Why Denmark Should Join the Eurozone

Written by Nina Tophoff, European Horizons


Although Denmark joined the European Communities in 1973 and has been an integral member of the European Union since its founding in 1993, the country still uses krone as its currency, rather than the euro. As a country with good economic performance, it has much to gain from joining the eurozone and becoming a more integrated member of the EU, and it is likely to be successful in doing so. The European Union and eurozone are currently experiencing a crisis of integration and would benefit politically from the successful integration of Denmark into the eurozone, in addition to benefiting economically. Integration into the eurozone would benefit both Denmark and the European Union.


The last referendum that Denmark had on joining the eurozone took place in 2000, when 53% of voters rejected the euro compared to 47% in favor. This referendum was held nearly 20 years ago and within this time, the euro has become a much more established currency throughout the European Union. Public opinion in Denmark has also become increasingly favorable toward the European Union and further integration. Most major Danish political parties favor joining the eurozone and the idea of a second referendum has been proposed many times since 2000. Joining the eurozone is politically popular throughout Denmark, and a second referendum would be likely to pass.


Joining the eurozone would also further integrate Denmark into the European Union, which would bring immense political benefits. For instance, it would encourage better relations among Denmark and proximate countries that already use the euro. According to former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the move would also allow Denmark to have more of a say in issues within the European Union. Considering Denmark’s comparatively small size and influence, it is clear that any additional clout would help the country tremendously.


Having Denmark join the eurozone would also be politically beneficial for the European Union itself. Over the last couple of years, there has been a massive rise in euro-skepticism throughout the Union, exemplified by the rise of populist, anti-European parties in countries like Italy and France and by the 2016 referendum in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The successful further integration of an important member state could provide a positive example for the future, both for current and potential member states.


Denmark’s strong economic performance also indicates that it would be a perfect candidate for joining the eurozone. Denmark is one of a few candidates for joining the eurozone that meet all four criteria for joining, including a government deficit that does not exceed more than 3% of GDP, debt that does not exceed more than 60% of GDP, exchange-rate stability, and low, stable interest rates. In addition, Denmark has other excellent economic indicators that would make it a strong member of the eurozone. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in Europe, a strong trade surplus of DKK 6 billion, and a stable currency. Economically, Denmark is doing much better than many current members of the eurozone, such as Greece, and adding Denmark to the eurozone could improve its overall performance.


Joining the eurozone would also be economically beneficial for Denmark itself.  Denmark’s current currency is already subject to European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which means that its exchange rate is essentially pegged to the euro; switching to the euro would further simplify exchange with other eurozone member states. In addition, as previous eurozone entrances have demonstrated, joining the eurozone would boost trade with other eurozone members. Lastly, Denmark’s eurozone integration would allow for greater economic stability and improved growth, and would allow Danish businesses easier access to other eurozone markets.


Joining the eurozone would be politically and economically beneficial for both Denmark and the European Union. Additionally, Denmark’s optimal economic conditions should allow the transition to integration to be fairly smooth. The political will is present; therefore, another referendum should be held soon to give the Danish people the opportunity to act on the widespread desire to join the Eurozone and become a fuller member of the European Union.



Germany’s Difficulties with Refugee Integration

Written by Zubeyde Oysul and Mary Sulavik, European Horizons


The millions of refugees entering Europe during recent years have found the warmest reception in Germany, where 1 in 8 residents is of foreign national origin. Germany has made significant strides towards effectively and permanently relocating and integrating refugees into the country. However, there are still policy opportunities to ensure that refugees are able to integrate further and feel assured of guaranteed futures in the country, with the possibility of being joined by their families. Many refugees are having trouble making the educational and legal leaps necessary to become German citizens. Conditions for integration, including long waiting periods for citizenship, are unnecessarily turbulent and stressful; less than 50 percent of migrants pass their language and integration classes. With the German spending budget for refugees predicted to reach 78 billion euros through 2022, it is crucial to ensure that methods of migrant integration are practical, successful, and cost effective.


