HW1. Theorizing Migration

Immigrants and Refugees

Module 1. Theorizing Migration

I. Doing your own research, consider the following questions:

-· What do sociologists of migration mean by 1st generation, 2nd generation, and 3rd generation immigrants? 

· Explain if and how “1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation labels” are used differently outside of academia, for instance among your peers, or on the media?

II. From the Assigned Readings:

When did the US have the highest proportion of foreign-born, i.e. first-generation immigrants? What was the number of Immigrants in the US at that time? 

What is the current number of foreign-born individuals in the US? What about the percentage of foreign born? 

In about 2 paragraphs, please summarize and discuss your main findings and conclusions from the Zolberg (1989) reading. What is the author’s main point(s), what are some of the lessons regarding international borders, exploitation of labor, refugees, and global inequality presented by the Author? 

In about two paragraphs please explain how the “Migration, People on the Move” article approaches migration theory differently to the Zolberg article? What would you say is different about the anthropological approach to understanding migration, what does the author bring to the table, what are some different ways in which migration can be understood or analyzed? 

III. Conclusion

Why is important to theorize about human Migration? What (if any) are the benefits of understanding these theories? What is your takeaway from these readings?


more links with information 




The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World Author(s): Aristide R. Zolberg Source: The International Migration Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, Special Silver Anniversary Issue: International Migration an Assessment for the 90’s (Autumn, 1989), pp. 403-430 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the Center for Migration Studies of New York, Inc. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2546422 Accessed: 23-01-2019 14:07 UTC

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The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World

Aristide R. Zolberg New School for Social Research

In the last quarter of a century, migration theory has undergone fundamental change, moving from the classic “individual relocation” genre initiated by Ravenstein a century ago, to a variety of new approaches which nevertheless share important elements: they tend to be historical, structural, globalist and critical. Historicization implies a constant modification of theoretical concerns and emphases in the light of changing social realities, and commitment to a critical ap? proach entails a view of research as one element in a broader project concerned with the elucidation of social and political conditions. The article uses elements from two major theoretical traditions ? a modified world-systems approach and state theory ? to project cur? rent trends. Global inequality is considered as a structural given. The article then reviews major topics, including the persistence of restric? tive immigration policies as barriers to movement, changing patterns of exploitation of foreign labor, liberalization of exit from the socialist world and the refugee crisis in the developing world. It concludes with a brief consideration of the normative implications of these trends.

Twenty-five years is a long time in the history of both international migra? tions and migration theory. The most striking change since the founding of International Migration Review is the fundamentally altered relationship between the two. When the journal started, migration theory was still very much confined to the “classic” genre initiated by Ravenstein in the 1880s (e.g., Lee, 1966), which conceptualized migration as relocation of human beings across space, within or between countries, and strove to achieve an elegant formal model that would account for such movements. Theoretical developments of the subsequent period, many of which first appeared in IMR or in works by members of the extensive international and interdis? ciplinary network it fostered, challenged conventional theoretical discourse in the light of ongoing processes in the world at large. Despite many differences, attributable to different intellectual traditions and disciplinary backgrounds, the most stimulating newer approaches share a number of common features: (1) they are generally historical, not in the sense of

IMR Volume xxiii, No. 3 403

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dealing mostly with a more distant past, but rather in paying appropriate attention to the changing specificities of time and space; (2) they are generally structural rather than individualistic, focusing on the social forces that constrain individual action, with special emphasis on the dynamics of capitalism and of the state; (3) they are generally globalist, in that they see national entities as social formations as interactive units within an encom?

passing international social field, permeable to determination by transnational and international economic and political processes; and (4) they are generally critical, sharing to some degree a commitment to social science as a process of demystification and rectification, and in particular are concerned with the consequences of international migrations for the countries of origin and destination, as well as the migrants themselves. (A particularly interesting development is the emergence of migration as an explicit concern of political and social philosophy.) The historicization of migration theory implies that theoretical concerns and emphases must be modified in the light of changing social realities. What follows therefore reviews the links between history and theory of the past quarter century, and tries to project what we might expect in the next. We can obtain an inkling of “the next waves” by asking in what ways each of the major features of recent epochal patterns is likely to change in the foreseeable future.


No corner of the globe is now left that has not been restructured by market forces, uprooting the last remnants of subsistence economies and propelling ever growing numbers to search for work. Despite some of the good news regarding the decline of the rate of growth of world population since 1970, the annual addition to the world total is expected to continue increasing until the end of the century (U.N., 1988:3). Although contrary to expecta? tions, several of the largest LDCs managed to resolve their subsistence problems, and in the next quarter of a century more of them will undoub? tedly rise to the status of “NICs”, however, most LDCs will remain unable to provide jobs for rising generations. Concurrently, information about variation in opportunities will continue to spread, and the relative cost of transportation will further decrease. Most people will in fact move within their own country; but for the unfortunate who find themselves born in Burundi rather than Belgium, Chihuahua rather than Chicago, it will make sense to try in every way possible to relocate abroad. The worst conditions will probably continue to prevail in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest rate of population growth.

One might anticipate a regionalization of migration pressures from each “south” to its particular “north”, determined not only by geographical proximity but also by political and economic linkages which contributed to

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the formation of migratory networks (Portes and Walton, 1981). Most obviously, within the Western Hemisphere they will intensify on the one hand from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States and

Canada; and on the other from Africa (both north and south of the Sahara) to Western-Central Europe. In Asia, there will be strong pressures for relocation from the less to the more dynamic countries within each of the continent’s major regions. Given the rapidly increasing differentiation of conditions among countries of the developing world more generally, south- to-south pressures will undoubtedly intensify in the coming decades.

Yet migratory pressures do not automatically result in massive migra? tions, because border control usually intervenes as a determinative factor. Independently of other conditions, it is state actions with respect to these borders that determine whether any international migration will take place at all: if the world consisted of Albania on the one hand and Japan on the other, there would be no International Migration Review at all. This helps to make sense of the statistical finding that high rates of population growth and low economic growth rates do not induce emigration (e.g., Weiner, 1987: 176-177).


In retrospect, it is quite strange that classical migration theory altogether ignored borders and their effects. This egregious omission goes back to the founder. Although E.G. Ravenstein (1889:241) acknowledged in his second paper that “currents of migration which would flow naturally in a certain direction traced out for them in the main by geographical features, may…be diverted, or stopped altogether, by legislative enactments”, his sole example is the enactment in the reign of Elizabeth I of a law to restrain the growth of London. He left out of consideration measures to control immigration then recently legislated by the United States which, as revealed in the discussion that followed presentation of his paper, were widely known in Britain and legitimatize demands to enact similar laws. These culminated a decade and a half later in the passage of a highly restrictive Aliens Act which contributed to keep immigration to Britain well below the European level until after World War II (Gainer, 1972; Kirk, 1946). Whatever the reasons for Ravenstein’s omission, he thereby erroneously concluded that interna? tional migrations were governed by the same “laws” as migrations within countries. The result was a theoretical tradition which bore only a tenuous relationship to reality.

