By Rodrigo Huesca, MPP student at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra
When Roger Zetter said that "developing policies in crisis is problematic since it could lead to putting children into cages" he might not be exaggerating. Although the words of this researcher from the Refugee Studies Center in Oxford could seem distant to some of those attending the 2019 APPAM International Conference in Barcelona, the situation resembled what thousands of people experienced at the Mexico - U.S. border months earlier.
While addressing the challenges regarding global migration, Zetter wanted to make something very clear. The so-called migration crisis has to be reframed and we have to acknowledge that we are making policies under a narrative which is biased (north-biased) and over dimensioned (not based on real numbers). It also has a strong relation with economic trends unable to fulfill people’s needs all over the globe.
Zetter emphasized that the “policy apparatus has failed to keep pace with complex and changing dynamics of mobility, agency, aspirations and norms”. Reality must be taken into account in order to develop a new scheme of governance over mobility. A scheme, he points out, that would foster policies that are designed along with the comprehension of social reality and not over a fake idea of crisis.
To back up his statements he showed that only 3% of the global population is related to international migration and that the biggest flows are not from countries of the south to the north but among southern countries themselves. Facts as the ones exposed require a shift towards a new paradigm – a paradigm where the blurry lines between migrant, refugee and irregular migrant do not rule in the public policies.
In a similar sense, Ricard Zapata, from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, points out that only by promoting an intercultural citizenship is a new European reality possible. When addressing the difficulties that migrants (as individuals, as families or even in larger groups) face when they arrive to the mainly white and Christian Europe, the urgency for intercultural integration seems obvious.
He spoke from a historical approach while saying that “Europe has never had mechanisms to manage diversity” but that it is fundamental to implement “intercultural lends” with the aim to foster stronger relationships among Europeans with multiple backgrounds. The latest might endorse, he believes, the path to a continental vision that recognizes its multi-ethnicity in a multi-racial context.
These topics, among many others, were debated in the Migration Policy and its Global Impacts panel. The chat took place in the frame of the 2019 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) summit over a topic that is both ancient and current, relevant and controversial, and whose implications demand attention not just from policy makers but from citizenship itself.