The aspect of integration most significant to migrants and their futures is their economic integration into the country. By gaining employment, migrants will be able to fully immerse themselves within the country, learning the language and interacting with the locals. Employment will also allow them to provide for their futures, thereby decreasing their dependence on aid from the German government. In this regard, Germany’s vocational training schools have made great strides in providing refugees with appropriate vocational skills, language education and integration courses to join the German workforce. Luckily for the refugees, Germany currently has a significant shortage of skilled labor, allowing refugees with appropriate training to fill these gaps in the market. A report from the state-funded Institute for Employment Research (IAB) found that half the refugee population of 2015 would be working by 2020, clearly indicating that the efforts of the German vocational schools, along with tremendous efforts on the part of civil and volunteer organizations, are proving useful to migrant integration into the German workforce.


Despite these conditions, unemployment continues to be the reality for many refugees. Even migrants who have the appropriate skills for employment often cannot obtain a job in Germany due to a lack of language skills that creates communication problems between the migrants and their future employers. Migrants who do not possess the skills learned from vocational training, or who may have skills more specialized than those learned in the schools, are also having difficulty finding employment. In Germany, training occurs over a prolonged period of time, with extensive language requirements, thereby limiting vital short-term employment options.


The apprehension of many migrants about their futures in the country prevents them from preparing for long-term employment opportunities in the country. Germany is currently divided on whether migrants with non-credible claims for asylum should be allowed to remain in the country. Asylum-seekers must appeal to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to receive their status in the country, at which point they might receive a negative ruling. To contest the negative ruling, migrants must appeal to one of Germany’s 52 law courts. Depending on where a refugee is situated within the country, they may face a high risk of deportation if their claims fail to hold up in court.  If the appeal is denied, the immigration agencies local to the law courts are required to deport the migrant. Although the process seems multifold, many refugees will find the odds stacked against them following an initial rejection from BAMF, as the law courts tend to favor the Federal Office over the migrants. In some of these courts, discrimination against refugees leads to illegitimate court rulings and unfair administrative decisions, thereby evicting numerous refugees from Germany who may very well have a legitimate claim to asylum. The difficulty and uncertainty of the asylum process proves particularly troubling for the German economy: since refugees without asylum cannot legally hold a job, many refugees will face unemployment indefinitely, deepening the strain on the German migrant budget.


Germany has and will continue to face logistical issues in placing all of its refugees within communities, educating them, and integrating them into the workforce. Social integration might take generations, but economic integration does not have to. If Germany were to minimize the requirements needed to join the workforce, as well as reform the asylum-seeking system into a more just and unified one across the German states, refugees would have a much easier time succeeding in the future. Their success will allow the German economy to better allocate its funds for migrants towards more needy recipients, rather than the general refugee population.  With a more efficient vocational training model, especially in terms of language education, and a national standard for asylum requirements, Germany can integrate its refugees into the economy faster.

Addressing the Wave of Right-Wing Populism in Hungary and Poland

Written by John Poulos and Jordan Jain, European Horizons


While all eyes seem to be fixated on Brexit, it is important to remember that the European Union is grappling with another crisis: the erosion of democracy, particularly in Poland and Hungary. In the wake of right-wing populist governments flouting democratic values, rule of law, and human rights, it is the responsibility of the EU to uphold democratic norms.


In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) government has undercut the judiciary since taking over the Constitutional Tribunal in 2015. In July 2018, the Polish Parliament bypassed the constitution by passing a law that forced judges over 65 to retire unless they appealed directly to the President, who was granted sole discretion over the decision. This judiciary purge forced 27 of 72 Supreme Court justices out of their positions, and allowed the president to stack the courts with supporters of his policies. Additionally, the country faces weakening electoral laws, centralization of power, and strong PiS propaganda by state-owned media.


In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party have used their political power to transform the country into what he calls an “illiberal democracy.” From creating a parallel court system to cracking down on media outlets opposed to his regime, Orban continues to erode democratic principles in order to control public discourse. Meanwhile, his government has demonized NGOs and attacked academic freedom, quietly changing the rules to expel the George Soros-backed Central European University, an institution he considers disloyal.