One important theoretical development of the past quarter of a century is recognition that it is precisely the control which states exercise over borders that defines international migration as a distinctive social process. This arises from their irreducible political element, in that the process en-

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tails not only physical relocation, but a change of jurisdiction and member? ship (Zolberg, 1981). Overall, the policies they have adopted allow for only very limited

international movement (Dowty, 1987). Although some states restrict exit, generally, those containing the population most prone to relocate in keep? ing with the trend noted above do not. On the other hand, all the countries to which people would like to go restrict entry. This means that, in the final analysis, it is the policies of potential receivers which determine whether movement can take place, and of what kind. This has been noted as well by Bhagwati (1984), who has concluded that the process of international migrations is therefore characterized by “disincentives” rather than “incen? tives”, and surmised that were socialist countries to let people out, “the effective constraint on the numbers migrating would soon become the immigration legislations of the destination countries” (p. 684).

The observation is applicable to refugees as well as to economic migra? tions. Regardless of what violence people maybe subjected to in the country of origin, this produces a flow of refugees only if people have a place to go; if not, the violence has other consequences, as dramatically demonstrated by the fate of so many Armenians and Jews in the first half of the twentieth century, Biafrans in the 1960s, or the population of West Irian under Indonesian occupation today.

It is now well understood also that in a world characterized by widely varying conditions, international borders serve to maintain global ine? quality. Arghiri Emmanuel (1972) has observed that they prevent labor from commanding the same price everywhere, while from a very different theoretical perspective, Carruthers and Vining (1982) have proposed a conceptualization of states as dispensers of widely varying bundles of collec? tive goods. Hamilton and Whalley (1984) have sought to demonstrate the dramatic effects of the elimination of borders (See, also, Petras, 1980). On the normative side, the importance of borders as a device for maintaining inequality has been emphasized by Nett (1971).

In recent decades, the capitalist democracies have reaffirmed their long- established immigration policies which, collectively, constitute a protective wall against self-propelled migration, but with small doors that allow for specific flows. One of the doors was provided to allow for the procurement of certain types of labor; and the other to let in a small number of asylum- seekers. The future shape of international migrations depends in large part on how these doors are manipulated.


One of the sharpest contrasts between the old and new literatures is the conceptual shift from a view of “ordinary” international migration as the

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aggregate movements of individuals in response to differential oppor? tunities, to a view of this process as a movement of workers propelled by the dynamics of the transnational capitalist economy, which simultaneously determine both the “push” and the “pull”. The shift is no mere artifact of intellectual fashion, but reflects a reinterpretation of the American ex? perience as well as a broadening of the theoretical domain to encompass the contemporary experience of other countries.

In the United States, at the time the IMR was launched, those concerned with international migration focused their attention almost exclusively on the “main gate” ?i.e., immigration from Europe ? which, in consequence of the laws adopted in the 1920s, no longer figured as a significant source of labor (e.g., Jones, 1960). Although population movements originating in the Western Hemisphere (Mexico, the Caribbean, and eastern Canada) arose as substitutes, together with internal migrations (including Puerto Rico), in the 1960s the United States appeared determined to further relinquish the use of alien labor. The Kennedy-Johnson Reforms (1965, effective 1968) imposed for the first time a quantitative limit on Western Hemisphere immigration, and the extensive bracero program was also brought to a halt (Craig, 1971; Garcia y Griego, 1983). In reality, however, massive procurement of foreign workers continued by way of undocu? mented border crossers, at no risk whatsoever to the employers and under conditions that facilitated more extreme exploitation.

By the early 1970s, the consequences of these arrangements were quite evident. In one of the earliest theoretical analyses in the new vein, Burawoy (1976) drew attention to similarities between labor procurement systems in California and southern Africa. The fact that the countries supplying labor were Latin American or Caribbean, a region that constitutes the periphery of the U.S. dominated sector of the world economy, also suggested a linkage between the migratory process and dependency. As demonstrated by Portes (1978), dependent development effected structural distortions that exacer? bated “push” conditions and triggered the onset of migrations from the peripheral to the core country, subsequently expanding by way of the formation of networks.

Far from being unique, the bracero program as well as its informal successor had many features in common with European guestworker sys? tems. In Europe, the early 1960s were also an important turning point in that immigration moved to the fore as a major social phenomenon and emerged for the first time as a subject of interest to social scientists. Under prevailing regulations, European countries did not receive “immigrants” in the American sense, but persons whose admission and residence were conditional on economic performance. This reflected, by and large, the implementation of a deliberate policy based on Arthur Lewis’s analysis of

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economic growth with an unlimited supply of labor, derived from American historical experience and applied to post-war Europe by Charles Kindleberger (1967). The theory emphasized the advantages of using foreign labor in the face of slower population growth and as a “conjunctural buffer”, and in the late 1960s emerged as the official doctrine of the OECD.

Because the population movements in question were so explicitly func? tional, they could be encompassed within an essentially economic analysis, either of an institutional sort (e.g., Tapinos, 1974), or of a more Marxist cast, with an emphasis on the dynamics of production and reproduction of labor and the necessity of a disposable “industrial reserve army” (e.g., Castles and Kossack, 1973; Castells, 1975). Approaching the phenomenon from a dif? ferent theoretical tradition, Piore (1979) also demonstrated on the basis of observations of the United States and Western Europe how the use of foreign labor was functional to capitalism, permitting die structuring of a segmented labor market (See, also, Gordon, 1982).

In retrospect, however, as Cohen (1987:144) has suggested, “both or? thodox economists and a number of Marxists became trapped into a timeless functionality and exaggerated the extent to which migrant labor was a permanent solution for European capital”. Much as strategic theorists are generally one war behind, the new problematique emerged as the ruling paradigm at a moment when new conditions brought about a change in the calculation of costs and benefits of the system, and ultimately a questioning of the further suitability of these arrangements. Considered in a longer and more historical vision, the period under consideration can be thought of as

one where importing labor of a subordinate status was a preferred and helpful solution for European capital…The mix between free and unfree labor is spatially redistributed in complex and continuously changing ways in response to the mix of market opportunities, com? parative labor-power costs, the course of struggles between capital and labor and the historically specific flows and supplies of migrant and other forms of unfree labor. (Cohen, 1987:144)

That this abrupt about-face was triggered by the energy crisis of 1973, which signaled the onset of slower growth and was followed by a depression, suggested that the explanation for it was essentially conjunctural. However, hesitations and second thoughts concerning the balance of costs and benefits of foreign workers had in fact surfaced before the crisis. Even at their height, policies designed to import temporary alien labor were cast against a background of strictly limited immigration. The coexistence of these seem? ingly contradictory stances suggests they are interrelated, so that if we wish to understand the overall role of industrial capitalist countries in the deter? mination of international migrations, it is necessary to account for the wall they have erected as well as for the small doors they have provided in it.

