The Way Forward on Migration


This week, I had the privilege of representing the International Organization of Employers (IOE) at a Dialogue on the Global Migration Compact.  The meeting was held at the United Nations and it was standing-room only all day as governments, civil society and the private sector (me) gathered to discuss how to move forward from the historic UN summit on refugees and migrants that took place in New York in September. It is clear governments everywhere are struggling to figure out how to ensure safe, legal and orderly migration in an era of increasing hostility and fear.

As I took the train home, I had time to reflect on how immigration might play out under the Trump Administration. I’ve concluded that we have to sort our thinking into three buckets: what we know, what we don’t know and what’s speculation.

What We Know: We know that immigration is one of President-elect Trump’s top priorities. We have a list of all the statements he made on the campaign trail, and we know that he said some of them would be acted upon on “Day One.” We know that some of them would require an act of Congress. We also know that he has begun to walk back a few of these statements.

We know some of the people who are playing a part in shaping his new Administration, and we know their (or at least their bosses’) previous positions on issues of importance to CFGI members. We know what some anti-immigrant groups are advocating, but we also know that pro-immigration forces are organizing.

What We Don’t Know: We don’t know who will receive the political appointments most important to shaping immigration policy or who those people will bring onto their teams. This will be critically important to crafting future policies. We don’t know whether President-elect Trump will change his mind on immigration issues as he gets more information. He is a businessman after all.

Even if he does decide to take action on all of his statements, we don’t yet know any details of what he might do. For example, we don’t know whether he will pursue executive action, regulatory reform or work with Congress. And we certainly do not know the timeframe on any of these decisions.

What’s Speculation? Everything else at this point. 

So, take a deep breath. Let’s start by paying attention to developments, while recognizing that very little happens in Washington quickly or comes as a total surprise. Take the time now to prioritize your own concerns, and let us know your priorities so we can incorporate them as we chart our way forward.



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