In response to these unprecedented internal threats to EU democracy, European Parliament voted in favor of triggering a disciplinary process, known as Article 7, for the first time in EU history against Poland in December 2017 and then against Hungary in September 2018. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced concerns over Hungary and Poland breaching EU values of democracy, rule of law, and human rights. Yet punitive measures, such as suspending voting rights, require a unanimous vote from the European Council. This mechanism has failed, as Hungary and Poland have each pledged to veto any punitive measures against the other.


Article 7’s lack of effective enforcement measures leaves the EU in a precarious situation. While the EU must send a message to other member states that it will not ignore the abuse of liberal democracy, the EU cannot completely alienate countries like Poland and Hungary and should not risk a clash with populists that could escalate into a greater confrontation. Within the current system, a sensible measure would be to tie the disbursement of EU funds to member states’ commitment to uphold the rule of law. This move gives power to the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, to suspend EU funds from member states if they do not adhere. This could be overturned only by a qualified majority in the European Council, breaking the deadlock of the aforementioned unanimous vote required for further sanctions. Alternatively, Germany and Belgium recently put forward a joint proposal which called for the creation of an annual rule of law peer review in all EU member states.


The EU can also choose to strengthen the Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), a board of non-political experts which already works to provide advice to member states on a range of issues. Currently, the FRA works to ensure human rights are upheld across the EU by setting minimum standards. As the FRA actively monitors and reports on rights violations, the agency should be able to present their findings as direct evidence of a country’s violation of democratic values and trigger an automatic probationary period for the perpetrating country.


In addition to the above recommendations for the EU, its member states should take individual action to support democracy. For example, member states should increase financial assistance to civil society organizations and independent media in areas where freedom of speech is under assault.


The challenges of illiberal democracy and populism are strong in Europe and abroad. While Hungary and Poland are certainly not the only illiberal democracies in the EU, they have continued to challenge the authority of the EU and its democratic principles. Their behavior requires action to be taken both by the EU as a whole and by individual member states in order to restore democratic norms and uphold the EU’s legitimacy.


Analysis of Classical Liberal & Socialist Thought

By Julianne Schmidt

Marked by the success of the American Revolution and the turmoil of the French Revolution, the nineteenth century was the setting for the birth of classical liberal thought. Out of these historical events emerged Wilhelm von Humboldt’s On the Limits of State Action and, later, Alexis de Tocqueville’s work, Democracy in America. Both of these works outline the basic principles of liberalism by emphasizing the importance of private initiative over the collective and advocating for the limited role of the state. A second derivative of political thought matured towards the middle of the nineteenth century amidst the height of the Industrial Revolution: socialism. Half a century after Humboldt’s text, Friedrich Engels published The Condition of the Working Class in England, a fundamental analysis of the life of the English proletariat as framed by their environment and the consequences thereof. Shortly afterwards, Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto detailed a structure for the proletariat’s shift to the ruling class. In contrast to liberalism, socialism prioritized the collective and embraced the role of the State as a sort of referee promoting the welfare of the commoner. The disparity between liberalism and socialism is rooted in their different levels of analysis—the individual versus the collective proletariat— their contrasting opinions on the role of the state, and their opposing conclusions on the future of European states’ societal and governmental structure.

The core of Humboldt’s text argues for liberalism’s prioritization of the individual over the collective society, and the role of the state to limit its actions to allow for this end. He argues that private initiative should be the foundation on which all states stand. The natural goal of life is to bring forth our individual personality, therefore the goal of the state should be to allow for the expression of each citizen’s individuality. The individual should be able to “enjoy the most absolute freedom of developing himself by his own energies” (Humboldt 20). If states encroach upon the natural evolution of the individual, the result is an underdeveloped citizenry and the encouragement of passivity among the population. An overactive and overextended government will cause uniformity, destroy the vitality and sense of community among citizens, and ultimately undermine the efficiency of the state as a whole (23). Instead, Humboldt argues that the main function of the state should be more limited—it should maintain focus on just the protection of citizens from each other and from foreign invasion. This clearly delineated security function of the state allows freedom for the full development of the individual and provides an environment with a variety of stimuli to challenge people to further develop themselves (16). In this society, competition will exist among community members but this mutual competition will push each to their highest potential. Humboldt equates greater competition with an outcome of increased greatness of the civilization. He argues for the minimization of government and the maximization of freedoms given to the citizenry. This focus on the individual over the state will create a more efficient system comprised of self-motivated citizens that will expend energy on addressing only society’s necessities.