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The benefits capitalists derive from foreign labor have been well analyzed, and need not be restated here. However, much less attention has been given to the other side of the question ? given the advantages of an “unlimited supply of labor”, why don’t capitalists deploy their clout to import many, many more, or even to obtain completely open borders? In order to be rendered productive, labor must be combined with capital. Beyond a certain point, capital becomes very scarce and hence much more costly, wages reach some minimal floor, and demand for additional output dies out. Should the labor supply continue to increase beyond this, the social costs of income transfers to the excess portion ? borne by employers and employed workers ? will begin to mount.

Reubens (1983:179) has suggested that the lesson Ricardo and Malthus drew from the natural increase of the local population may be extended to international migration. Given worldwide disparities, free entry would induce unlimited flows, leading to a drastic jump toward worldwide equalization, and hence a violent tumble in employment and consumption levels among the more developed countries. The income gap for individuals living in countries at very different levels of development stems not only from wage differentials, but also from substantial differences in the bundles of collective goods provided by the respective countries (Carruthers et al., 1982; Freeman, 1986). Capitalist economies with democratic regimes pro? vide their residents many more of the universally prized conditions than do less developed countries, ranging from abundant and safe water as well as relatively disease-free environments, to educational facilities and freedom from arbitrary exactions by government officials. Beyond this, within the world economy, when rich countries experience a bad conjuncture, the situation is likely to be much worse in the peripheral countries that normally supply them with imported labor. Under those circumstances, incentives to move remain in effect or become perhaps even more acute than before.

The difficulty of reducing the costs of the welfare state in bad times has sharpened awareness of the inefficiencies involved in the labor procurement policies under consideration and prompted widespread questioning of their wisdom. It is, of course, possible to deny income transfers to unemployed alien workers; but if this were done, their efforts to survive would inevitably be translated into other social costs. In fact, foreign workers have in many cases been able to overcome restrictions on their rights, and hence managed to bargain for conditions closer to those of native labor. However, to the extent that this has been achieved, they have significantly reduced the advantage of this form of labor to capital.

In any case, although capitalists carry a great deal of weight in the determination of economic policies, in liberal democracies public policy seldom reflects the interests of capitalists alone. As pithily suggested by

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Przeworski and Wallerstein (1982:215), “if workers opt for capitalism under some conditions, then…the state institutionalizes, coordinates and enforces compromises reached by a class coalition that encompasses both workers and capitalists”. In most capitalist democracies, organized labor was able to achieve some market protection by imposing limiting conditions on labor importation. If we add to this that workers and capitalists also have interests as “native taxpayers” it is possible to make sense of immigration policies as particular outcomes of such compromises, sometimes forged vociferously within a free-for-all legislative arena, as in the United States, or far from the public eye by way of a quiet corporatist settlement, as in West Germany or Sweden.

The issue of future demand in the countries of the “core” remains moot.

According to the recently elaborated theory of a “new international division of labor”, industrial capital from the core is moving to the periphery, where cheaper labor is located, establishing factories to produce manufactured goods for export to the worldwide market (Frobel et al., 1980). Accordingly, it has been suggested that, beyond the current conjuncture, structural changes in the labor market of both Europe and the United States have reduced the demand for massive industrial labor of the sort hitherto filled

by immigrants (Piore, 1986). As against this, however, a number of analysts have pointed out that the much-touted “New International Division of Labor” still leaves the overwhelming bulk of industrial production within the “core” (e.g. Cohen, 1987:233-251; Gordon, 1988). Furthermore, Sas- sen-Koob (1984) projects a continuing polarization of the employment structure of global cities, with the lower segment to be filled largely by immigrants. Yet this need not necessarily be the case, as the expanding demand for low-skilled labor in the service sector could be met in large part from internal sources, including the residue of recent waves of immigration, particularly in the face of pressures to force the “idle” to work in order to control the costs of the welfare state.

As it is, opposition to labor importation is not founded on economic grounds alone. A group of independent experts who reviewed policy trends in Europe for the OECD in 1978 concluded that:

the second primary objective of implementing restrictions…was a desire to minimize the growing social tensions created by the presence of a large number of foreigners. It is hard to be precise about such a nebulous topic, but history is replete with examples of the seriousness of problems resulting from cultural conflicts, competing claims for jobs, or miscommunication due to language problems (OECD, 1979: 22).

Manifestations of what these experts euphemistically term a “desire to minimize…social tensions” were visible in many receiving countries well before the energy crisis and subsequent downturn. For example, in Britain

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immigration policy rose to the fore of political controversy as early as 1958, and remained on the agenda until very restrictive measures were legislated in 1983.

Yet there were also countertrends. In 1965, the United States eliminated the blatantly discriminatory national origins quota system, and equivalent measures were enacted around the same period by the immigration countries of the “white Commonwealth”. Writing shortly afterwards, Nett (1971: 224) went so far as to suggest that limits on immigration founded on arguments of cultural compatibility “could no longer have the same ideological push”. But while there is no gainsaying the significance of these enactments, in the light of subsequent developments, it is evident that he underestimated the persistent thrust of “cultural compatibility” concerns.

The negative reactions of natives obviously express xenophobia and racism, but explanation cannot be found at the level of individual attitudes alone. The analytic starting point is that transnational migration brings about the encounter of culturally different groups hitherto separated from each other in space. However, these are not just any groups. As is well known, in the course of establishing their hegemony Europeans and their descendants stressed their common distinctiveness from the subjected populations, founded in part on phenotypical distinctions, and assigned to these differences values that legitimized in their own eyes relationships of superiority and inferiority. Mutatis mutandis, a similar process of cultural coding has tended to develop with respect to labor imported from the periphery.

Once established, this configuration of beliefs serves as a foundation for calculations concerning the putative political and cultural impact of various groups on the receiving countries. In effect, the very characteristics that make these human beings suitable as labor renders them undesirable from the perspective of membership in the receiving society. Although conven? tional social psychological studies tend to suggest that racism and xenophobia are associated with low education and social status, it should be remembered that racist doctrines were wrought by intellectuals, and that social elites concerned to maintain the cultural status quo have often played a major role in institutionalizing discrimination and in initiating restrictive immigration policies.

