The 2018 International Migration Policy Report: Perspectives on the Content and Implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration features several articles focusing upon issues discussed and negotiated by United Nations (UN) member states in producing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (“the Compact”). The final draft of the Global Compact was agreed to in New York by 191 member states on July 13, 2018, with final adoption of the document set for December 2018 at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The articles, written by global Scalabrini Migration Study Centers founded by the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Charles, Scalabrinians, provide best practices and recommendations on important migration policy issues included in the Compact. The study centers contributing to the report include the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in the Philippines, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA), and the Fondazione Centro Studi Emigrazione — Roma (CSER).
The report also includes shorter essays from special contributors to CMS addressing other important topics addressed by the member states during the negotiations of the Compact. The appendix features a sampling of interventions made by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) and CMS during the negotiation process.
In his paper, “Return Migration: A Conceptual and Policy Framework,” Graziano Battistella, c.s., executive director of SMC in Quezon City, Philippines, tackles the controversial issue of return migration, ranging from voluntary to forced returns. The author proposes a conceptual framework to accommodate four categories of returns: (1) return of achievement; (2) return of completion; (3) return of setback; and (4) return of crisis (forced return). These models could be adopted by UN member states, but each category would require a different policy framework.
Sergio Carciotto, executive director of SIMHA in Cape Town, South Africa, addresses the issue of labor migration in his paper, “The Regularization of Zimbabwean Migrants: A Case of Permanent Temporariness.” The author, using the example of Zimbabwean laborers in South Africa, makes the case that migrant workers should be eligible for permanent residence after a certain length of time working in a host nation, as they have contributed to the host nation’s economy and culture. Permanent residence would also ensure that workers can market their skills and fully contribute to their new country, while also being protected from workplace abuse and exploitation.
In the paper, “In Search of Protection: Unaccompanied Minors in Italy,” a team of writers examines the pressing topic of unaccompanied migrant children and how nations should treat them. Pietro Demurtas, Mattia Vitiello, and Marco Accorinti of the Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies at the National Research Council in Rome, Aldo Skoda of the Scalabrini International Migration Institute in Rome, and Carola Perillo of CSER critique Italy’s policy on these children and offer recommendations for reform of the system, concluding with four principles of protection for possible adoption by the compacts.
Finally, Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy at CMS and SIMN, highlights issues that have been controversial in negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration in his piece, “The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration: Will It Live Up to Its Name?” The author — who has been centrally involved in the process leading to the compact — offers recommendations to resolve issues related to regularization, border enforcement and return, the rights of irregular migrants, information firewalls, and the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.
The papers are followed by a series of shorter essays addressing “on the ground” issues confronting migrants in vulnerable situations, with a focus upon how faith-based organizations (FBOs) help fill service and protection gaps.
In “Protecting Families and Facilitating Their Integration,” Linda Rabben, associate research professor, Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, discusses the global crisis in forcible displacement, focusing on the hardships and challenges encountered by migrant families and children. Rabben describes several successful FBO programs for migrants. Following a series of recommendations, she concludes that FBOs have as much to contribute to the compacts’ implementation, as to its content.
Laurie Carafone, co-director of legal services for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) speaks to the needs of women and girls, and how faith-based groups can and do meet them, in her essay “Meeting the Needs of Women and Girl Migrants and Refugees in the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework: The Unique Role of Faith-Based Organizations.”
Mike Nicholson, researcher at the Center for Migration Studies of New York, explores the role of FBOs in providing health care to migrants and promoting their employment and entrepreneurial activities in his essay, “The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Immigrants’ Health and Entrepreneurship.”
In advocacy efforts throughout the negotiation of the Global Compact, SIMN and CMS collaborated with the Delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations, member states, faith-based organizations, and civil society to identify and raise issues impacting the human rights of migrants and refugees. SIMN and CMS hope that these collaborations will continue into the implementation phase of the Global Compact.
Speaking to the Plenary Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in March 2018, Pope Francis stated that the Church “must encourage countries to coordinate more suitable and effective responses to the challenges posed by issues of migration.” He also recognized the important role of the Church in providing leadership and service to the most vulnerable of those among us, including persons on the move: “Today, as in the past, liberating the poor, the oppressed, and the persecuted is an integral part of the mission entrusted by God to the Church.”