Migration, Development and Children Left Behind: A Multidimensional Approach
Author(s): R. de la Garza
This report examines the relationship between migration and development from a multi-faceted perspective. It draws on original field research and an extensive review of scholarly and policy studies to examine how migration affects a society's economic, social, political and cultural characteristics. This results in an analysis that encompasses the multi-layered impact of migration, i.e., its effect on the individual, the family and the sending community. Among the key arguments for adopting this approach is that conventional analyses that focus on economic factors such as remittances to the virtual exclusion of others greatly over-estimate the gains resulting from emigration and under-value the costs emigration imposes on the overall wellbeing of families left behind, and on sending communities in general. By going beyond economic considerations, the report also describes how migration can damage the social stability of sending communities when migrants who have become involved in the drug trade and human trafficking turn to their communities of origin for increased business. The internationalization of criminal activity can force sending states to direct their scarce resources to combating these threats rather than implementing policies that serve and develop communities. This report devotes particular attention to how migration - of one or both parents- affects children left behind and reviews how state policies regarding poverty reduction and social protection can contribute to alleviating the negative impacts of parental migration on the rights of children left behind. Finally, this report emphatically calls for major changes in a wide range of policies affecting migration that will result in more accountable, responsive, and transparent governmental institutions. Even well designed new migration policies will be of limited value if government leaders are not accountable and the decision processes of public institutions are not transparent.