Whereas the liberal thought of Humboldt focuses on the individual himself acting to bring forth his unique personality, Engels specifically argues that the environment in which the individual finds himself is a crucial factor in determining his character, actions, and future potential. He discusses the inhumane living conditions of the working class, who are frequently piled together in overcrowded, unsanitary districts of towns that create an environment ripe for the spread of infectious disease and allow little hope for escape and improvement of condition. He writes that the proletariat lives in a “condition unworthy of human beings” and the entirety of the working class is “exposed to a similar fate without any fault of his own and in spite of every possible effort” (Engels 43). It is important that Engels notes this blamelessness of the working class man—the proletariat is incapable of reaching its “full potential” in liberal terms because the environment in which they find themselves is static and restricting of social mobility. As a result of the depressed living conditions, Engels notes the uptick in theft, prostitution, and drunkenness throughout England in recent decades. Living in squalor, the working men squander their money on alcohol because it offers them a brief respite from the reality of their condition (129). In this way, he notes how immoral actions are derived from the inhumanity that the proletariat finds themselves living in. These actions of the proletariat, being direct products of their condition, can only be improved by the creation and intervention of a collective welfare state.

Engels shows that it is impossible to isolate the individual from the conditions of his life, an analysis that Humboldt does not address. In his focus on each individual’s ability to reach his highest potential self, Humboldt does not confront the realities of the conditions of the lower class. Because he writes before the complete fast-paced onset of the Industrial Revolution, Humboldt’s argument lacks the acknowledgement of the inescapable abject poverty that defines working class life. Engels makes a point in his description of working class conditions to include an excerpt from a contemporary liberal thinker, who is “amazed that it is possible to maintain a reasonable state of health in [the proletariat’s] homes” (Engels 76). The liberal thinker shares in essence the same astonishment at the working class living standards as Engels. In this way, both sides of the political theory acknowledge the destitution of the proletariat as a product of the Industrial Revolution. However, liberals and socialists fundamentally differ in their approach of the role of the state in alleviating these conditions.

For Marx and Engels the purpose of the state is to ensure the welfare of its citizens, departing from Humboldt’s emphasis on the separation of welfare programs from the role of the state. Socialists deny liberal thinkers’ necessary focus on individual development for the good of both the individual and the nation as a whole. Instead, they argue that priority should be placed on the collective, because the best results for all come when you put the good and equality of the whole of society first. In their manifesto, Marx and Engels argue that capitalism destroys the egalitarianism of society by pitting people against each other (Marx and Engels 479). It drives workers to compete with workers, resulting in an unproductive and disjointed society. The cohesive organization of the proletariat into a class is constantly disrupted by this internal competition spurred by capitalist influence (481). It is through class struggle and conflict, however, that the proletariat gains a sense of itself and its potential as a whole unit of society, for, “with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows” (480). From this accumulating strength comes labor unions, the natural first step in the formation of the collective working class state. Once firmly established, these unions form the basis for the future organization of the proletariat as the ruling class. Empowering the workers as equal leaders of the collective state ensures that systems will be put in place to check competition, since Marx and Engels believe capitalist competition is contrary to human nature. This results in a banding together to protect the collective interests and common welfare. Contrary to liberal thinkers, Marx and Engels believe the pooling together of resources increases efficiency. Therefore, this collective society governed by the proletariat with the interests of the proletariat at heart will resolve the current plight of the working class.