If we strip away the layers of prejudice that surround discussion of the issues involved, we come to the considerations evoked by Michael Walzer in his exploration of the moral justification for maintaining national boun? daries (Walzer, 1981). In the world as presently constituted, nation-states constitute the most comprehensive level at which human beings have been able to develop liberal and democratic forms of political organization. In relation to this, it is necessary to limit membership in some fashion so as

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preserve a functioning political community. Massive immigration of any kind poses special problems to which it is legitimate to pay attention, but the problems are compounded if the newcomers are culturally very different people who have not been socialized into the same political traditions. It is evident that even under the best of circumstances, the arrival of a large wave of immigrants who speak a different language, practice a different religion or merely have very different habits, does challenge the cultural status quo of the receiving country and induces some collective stress. Accordingly, liberal democracies have a right to be prudent and hence to restrict their intake to a manageable level. The ethical implications of Walzer’s position are further discussed in this

article’s conclusion. For the time being, his observations suggest that under current conditions, considerations of membership are likely to reinforce the economically induced trend to severely restrict permanent immigration. However, there is a broadening of the notion of “membership” to encom? pass on the one hand citizens of larger economic entities that are in the making throughout the capitalist world (the European Community, the coming U.S.-Canadian market), and on the other hand, groups considered members of the receiving society by virtue of their ancestral origins (e.g., “patrials” in Britain, “volksdeutsche” in Germany, Jews in Israel).

This means, in effect, that despite mounting pressures in the foreseeable future, south to north migrations involving workers and refugees will remain very limited. As against this, both types will continue to take place within the south. Reports suggest that current labor migrations, from one p^rt of the developing world to another, often entail extreme exploitation because of the paucity of institutionalized protection for the rights of workers and, more generally, the prevalence of authoritarian political regimes.


The prohibition of exit that prevailed among socialist states during the past quarter of a century has acted as a negative determinant of the world migratory configuration. However, these restrictive emigration policies have begun to change, and it is likely that the trend will be further accen? tuated in the near future. To understand why this is occurring, we need to understand why the prohibitions were established in the first place.

The classic case is the Soviet Union. Before the gates were shut, about one million people left the boundaries of the old Russian empire, a flow far exceeding any triggered by violent regime changes in earlier historical experience, not only because the state affected had a much larger population than any of the others, but also because the upheaval took place within the context of the collapse and transformation of the empire of the Tsars

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(Marrus, 1985:53-61). However, in the mid-1920s, the Soviet Union adopted a no-exit policy which, with minor exceptions, it maintained until very recently.

Alan Dowty (1987:63-67,208) has pointed out that the roots of this stance can be traced to prerevolutionary Russia, which never evolved a tradition of freedom of movement, both internal and external, because this was incompatible with the maintenance of serfdom. Although prerevolutionary Marxists advocated lifting such restrictions, Lenin’s views of the state “laid the basis for future controls” in that all citizens were to be considered as

“hired employees” of the state and required to serve. The Bolshevik attitude was also shaped by civil war and foreign interventionist was feared that those leaving the country would swell the ranks of the White armies and other enemies abroad. From there it was a short step to equating the wish to emigrate with opposition to the socialist state” (Dowty, 1987: 68).

Adopted later by many others, this outlook emerged as the common feature of a disparate array of modern authoritarian regimes, including not only those of the Marxist-Leninist persuasion, but also during much of their life Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Spain, and Portugal (as late as the 1960s). More generally, prohibition of emigration arises as a concomitant of state- directed economic autarchy, particularly in the case of states that seek to catch up by imposing great sacrifices on the current generation. But the prohibition also serves more purely political objectives; since exit is tan? tamount to “voting with one’s feet”, an alternative to protest, authoritarian regimes which claim to rest on democratic consent cannot afford such concrete evidence of deep alienation (Hirschman, 1981: 246-265). This is reinforced by tense international conjunctures, including the Cold War and more limited regional conflicts such as the one between the United States and Cuba.

Against this background, emigration may be used exceptionally to relieve tensions or to rid the state of some unwanted ethnic or national minority; however, permission to leave may be disguised as expulsion or coupled with humiliating measures, so as to avoid appearing to grant to the minority a privilege refused to the majority of nationals. However, this is a double- edged sword; by the same token, the imposition of barriers on emigration has the effect of calling into question the legitimacy of the regime. For example, at the conclusion of his memoirs, Khrushchev characterized the policy as a “disgraceful heritage…which lies like a chain on the consciousness of the Soviet state” (Dowty, 1987:209).

It follows that political liberalization ?glasnost ? is likely to be accom? panied by some relaxation of exit policy, and that a reduction of international tensions lowers the costs of doing so. This assuages pressures from dissidents, and hence makes internal politics more manageable. In

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addition, we might anticipate additional weight in the same direction from perestroika. The relevant precedent here is Yugoslavia in the mid-1960s, when it shifted to a decentralized form of socialist self-management (Dowty, 1987:206). No longer able to guarantee full employment, the state en? couraged its citizens to enlist as guestworkers in the Federal Republic and their hard currency remittances also facilitated Yugoslavia’s reentry into the capitalist world economy. Within the world of the Cold War, Western states regarded emigration

from the Soviet Union and its satellites as “defection”, a demonstration that Communist regimes lacked support. Adoption of an immigration policy welcoming defectors carried little cost, since most people could not get out. Except for Hungarians in 1956, those who did emigrate were largely Germans who were absorbed by the Federal Republic. However, little note was taken of the fact that even at the height of the Cold War Western states did not adopt the same welcoming stance with respect to Asian defectors.1 U.S. policy regarding Cubans evolved from a “European” to an “Asian” stance ? the first wave (1959-63) was welcome, the second (freedom flights, 1965-73) evoked some doubts and the third (Nariel, 1980) was initially resisted. In recent years, the Asian policy has prevailed, as indicated by efforts to discourage emigration from Poland at the time of the military coup of 1984. We are thus faced with a paradoxical situation. Reduction in international

tensions makes exit from the Socialist countries more likely, but it also lessens the propaganda value of “defection”, and hence leads to the treat? ment of people desiring to leave as ordinary immigrants, having to face severe restrictions. In short, unless something is done, the human beings involved will be just as immobilized after the lifting of barriers to exit as before. It appears that Bhagwati’s surmise is unfortunately in the course of being confirmed.


Myron Weiner has suggested that “there may be as many refugees in the world as there are people who migrated in response to employment oppor? tunities” (Weiner, 1987:177). In the mid- 1970s, there appeared massive new flows in both Asia and Africa, attributable to complex conflicts that engulfed entire regions ? the countries that composed former Indochina, the Horn of Africa and southern Africa. For the first time, large bodies of refugees also materialized in Latin America’s Southern Cone. This was compounded in

This point was brought to my attention by Astri Suhrke. In addition to the departure of KMT elites and their dependents to Taiwan, many went from China to Hong Kong in the 1950s and again 1960s.


This section is based on collaborative research (See, Zolberg, Suhrke and Aguayo, 1989).

