Curbing the Influence of "Bad Actors" in International Migration
The Transatlantic Council on Migration convened to explore how governments can meaningfully address the harms that result from migration flows. These harms are enabled by the powerful market for illegal entry and employment that exists on both sides of the Atlantic. The Council outlined a strategic approach to identify the tools and strengthen the political will necessary to tackle some of the factors that fuel these patterns. And in particular, it assessed the role of the various "bad actors"—including traffickers, middlemen, unscrupulous employers, and often-unwitting consumers—in supporting illegal migration-related activity.
This Council Statement assesses the continuum of policies needed to disrupt not only the most obvious patterns of illegal activity, but the underlying conditions that make it possible and profitable. Governments can neither eradicate all illegal activity, nor can they make borders fully secure. Instead, they must constantly weigh the costs, benefits, and sometimes perverse consequences of deploying resources in one area versus another in order to maximize impact while recognizing the limits of both human and financial capital available for this effort.
Among the Council's recommendations are for governments to take steps to continuously assess and reevaluate enforcement efforts and trade-offs; foster public confidence in the migration system through transparency and open communication; create policies that reward good behavior and make it easy to follow the rules, while reducing the benefits of illegal activity; and to leverage cooperation across agencies and countries as a force multiplier.
The reports that were presented at the Council's meeting and helped inform these recommendations are available here.
I. Defining the Challenge: Who Are the "Bad Actors" in International Migration?
II. Targeting Enforcement Efforts: Where to Invest?
A. Strengthening the Border
B. Reducing the Space in Which Criminal Facilitators Operate
C. Combating Illegal Work
III. Conclusions and Recommendations