It is tempting to say that the economic crisis has “changed everything.” Public finances have been dealt a sharp blow. The job market is in turmoil, with unemployment reaching or exceeding quarter-century peaks in the developed world. A disruption like this can cause paralysis in public policy, especially in complex areas such as migration. The aim of this article is to focus on issues that will demand our attention and our investments over the next few years in order to overcome any such possible paralysis. It begins by highlighting a few of the more relevant and interesting trends related to migration. It then offers a survey of the current state of migration policy on the international stage, focusing on the recent marriage of migration and development, one of the most promising advances we’ve witnessed in international relations over the past few years. This has helped foster relationships of understanding and trust between countries that once considered themselves to have competing agendas in the migration game, and might now offer a crucial means of managing migration tensions that could otherwise boil over. The second part of the article offers some ideas for future policy. As we endure a deep recession, the cohesion of our societies will face new challenges, and those on the margins—especially immigrants—will be subject to greater discrimination. We need to use this opportunity to embrace the realities of immigration by reshaping our institutions so that they address the needs of our diverse, 21st century societies.
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