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the early 1980s by the explosion of long-standing ethnic confrontations in Sri Lanka and Lebanon, the resumption of violence following the break? down of earlier settlements in Sudan, Chad and Uganda, as well as the flaring up of revolutionary conflicts in hitherto quiescent regions of Central America and West Asia (Afghanistan).

One measure of the crisis is that in the late 1970s there was a step-level increase in the total number of refugees in need at a given time from a previous range of between five and ten million, to a higher one of between ten and fifteen million; at the end of 1988, the estimate was about 18.5 million (USCR, 1989). Moreover, refugees abroad constitute but one seg? ment of the total number of persons uprooted by violence; the same upheavals also produced millions of internally displaced, with estimates of the major concentrations as follows:

Southern Africa: 10.5 million uprooted (including 3.6 million forcibly relocated within the Republic of South Africa), of whom 1.4 are abroad.

Afghanistan: 7-8 million uprooted, of whom 5.8 million are abroad.

Palestinians: 2.8 million abroad (of whom 2.2 million are under UNWRA jurisdiction).

Other Middle East: 2.8-3.2 million uprooted (including by Iran-Iraq war), of whom 1.3 million are abroad.Sub-Saharan Africa: 2.7-2.9 million uprooted, of whom 1.1 million abroad.

Ethiopia: 1.8-2.6 million uprooted, of whom 1.1 million are abroad.

Central America: 1.9 million uprooted, of whom 850,000 are abroad (including 600,000 unrecognized in the United States, mostly from El Salvador).

Former Indochina: residual 440,000 abroad within region. The sense of crisis stemmed not only from the increase of the total

number of people in the world at large who might be classified as refugees, but also from a perceptible expansion of the burdens they impose on the international community. This is attributable in part to the decision of the UNHCR in the early 1960s to assume responsibility for populations dis? placed by wars of national liberation under the “good offices” doctrine, a move that was itself stimulated by the accession of a steady stream of former colonies to U.N. membership. In addition, a mounting proportion of the new refugees appeared destined to linger on indefinitely, unable either to return to their country of origin or to find a permanent haven. Also, the swelling of the refugee population in the 1970s came at a period of economic retrenchment for all but oil-producers. In the face of rapidly mounting unemployment, the affluent liberal countries imposed more severe restric? tions on general immigration and were more reluctant to take in refugees

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for permanent asylum. Largely in consequence of the preceding, a sizeable proportion of the new refugees were parked in rag-tag camps in some of the world’s poorest countries, themselves badly hit by the global economic downturn. With little opportunity to fend for themselves, the refugees constituted a mounting burden for the UNHCR, which itself depended on constant handouts from a limited number of governments and voluntary agencies, in some cases lacking the capacity to protect those under its jurisdiction. Violent conflicts are likely to be more destructive today than in the past because both governments and their opponents have access to firepower in all its forms. Furthermore, the impact of violence on poor and densely populated countries is particularly catastrophic because it often reduces agricultural production below the subsistence level. Given the availability of roads, bicycles and trucks, even very poor peasants are today much more able to move in the face of violence than their forebears. How

many of them become refugees is largely a function of location in relation to international borders, existing migratory networks and the disposition of relevant neighbors.

As the summary overview indicates, refugees in the developing world arise mostly as a by-product of two major historical processes ? the forma? tion of new states and confrontations over the social order in both old and

new states. These are analytically distinguishable, but often combined in reality to generate complex and extremely violent conflicts. Although the processes are akin to those that produced earlier crises in Europe, they are unfolding in very different settings and under extremely different historical circumstances, so that the outcome is likely to be quite different as well.

It is noteworthy that in contrast with what happened in Europe earlier in this century, relatively few people in the developing world have been uprooted by ordinary wars between sovereign states. However, this is not to say that the root causes of the crisis can therefore be characterized as “domestic” rather than “international”. Indeed, a distinctive feature of the contemporary epoch is the formation of a world within which national societies persist, but are internationalized to a higher degree than ever before. Consequently the conflicts with which we are concerned arise as a product of what constitute from the perspective of a given society both internal and external forces, inextricably linked to form distinctive transna? tional patterns.

This is reflected most dramatically in the prominent role of external intervention in the conflicts that produced the major concentrations found today (Zolberg, Suhrke, and Aguayo, 1986). These major categories can be disaggregated and their likely incidence in the foreseeable future examined.

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One important source of refugees in recent decades were wars of national liberation, but all the possible cases have already surfaced and reached a definitive outcome including now Namibia. Following the assumption of power by the nationalists, the refugees rapidly returned to their homes. However, this was foreclosed in Angola by the internationalization of the conflict, which subsequently added major new flows. Asimilar situation later emerged in Mozambique as well. Transfers of power triggered, in turn, the massive flight or expulsion of Europeans as well as their indigenous auxiliaries and allies, who often included a stratum of mixed racial ascen? dancy, now living as near-exiles in the former imperial countries (e.g., Algerian Harkis in France). The major exception so far is Zimbabwe, which retained approximately half its European settler population after inde? pendence. Namibia will soon become independent under black rule, but the ongoing conflict in the Republic of South Africa itself is bound to develop further and is likely to generate larger flows of refugees to neighboring countries.

“Ethnic diversity” is generally regarded as a leading root cause of recent movements in Asia and Africa. However, it is evident that only some of the numerous differences of language, religion, and social organization en? countered in the societies in question have given rise to conflicts, and that in turn only some of these conflicts produce significant flows of refugees.

Ethnicity is not merely a projection or revival of traditional attachments, but a contemporary social construct used as an organizational resource in struggles over the allocation of resources and power (Horowitz, 1985). Although the ethnic and cultural heterogeneity of the new states of Asia and Africa generally exceeds even that of the European “successor” states of the interwar period, the formation of classic “target minorities” as the result of persecution by the state on the grounds that they constitute an obstacle to the formation of a successful nation is quite rare because, in contrast with many of their European predecessors, most of the new states accepted from the outset the reality of a multinational or multiethnic political community. Somewhat paradoxically, extreme ethnic diversity normally imposes con? straints on political elites, providing incentives to build multiethnic governing coalitions, even in the absence of open political competition. However, over the long run, the various components cooperate only if they reap tangible benefits from ruling together, as was generally the case during the expansive “development” epoch up to the early 1970s. Under conditions of greater scarcity brought about by the worldwide economic crisis, whose effects were multiplied for the heavy debtor nations, the incentives for cooperation were considerably weakened, precipitating a scramble for power.

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One particularly explosive type of formation is “ethnic hierarchies”, in which social class coincides with ethnic membership. Focusing on com? prehensive relationships between the dominant and subjected groups, conflict takes on an explosive character akin to a social revolution. Most ethnic hierarchies encompassing whole national societies exploded early on, soon after introduction of the principle of majority rule, as in Rwanda and Burundi. In the former case a successful revolution resulted in the massacre

or flight of most of the ruling group; in the latter, the revolution was unsuccessful, leading to violent retaliation by the dominant group against the majority. Many were killed or fled, but most remained behind, providing the potential for recurrent confrontations and additional refugee waves, as occurred again in mid-1988.

