The International Migration Scene

By John Tanton
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 4, Number 2 (Winter 1993-1994)
Issue theme: "An international perspective on migration"

Once or twice a year The Social Contract sponsors what we call Writers' Workshops, where professional writers, academics and activists who write on migration topics gather for discussions. These have turned into international affairs - at last October's session we had people from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Germany, though the majority still came form the United States. Despite this effort at internationalism, one of our overseas guests commented on his evaluation form

The USA is so big that I felt there was a tendency among some Americans to think that theirs was the only battle ground that mattered. In fact, as you well know, there is a great value to be gained in 'pooling' our knowledge, ideas and strategies and looking beyond national borders, the better to serve our own.

One of the goals of this publication is to reflect the world-wide nature of the migration dilemma, and to make the point that it is not just an American concern. To that end, we have published a good deal of material from immigrant-receiving nations all over the globe.

This issue of The Social Contract is our most international to date with a clear majority of the articles, or the writers of the articles, from overseas. We're pleased with this, and the opportunity it provides to show some of the ways in which the problems of other industrial nations are the same as - or are different from - ours. As our guest commented, there is great value to be had in looking beyond our several national borders for knowledge, ideas and strategies, and in trying to learn from and in turn teach others.

Our lead article this quarter is by Ranginui Walker, a New Zealander of Maori descent, who presents a native peoples' viewpoint on immigration. Not surprisingly, he and his people are not interested in being submerged through immigration in a gorgeous multicultural mosaic. Rather, he argues for the maintenance of the Maori culture as one of the two partners in a bicultural society. This naturally raises the question of the position of the American and Canadian Indians in the immigration policy debate, which they have not yet entered in any significant way.

Further in this section, Canadian writer Mark Wegierski analyzes the political situation in Canada as it applies to immigration, our long time associate Gerda Bikales translates an article from Quebec on the role of migration in the decline of the French language in that province, Australian Mark O'Connor writes on moral arguments in the immigration debate, and his countrymen Evonne Moore and Joseph Wayne Smith grace our book review section. Welshman Jack Parsons' two books on immigration are reviewed. Our Washington editor, Roy Beck, analyzes the l993 Annual Report of the UN Population Fund - which deals extensively with the role of population 'push' pressure in migration.

We also call your attention to the Graham and Koed article on the Americanization movement at the time of the last turn of a century. They see it in a more favorable light than is customary. Professor Graham has written for us before on the uses and misuses of history in the immigration debate, which was the theme of Vol. I, No. 2 of our journal, Winter l990-91.

One of our readers called recently to say how much he enjoyed reading The Social Contract, but after a pause added, 'but I don't really understand why - it's just a collection of horror stories!' We agree that a lot of what we publish is not bedtime reading, and could even get depressing ... there are so many problems in every direction.

But, our hope is that despite the dire prospects, those bold souls who cannot or will not give up will find in these pages some of the knowledge, ideas and encouragement they need to press on in the quest for a more sane immigration policy.

John Tanton

Editor and Publisher

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