Project Manager – Ieva Notturno
Project Update (April 30, 2013): This project’s final discussion report, Human Migration: Policy Possibilities for Public Discussion (28 pages/610 KB), is now available for download. Click on the preceding link or on the link in the sidebar to the right to download a copy.
Americans move a lot and for all kinds of reasons. Some of them, such as moving to a city you love, may be welcome. Others, such as fleeing from a natural disaster, are not. And if we ourselves are not the ones moving, there are plenty others who are—some moving in, others moving out. Indeed, American history is a story of human migrations. It includes the migration of the Pilgrims, the colonization process, the slave trade, the migrations of Native American tribes, the waves upon waves of European and Asian immigrants to the United States, ongoing industrialization, urbanization, suburbanization, the movements of seasonal laborers, the seasonal migration of the elderly, migration due to globalization and such natural disasters as Katrina, and the emigration of Americans to other countries. Recent developments in communication, manufacturing, information technology, and transportation has only made human migration easier, more affordable, and more frequent—thus engendering more of it. Indeed, it seems that Americans are on the move more today than ever before.
But regardless of whether we move close or far, human migration affects us on many different levels. It strikes at the very core of ‘what it means to be an American’, and it raises a large number of public policy questions and concerns about the effects that human migration might have upon individuals, groups, institutions, and society at large.
What could human migration mean? What are the forces that drive it? What societal goals and public policies might pertain to it? What are its different dimensions and how might these different dimensions conflict with each other? How might human migration and the conflicts that arise from it affect the ability of democracy to achieve its goals? Might immigration and emigration, as special examples of human migration, pose special threats to democracy? And if so, what are they? What concerns might Americans have about human migration? How might our public policies address these concerns? What conceptual policy possibilities might we develop that might affect the future of human migration?
These questions reflect broad concerns about human migration that are fundamental to our future social, cultural, economic, political, religious, and ethnic development.
About the process. During this project, I will be facilitating monthly discussions of two different panels, one consisting of specialists in migration issues and the other of interested citizens without particular expertise or experience. We will meet for a three hour discussion once a month in Washington DC. Our task will be to develop contrasting conceptual policy possibilities for public discussion concerning human migration. I anticipate that the resulting report will present six to ten such possibilities, along with some thoughts about how each possibility might be implemented and the effects that those actions might have upon individuals, groups, institutions, and society at large.