Minorities relying on kinship and ethnic solidarity to develop far-flung networks engaging in intercultural trade were ubiquitous among ancient societies, including Europe, and are still found throughout Asia and Africa (Curtin, 1984). These diasporas traditionally operated under the protection of a ruling stratum in exchange for a share of the profits in the form of tribute, taxation or bribery. However, from the perspective of the new ruling elites, they are seen as ruthless exploiters, who usurp positions that could be filled by genuine nationals or fail to perform any valid economic function at all. Massive departures can be triggered by outright expulsions, pogroms, or their equivalent, notably regulations that deprive the minority of the possibility of making a living. Alternatively, if they have access to some homeland or other country that will receive them as immigrants, the minority may leave in anticipation of such measures. Many of these situa? tions have already exploded, and remaining trading minorities throughout the developing world may be considered in jeopardy.

Groups that are not hierarchically related maybe regionally concentrated or spatially interspersed. The presence of regionally concentrated groups tends to exacerbate conflicts over the distribution of power and resources between center and periphery. Separatism is especially likely to arise in situations involving a small number of large groups and if reformist action is impossible by virtue of the authoritarian character of the state or because the configuration renders territorial minorities permanently impotent. Regions that became “backward” as a consequence of the uneven impact of social change during the colonial period are particularly likely to spawn secessionist movements. A major exception is Eritrea, attributable to the region’s formative experience as a separate colony and later trusteeship, with the prospect of achieving independence in the foreseeable future, but whose progress along this path was abruptly arrested when turned over by the United Nations to Ethiopia.

It is remarkable that, so far, only one of the numerous separatist move-

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ments that have arisen in the new states ? Bangladesh ? has resulted in a permanent actual separation of the ethnic group’s homeland from the established political community. In some cases, this is attributable to the movement’s success in achieving some of its objectives. Where the conflict escalated to the level of armed struggle, as in Nigeria, the absence of secession is mostly attributable to the capacity of the state to defend its integrity and defeat the challengers. In this respect, international factors are clearly decisive. By virtue of the legitimacy of established states in the international political system, the governmental side possesses inherent advantages, including external support in the form of diplomatic recogni? tion, financial and legal facilities for the acquisition of weapons, and the like. The success of separatist movements is, in turn, contingent on obtaining a level of external support that is in fact seldom available. The most likely source of support is “irredentist” neighbors. Yet the only clear cases to emerge so far are Somalia in relation to the Ogaden and Libya in relation to northern Chad. In this respect again, the multiethnic character of the new states acts as a constraint ? irredentist initiatives are likely to be taken only by fairly homogeneous states, Horowitz suggests, because otherwise the interventionist policy would constitute a divisive issue.

Successful separatism triggers temporary flight from violence and sub? sequently an unmixing with settlement in the new homeland, but the more commonplace unsuccessful challenges tend to produce refugees of a more problematic kind. There is usually an initial trickle of activist exiles who have little difficulty finding havens but if and when the struggle moves into a military phase, actions by the antagonists foster much larger waves. The separatists encourage able men to leave in order to join the struggle, while states facing separatist guerrillas typically exercise violence against the source group as a whole, any member of which is considered an actual or potential supporter of insurgency. As the separatist group is usually located near a state’s international borders, many in the target group often succeed in escaping. Entire populations may flee the fire zone and systematized repression, as in Eritrea and the Ogaden. International assistance to the antagonistic camps has the effect of enhancing their respective capacity and hence widening the firezone as well to prolong the conflict.


Rooted in inequality and oppression, conflicts over the social order involve a struggle between dominant and subordinate classes, whose most dramatic manifestations are full-scale social revolutions (Skocpol, 1979:q). All the successful revolutions that have taken place in Asia, Africa and Latin America since the end of World War II, as well as most attempted ones, have produced major international population movements. Conversely, of the

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eight major refugee concentrations found today, five are attributable in whole or in part to revolutionary conflicts, Moreover, revolution breeds counterrevolution, and the fear of revolution fosters pre-emptive authoritarian regimes that may also spawn refugees.

Refugees are generated in the first instance by the generalized violence and dislocation that typically accompany the onset of the revolutionary upheaval process itself, regardless of outcome. The prospect of a successful revolution often triggers the exodus of the old ruling class and their associates, threatened with or afraid of retribution. This falls within the distinctive type Kunz has termed “anticipatory refugee movement” (Kunz, 1973:131). The elite wave is likely to be numerically small and irreversible. This is often followed by a second outflow, larger than the first, and extending downward to encompass a variety of groups and strata negatively affected by the exigencies of revolutionary reconstruction. The hardships are exacerbated by the fact that such policies are generally carried out in a hostile international economic environment. Discontent is more likely to materialize into refugee flows because states that oppose the revolution are likely to provide the necessary havens, but as noted earlier, in anticipation or in response to this, most revolutionary states have imposed severe obstacles on exit. A variation on the scenario occurs when the problems of revolutionary reconstruction are compounded by the military operations of counterrevolutionary forces. The resulting insecurity and added imposi? tions by the revolutionary regime, especially military mobilization, cause additional people to leave. These flows may be encouraged by the counter? revolutionaries and their patrons because they provide a source of military manpower as well.

It is now generally recognized that, contrary to the hopes and fears of the 1960s, full-scale revolutions in largely peasant societies are rare historical events (Goldstone, 1980; Goldstone, 1982; Skocpol, 1982). Social revolution is best understood as a phenomenon specific to “agrarian bureaucracies” such as traditional China and tsarist Russia, i.e., relatively well-integrated societies with centralized states and as a phenomenon of the transition to capitalism, rather than of industrial capitalism itself. They may also occur among “neo-patrimonial” personalistic patronage states, very vulnerable to economic downturns or military pressures, and particularly when these dictatorships are land-based, i.e., with a socioeconomic order featuring an upper class essentially dependent on direct control over land and unable to give up more of the product without reducing their own share (Paige, 1975; Eisenstadt, 1978).

