Migration policies across the world are driven by three core concerns: border and law enforcement, economic interest, and protection. The report argues that official policies are failing partly because protection has been marginalised. Intensified efforts to suppress migration have not deterred people from seeking security or opportunity abroad but drive many into clandestinity, while the promotion of open economic markets has attracted millions of people to centres of prosperity but tolerated widespread exploitation. As a political consequence, discussion of migration is widely polarised and distorted by xenophobia and racism.
The report suggests that it is in governments’ interest to affirm their legal and moral responsibility to protect everyone, including migrants. Human rights law provides a baseline of essential protection for migrants, and the components of a more balanced and rational policy approach. A substantial appendix summarises the rights of irregular migrants in international law.
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