New from IMR: Migration Outcomes, Destination Preferences, and Naturalization

Credit: Jessica Radanavong / Unsplash

New from IMR: Migration Outcomes, Destination Preferences, and Naturalization

The Summer 2021 edition of the International Migration Review (IMR) is now available online and in print through paid or institutional subscription. This edition is thematically sorted into four sections. The first section has articles about migration outcomes, health, and work. The second section discusses onward migration, destination preferences, and (im)mobility. The third section is about legal status, naturalization, and resiliency. The fourth section examines refugee policies, public opinion, and crisis. Lastly, this edition includes four book reviews, which are free to access.

Warriors Wanted: The Performance of Immigrants in the US Army
Eiko Strader, Jennifer Lundquist, and Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas

The US Army offers English-language instruction and socio-cultural training to foreign-born personnel, and current US law allows some immigrants to apply for expedited citizenship through military service. The US Army, thus, offers a compelling context to explore how such institutional factors might facilitate immigrant incorporation, yet we know little about the experience of foreign-born soldiers because most surveys of immigrant experiences exclude active-duty personnel. Using novel data obtained from the US Department of Defense that are not available to the public, this IMR research note describes the integrative nature of the US Army and contrasts foreign-born and native-born soldiers’ experiences with what we know about immigrant selectivity and job outcomes elsewhere. The authors examine rank, promotion likelihood, and retention of newly enlisted citizen and noncitizen immigrant soldiers who joined the US Army between 2002 and 2009. As they show, immigrants performed equally well or better than native-born soldiers.

Pull Factors and Migration Preferences: Evidence from the Middle East and North Africa
Jeremy Ferwerda and Justin Gest

Which national characteristics do voluntary migrants prioritize when considering destinations? Although this question is salient for policy-makers, existing research faces challenges when seeking to identify how various pull factors shape immigrant destination preferences. Surveys of migrants are typically conducted after they arrive, introducing selection bias and post-hoc reasoning, and disentangling the various factors shaping migration preferences is difficult. In this article, the authors identify the destination preferences of prospective migrants, drawing on a survey of 8,500 respondents from five sending countries across the Middle East and North Africa. In the survey, prospective migrants were asked to choose between two hypothetical destinations with randomly varying characteristics. The results reveal a clear hierarchy of preferences, with prospective migrants placing the greatest priority on liberal democratic governance and employment prospects. The availability of welfare benefits acted as a secondary consideration, while geographic distance and co-ethnic stock did not strongly predict initial destination preferences. While the rank order of these considerations remains consistent across national samples, the results suggest that respondents from different economic and political backgrounds vary in how they navigate potential tradeoffs between potential destinations. These findings offer new insight by revealing prospective migrants’ preferences before they interact with the opportunity structures that facilitate and restrict entry into desirable destinations.

Understanding International Immobility through Internal Migration: “Left behind” Nurses in the Philippines
Yasmin Y. Ortiga and Romeo Luis A. Macabasag

Migration scholars tend to portray internal mobility as a step toward broader cross-border movement, reinforcing the notion of ongoing progress toward international migration. This article argues for a need to recognize how internal mobility can also explain international immobility, or why people do not move across national borders. Using the case of Filipino nurses, the authors argue that while internal migration does allow aspiring migrants to build the potential ability to emigrate, individual trajectories are much more diverse and multi-directional, often prolonging or reinforcing their international immobility. As a result, and in our case study, the costs and burdens of constant internal movement can alter nurses’ migration aspirations, prompting them to either alter their original goals or acquiesce to their inability to leave their origin countries. This article calls for migration scholarship to address not only a “mobility bias” within the field but also the over-focus on international migration, rather than internal mobility, as a subject of study.

MIGRATION OUTCOMES, HEALTH, AND WORK
Disrupted Geographic Arbitrage and Differential Capacities of Coping in Later-Life: Anglo-Western Teacher Expatriates in Brunei
Sin Yee Koh

Is an Ounce of Remittance Worth a Pound of Health? The Case of Tajikistan
Sophia Kan

Warriors Wanted: The Performance of Immigrants in the US Army
Eiko Strader, Jennifer Lundquist, and Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas

ONWARD MIGRATION, DESTINATION PREFERENCES, AND (IM)MOBILITY

Times of Work and Social Life: Bangladeshi Migrants in Northeast Italy and London
Russell King and Francesco Della Puppa

Pull Factors and Migration Preferences: Evidence from the Middle East and North Africa
Jeremy Ferwerda and Justin Gest

Understanding International Immobility through Internal Migration: “Left behind” Nurses in the Philippines
Yasmin Y. Ortiga and Romeo Luis A. Macabasag

LEGAL STATUS, NATURALIZATION, AND RESILIENCY

Legal Histories as Determinants of Incorporation: Previous Undocumented Experience and Naturalization Propensities Among Immigrants in the United States
Amanda R. Cheong

Vulnerable and Resilient: Legal Status, Sources of Support, Maternal Knowledge, and the Family Routines of Mexican and Central American-origin Mothers in Los Angeles
Eileen Diaz McConnell and Aggie J Yellow Horse

REFUGEE POLICIES, PUBLIC OPINION, AND CRISIS

Humanitarian Assistance and Permanent Settlement of Asylum Seekers in Greece: The Role of Sympathy, Perceived Threat, and Perceived Contribution
Elisavet Thravalou, Borja Martinovic, and Maykel Verkuyten

Public Opinion on Refugee Policy in the United States, 1938-2019: Increasing Support for Refugees and the Sympathy Effect
Mariano Sana

Death and Migration: Migrant Journeys and the Governance of Migration During Europe’s “Migration Crisis”
Simon McMahon and Nando Sigona

BOOK REVIEWS

Voting Together: Intergenerational Politics and Civic Engagement among Hmong Americans
Carolyn Wong
Reviewed by Victor Jew

Transnational Lives in Global Cities: A Multi-Sited Study of Chinese Singaporean Migrants
Caroline Plüss
Reviewed by Yeo Si Jie Ivin

The Migrant Passage: Clandestine Journeys from Central America
Noelle Kateri Brigden
Reviewed by Margath A. Walker 

Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins
Sarah S. Willen
Reviewed by Haim Yacobi