Whether the revolutionary potential among the peasantry becomes politically effective depends on the possibility of an alliance with other strata with grievances of their own and a vanguard organization that can channel

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peasant anger (Moore, 1966: 480; Jenkins, 1983: 512; Scott, 1977; Popkin, 1979). The geopolitical configuration can also hamper or favor the an? tagonists (e.g., Tilly, 1975:503; Skocpol, 1982:302), as illustrated by variation among recent upheavals in Central America. Revolutionary con? flict almost always attracts significant foreign involvement because of the linkages within the global state system between regime orientation and international strategic alignments. Most revolution-prone agrarian-bureaucratic states either had their

revolution long ago, or underwent some profound changes that took them out of the category, usually in the form of a “revolution from above”. Eastern Asia, which had the most appropriate conditions for revolution outside the European orbit, indeed gave rise to a number of them, but their refugee- generating potential is now largely spent. Leaving aside the oil rich kingdoms and principalities of the Middle East, by 1960 there were only a handful of ancient agrarian states which, for one reason or another, were not subjected to full-scale colonial transformation and survived more or less intact. Subsequently, Ethiopia and Afghanistan did experience revolutions. Although both approximated Eisenstadt’s hybrid agglomerate of patrimonial and feudal structures with a weak center, which tends to fall apart and smolder without explosion, in both cases timely Soviet interven? tion propped up the center during the critical phase. In both cases as well, the revolutionary regime’s radical actions provoked peasant uprisings under the leadership of local notables. Whereas in Ethiopia they were left to their own devices, in Afghanistan massive assistance from the United States and the collaboration of Pakistan transformed rebellious peasants into the world’s largest and most effective refugee-warrior community. 3

With no Ethiopians or Afghanistans remaining for revolutions to happen, except perhaps in the Middle East, land-based dictatorships are left as the most likely candidates for major social upheavals. The combination is encountered in Pakistan, and the Latin American countries that have not had the benefit of significant land reform. These include the troubled trio in Central America, Nicaragua under the Somosas, El Salvador and Guatemala, as well as possibly Colombia and Paraguay.

Since conditions for a successful peasant revolution rarely occur in the appropriate combination, low-legitimacy regimes of this sort more com? monly persist amidst considerable instability, experiencing occasional intra-elite coups and recurrent popular rebellions. They are able to carry on protracted internal wars, often with aid from the United States or some other patron within the western camp, but unable to extinguish the rebel? lion. It will be noted that this largely mirrors the situation of weak

Most of Ethiopia’s refugees were generated by the separatist conflicts in the Ogaden and Eritrea rather than by anti-revolutionary uprisings.

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revolutionary regimes that survive only with support from the Soviet Union or other socialist power, and that the situation is similarly conducive to endemic violence. An important feature, inherent in the underlying socioeconomic conditions, is that the exodus is co- determined by acute economic need as well as manifest violence, thus allowing potential receivers to question whether the victims are “genuine” refugees.

Under ordinary circumstances, the “bureaucratic-authoritarian” regimes that arise among countries in the middle-range of the world income dis? tribution, particularly the “NICs” (Linz, 1975; Collier, 1979; Feith, 1980), do not generate massive refugee flows but rather an intermittent trickle of activist exiles. However, the regimes that came to power in the Southern Cone of Latin America and Brazil in the 1970s constructed especially brutal “national security states”, unleashing terror against targets that extended well beyond activists to groups and strata from which they might be expected to emerge, in a manner strikingly reminiscent of European fascism and of the Stalinist phase in the Soviet Union (Dassin, 1986; Fagen, forthcoming). More recently there has been a trend toward democratization, both in Latin America and Asia, but this is unlikely to go very far and remains subject to reversal.

Revolutions are not likely to occur in post-colonial states that are recent amalgams of disparate, small-scale societies, composed mostly of smallholders, as in most of black Africa. Intra-elite competition leads to structural instability at the center, manifested by frequent coups and counter-coups, while popular protest tends to be very localized. However, under the stress occasioned by the exhaustion of political spoils, deteriorat? ing international conjuncture and continuing rapid population growth, relatively broadly-based authoritarian rule has tended to degenerate into more brutal “gangster government” or “kleptocracy” (e.g., Haiti under the Duvaliers). The African version is ethnic tyranny, as occurred in Uganda (Amin and Obote), Chad, the Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

If the international configuration allows, oppressed urban and rural masses literally vote with their feet ? i.e., resort to “exit” as an alternative to “voice” (Hirschman, 1970). This may result in massive exodus, as for example in ex-French and ex-Spanish Guinea in the 1960s ? one-fourth of the population in the one case, one-third in the other. Substantial numbers fled Haiti in a similar manner to neighboring Caribbean countries or the United States, until harsh measures were taken by the receivers to stem the flow. An alternative path is internal withdrawal, where peasants concentrate on production for subsistence while withholding from the state what it claims as its due. Albeit in appearance apolitical, “exit” constitutes one of the most effective weapon the weak can wield against an exploitative state (Scott,

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1985 and 1987). Because extortion is their primary source of livelihood, the rulers cannot afford to give in, much like landlords. Notwithstanding their rational preference for dodging, peasants may thus find themselves in confrontation with the state and have no choice but to use violence in self-defense.

In this manner, withdrawal from the state may trigger a violent im? plosion, a disaggregation of both rulers and ruled into primary solidarity groups vying with one another in a desperate search for security and subsistence. As violence becomes a major means of survival, it tends to feed on itself. This process may foster the proliferation of armed factions, leading to the emergence of a warlord system, as occurred in seventeenth-century Germany, in China at the beginning of the twentieth century, and more recently in Chad and Uganda. The violence unleashed by this process is more likely to result in massive deaths, but it may produce refugees as well if the populations in question are located near international borders.

If the superpowers reach a better modus vivendi, as currently appears likely, some of the conflicts that contributed to the crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s will be settled and many refugees will be going home. However, the structural conditions that exacerbate the tensions of state formation

among the new states of Asia and Africa, and which fuel perennial brushfires as well as intermittent social explosions within the developing world as a whole, are unlikely to change very profoundly in the foreseeable future. We should therefore expect some of the old refugee-producing conflicts to revive, and new ones to emerge occasionally as well. Given the drastic restrictions on the admission of refugees in the more affluent countries, most of these victims are likely to remain confined, as they are today, in neighboring countries of the developing world.


The dynamics that have propelled international population movements to the forefront of humanistic and political concerns during the past quarter century are likely to be amplified in the next. Given the persistence of huge disparities of conditions among rich and poor countries, the pool of potential international migrants will continue to grow; and since the affluent countries have erected a collective protective wall, we should anticipate a rise in “north-south” tensions over the issue of migration, leading to demands for inclusion of more equitable arrangements within the “new international order”. Concurrently, political liberalization in the socialist countries will present the capitalist democracies with a dilemma as well. Yet, despite its significance, international migration has attracted relatively little attention as a subject for ethical reflection.(See, Gibney, 1986)

In this perspective, two issues are of special importance: 1. aid to the mass

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of refugees who are in effect confined within the developing world itself; and 2. guidelines for admission policy in the capitalist democracies. Since the first of these properly belongs to a discussion of how best to carry out the general obligation to aid the unfortunate abroad (e.g., Shue, 1980), this conclusion shall focus on the second. Although the relevant philosophical literature originated almost exclusively in the United States, its implications are obviously relevant for the capitalist democracies as a whole.

