Friday, May 14, 2021
Location: Webinar link will be emailed to each participant 24 hours prior.
Event Description: The last decade has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of global migrants, creating one of the most profound challenges for international cooperation of our time. The United States alone hosts 51 million international migrants, the largest number in a single nation. While many migrants have relocated voluntarily, forced displacements are at the highest levels globally recorded since World War II, with refugees and asylum seekers accounting for a quarter of global migration increases. Those numbers will only continue to increase as political, security, resource, and climate pressures intensify. Borders and refugee camps display human tragedy and despair, illuminating the struggle and failure on the part of states to find an adequate and timely response to what is now broadly described as a migration crisis, which border enforcement cannot solve.
Migration challenges, by their nature, require cross-border cooperation and coordinated international responses. Robust, skilled, problem-solving negotiation is thus critical to addressing the growing crisis in an effective and enduring way. The global appetite for a broad international agreement to respond to and manage the crisis finally reached an action point in 2016 when the UN member states began negotiating a global migration compact, which was finalized in 2018.
However, it is not just nations seeking safe, orderly solutions that are turning to negotiation as a primary tool for responding to the crisis. We also are seeing migrants used as a bargaining chip or leverage in negotiations concerning other political or policy interests. The United States, for example, refused to participate in the negotiations or sign onto the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Instead, we saw the U.S. threaten Mexico with trade sanctions if it did not agree to the “Stay-in-Mexico” policy for migrants. Internally, in the U.S. and elsewhere, the migrant crisis has been utilized as a tool to fuel nationalist policies and leaders, and has become the centerpiece of domestic negotiations over national priorities and legislation. Negotiation in these contexts often has been zero-sum, and has resulted in very little movement to a lasting solution.
And—as distinct from the national or international arena—negotiation also has been a survival tool for the individuals and families who must negotiate with each other, with their smugglers, and with border guards to thwart state controls, and for the lawyers and advocates who fight to gain access to migrants and keep them safe.
CNI is honored to host a panel of scholars and practitioners who will share their perspectives, experiences, and insights on the role negotiation has played and should be playing in the migration crisis. Panelists include:
Elizabeth Ferris is Research Professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.
Dulce Garcia grew up in Logan Heights, California a community that is predominantly Mexican and Mexican-American. Dulce is undocumented and found it impossible to find financial aid after high school.
Stéphane Jaquemet is the International Catholic Migration Commission’s Director of Policy since February 2018.