Can migration be a solution to the various demographic challenges facing many nations, or is it a challenge in its own right? How should states adapt to and/or mitigate the effects of changing demographics and influxes of migrants? 

Below you will find links to each expert’s analysis, and we will be updating this page to compile their responses over the next week.


Fatemeh Aman - Jack A. Goldstone - Thomas Hochman

Edward Lemon - Demetrios Papademetriou - Marissa Quie

Anne C. Richard - Caress Schenk - Jennifer Sciubba - Jennifer Wistrand

Education Can Dispel Anti-Immigrant Sentiments
Fatemeh Aman, a non-resident senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, writes that in order to prevent immigration from feeding xenophobic sentiments, governments need to carry out careful planning and public education that highlights why immigrants are an economic boon.  

Integration or Crisis? In the Age of Migration, Those are the Only Choices
Jack A. Goldstone, the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel, Jr., Chair Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, argues that admitting more legal migrants would help resolve both the aging and shrinking of labor forces and crushes of migrants at borders.

Climate Change Is Creating a Northern Labor Crisis
Thomas Hochman, a fellow at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, warns that because of Canada's incredibly low birthrate it will not be able to take advantage of economic opportunities posed by climate change. 

In a Region that Usually Exports Migrants, Kazakhstan Becomes a Major Destination
Edward Lemon, a Research Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service, details how the coronavirus pandemic and shocks to Russia's economy have caused Central Asian migrants to reroute from Russia to Kazakhstan. 

More Immigration Is Inevitable, But Overcoming Its Challenges Isn’t
Demetrios Papademetriou, Distinguished Transatlantic Fellow, co-founder and President Emeritus of the Migration Policy Institute, discusses what the optimal balance of migration might be for the U.S. population given longevity, humanitarian responsibilities, and the reticence of politicians to make difficult decisions. 

A Strong Immigration Policy Must Be Humanitarian and Inclusive
Marissa Quie, a Fellow & Director of Studies at Lucy Cavendish College and College Lecturer in Politics and Director of Studies in Political Science at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, advocates for a humane and inclusive immigration policy as a form of national and demographic security that will both bolster economies and protect from human trafficking, drug cartels, other organized violence that emerge from migrant crises. 

America Must Admit More Afghan Refugees
Anne C. Richard, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration and a Distinguished Fellow at Freedom House, argues that the United States has the capacity to admit many more Afghan refugees, and also that it's a matter of honor for the United States to live up to its humanitarian commitments. 

Russia Shows Why Migration Rhetoric Matters
Caress Schenk, an associate professor of political science at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, discusses the polarized and often over-simplified political discourse around migration in Russia and how it impacts both Russia's economy and the lives of the millions of Central Asian migrants who work there. 

Beyond Immigration: How Countries Contend With Aging Populations
Jennifer Sciubba, an associate professor at Rhodes College, explains why immigration is no cure-all for the problem of aging societies, and why when faced with a choice between admitting migrants and contending with demographic decline, many countries choose the latter. 

Remittance-Dependent Countries Show Migration Is No Panacea
Jennifer Wistrand, a professor of global and intercultural studies at Miami University, discusses the challenges of remittance-dependent countries, and how while remittances can be a much-needed lifeline for many migrant families, the stresses of migration in countries like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan may pose more challenges than opportunities. 

Image: Reuters