How We Talk About Migration

The Link Between Migration Narratives, Policy, and Power

Published in: Migration Policy Institute website (October 2021)

Posted on RAND.org on October 22, 2021

by Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Haim Malka, Shelly Culbertson

International migration has more than tripled worldwide since 1960, with some of the most dramatic increases seen in places least accustomed to large-scale movements across borders. Colombia went from having fewer than 40,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants in 2015 to more than 1.7 million five years later; in Lebanon, the number of refugees now exceeds 25 percent of its population; and one in five Swedes is now foreign born. This rapid social and demographic change in many countries around the world has triggered a new reckoning around what immigration means for societies, giving rise to a plethora of narratives or stories about how the movement of people across international boundaries reinforces-or undermines-national values, security, and prosperity.

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