Ethical analysis in this field is rendered extremely complex by the problem of calculating costs and benefits of emigration and immigration. The mainstream economic literature basically argues that departure raises average incomes in the countries of origin and does not lower and may even raise incomes of the poorest there, so that it can be assumed that from their perspective emigration is basically a positive good (e.g., King, 1983). As against this, the thrust of much of the critical literature has been to demonstrate that the benefits of labor migrations have been distributed unequally, to the advantage of the already more fortunate receivers. It has therefore been proposed that the senders should be compensated by the receivers (e.g., Bohning, 1982). Some have gone so far as to argue that the balance to the already unfortunate sending countries is altogether negative. If so, then the current trend among the affluent countries to further restrict immigration would in effect constitute a major contribution to global social justice!

Similar controversies occur with respect to the impact on the receivers, especially if this is disaggregated by class or strata. Nevertheless, there appears to be a growing consensus that most members of the “native” population are better off as a result, with the exception of those already in the bottom-most position. If so, any argument in favor of relatively open immigration should be coupled with proposals for compensation for the least well off.

The most intractable problem pertains to the choice of entity in relation to which the calculus of costs and benefits is to be made. Even when the same

guiding principles are used (e.g., utilitarianism, or the Rawlsian “difference principle”), one reaches drastically different conclusions depending on whether one applies the principle to the national community or to the world as a whole. Adoption of a national approach provides ethical grounds for liberal states to adopt a limited immigration policy designed to preserve the established community (Walzer, 1981): in short, the gates can be shut if additional immigrants would threaten its stability. Within this, priorities are to be allocated on the basis of 1) family reunion, because we have special obligations to our own; and 2) asylum to refugees, whom Walzer identifies as people whose predicament is such that they cannot be helped within their own country. He also suggests that those who have been exploited as

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temporary workers must be granted the right to stay permanently.

In effect, this position legitimizes a “liberal” version of contemporary American immigration policy, as might be institutionalized in a more even-handed administration of the Refugee Act of 1980 and a generous application of the “amnesty” provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. However, although it is by no means intended to justify a national origins approach, the Walzer approach lends itself to this because the community-preservation principle can easily be invoked to attribute priority to “patrials”. Under conditions of scarcity, if this is done it is unlikely that there will be room for many others. This possibility was in fact reflected in legislative proposals before the 100th Congress providing “points” for knowledge of English, and to grant additional admissions to countries which have “traditionally” sent immigrants to the United States (especially Ireland, Italy and Poland).

As against this, a “cosmopolitan” approach permits no restrictions unless they can be shown to be essential to the maintenance of the total system of equal basic liberties; although a liberal state still has the right to protect itself against destruction, the burden of proof is on the receiver, and while stopping short of unlimited immigration, adoption of this principle would lead in practice to a significantly larger intake. It is possible to argue that the “cosmopolitan” approach must be chosen over the “national” because of what liberal theory has to say with respect to exit. Liberal principles prescribe the almost unqualified right of individuals to leave their country, and even to relinquish membership in their political community of origin. However, given the social organization of the globe, emigration is impos? sible in the absence of a place to enter. Liberal states are thus under collective obligation to provide at the least a sufficient number of entries to foreigners so as to enable them to exercise their right to exit (Zolberg, 1987).

That still leaves the question of how priorities for admission are to be ordered. Gibney (1986) has advanced two principles for judgment: 1) the “Harm Principle”, whereby those who caused harm have a special duty of restitution; and 2) the “Basic Rights Principle,” which obligates nations to play some part in meeting the basic rights of individuals in other societies, even if they were not the cause of their need. When applied to ongoing U.S.immigration policy, for example, these principles provide grounds for a radical reordering of priorities. In effect, U.S. policy (including both the legal and “informal” components) has been dominated by three considera? tions: family reunion (i.e., exercise of a “right” by members of the U.S community to bring in close relatives); admission of people originating in Communist countries (i.e., foreign policy objectives); and labor procure? ment. If Gibney’s principles were to be applied, however, the highest priority must be attributed instead to people who have been harmed by the

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United States (e.g., Chileans following the Pinochet coup), and secondly to those whose admission contributes to the meeting of a “fair share” obliga? tion toward those in greatest need ? many of whom would presumably be refugees in the Walzer sense noted above. Unless there were a general willingness to vastly expand immigration, this would leave little room for relatives and probably none at all for labor procurement. The debate at this level has only begun, and thoughtful political theorists

are continuing to explore the implications of various normative considera? tions (e.g., Carens, 1988). However, it is evident that scholars of international migration have a special responsibility to clarify for themsel? ves, political theorists, as well as decision makers, the choices we face in an area which, in the next quarter of a century, will continue to rise on the world agenda of critical issues.


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  • Contents
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  • Issue Table of Contents
    • International Migration Review, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Autumn, 1989) pp. 393-774
      • Front Matter [pp. ]
      • Foreword: IMR at 25: Reflections on a Quarter Century of International Migration Research and Orientations for Future Research [pp. 393-402]
      • The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World [pp. 403-430]
      • A Comparative Overview of International Trends and Types, 1950-80 [pp. 431-456]
      • Economic Theory and International Migration [pp. 457-485]
      • Migration and Development: Myths and Reality [pp. 486-499]
      • Remittances from Labor Migration: Evaluations, Performance and Implications [pp. 500-525]
      • International Law and Human Rights: Trends Concerning International Migrants and Refugees [pp. 526-546]
      • Effects of International Law on Migration Policy and Practice: The Uses of Hypocrisy [pp. 547-578]
      • The Evolution of the International Refugee System [pp. 579-598]
      • Asylum Seekers in Europe in the Context of South-North Movements [pp. 599-605]
      • Contemporary Immigration: Theoretical Perspectives on Its Determinants and Modes of Incorporation [pp. 606-630]
      • Comparing European and North American International Migration [pp. 631-637]
      • Family and Personal Networks in International Migration: Recent Developments and New Agendas [pp. 638-670]
      • Networks, Linkages, and Migration Systems [pp. 671-680]
      • International Migration, International Relations and Foreign Policy [pp. 681-708]
      • Documentation
        • 25 Years of the International Migration Digest and the International Migration Review [pp. 709-725]
      • Book Reviews
        • Review: untitled [pp. 726-727]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 727-728]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 728-729]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 729-730]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 730-731]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 731-732]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 732-733]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 733-734]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 734-735]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 735-736]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 736-737]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 737-738]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 738]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 738-739]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 739-740]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 740-741]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 741]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 741-742]
        • Review: untitled [pp. 742-743]
      • Review of Reviews [pp. 744-759]
      • International Newsletter on Migration [pp. 760-764]
      • IMR Books Received [pp. 765-774]
      • Back Matter [pp. ]
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