By contrast, Tocqueville argues that democratic governments may naturally further concentrate and expand their powers, but measures must be put in place to ensure that these governments do not turn into benign paternalistic or despotic states. In this way, Tocqueville opposes the socialist favor of a strong central state as the promoter of unity and collective welfare. He argues that the “extreme centralization of political power ultimately enervates society and thus…weakens the government too” (Tocqueville 677). Therefore, states must avoid the expansion of bureaucracies and the destruction of secondary powers while promoting civic engagement and the direct election of government officials. Although these measures of limiting the state’s power contradict socialism, Tocqueville does recognize some pieces of information that Marx and Engels touch upon. He realizes that the “noble has gone down in the social scale, and the commoner gone up”, quasi-relating to the socialists’ perception of the ultimate rise of proletariat power and fall of bourgeoisie influence (11). He acknowledges the fact that the old regime that has dominated France and Europe as a whole for centuries cannot be brought back. However he does not see the future overthrow of the bourgeoisie class by the commoners. Instead, he discusses the concept of the “equality of conditions” or the equal opportunity of individuals to succeed and move upward in society (9). Inextricably tied to this equality of conditions is the “great democratic revolution” that is crossing the Atlantic from America (9). There are two possible outcomes of democracy, one being based on liberty, as in the United States, and the other being based on democratic despotism. In an overly centralized and powerful state, there is a fear of tyranny of the majority and the quiet despotism of a paternalistic government (675). In order to prevent this result, Tocqueville argues for the citizenry to be cautious of an overly expansive government and to support the limited role of the state and the maintenance of individual freedoms.


A link between these liberal and socialist texts can be found in the common discussion of the impact of post-revolutionary America on the political and economic framework of Europe. The influence of the newly democratic America is the foundation of Tocqueville’s work and is also referenced by Engels. For Tocqueville, America is the basis for his argument that freedom, knowledge, and prosperity can result from the equality of conditions in a successful democracy (Tocqueville 705). Engels, however, approaches the state of America through an economic lens. In his discussion of the “Attitude of the Bourgeoisie”, he states that the English capitalists are woefully underestimating the potential of the newly independent nation. For Engels, it is clear that America has a seemingly limitless capacity for economic progress with its “inexhaustible resources…[and] energetic, active population” (Engels 299). The new democracy has a more invigorated population than the beaten down English working class, which could be problematic for England in maintaining its leading position in the global economy. This discussion of American influence shared by the two modes of political thought reflects the different conclusions they derive from common analysis of a working democracy. For Tocqueville, it is America that forms the starting point for the wave of democracy that will inevitably hit Europe (Tocqueville 9). Simultaneously, Engels argues that it is America that poses a threat to the tenuous supremacy of English manufacturing—a threat that could hasten the proletariat’s destruction of the English bourgeoisie because it would potentially ruin the English economy and cause a recession, making the livelihoods of the working class economically unsustainable, thereby inspiring a united uprising (Engels 300). In this way, liberalism and socialism are connected in their acknowledgement of America’s indelible impact on the European continent. For liberals this impact will lead to the establishment of similarly structured democracies built on individual freedoms, free trade, and limited interference of the state. For socialists this impact is evidence of England’s impending economic struggles and is a harbinger of the proletariat revolution that rests on the horizon.

Ultimately, socialist policies differ from those of liberals because the theorists hold contrasting views on the future of the proletariat, societal structure, and the role of government. For Humboldt, the future of human history is centered on the individual and his efforts to attain his full personality. Sharing in this liberal thought, Tocqueville sees human history as being pushed by the current wave of equality of conditions and democracy coming from its origins in the United States. He believes this influence will inevitably envelope Europe as “the nations of our day cannot prevent conditions of equality from spreading in their midst” (Tocqueville 705). Humboldt and Tocqueville envision a future rooted in the freedoms of the individual and argue that the state should remain small so as not to disrupt or encroach on these freedoms. Marx and Engels do not see the existence of the “equality of conditions” discussed by liberals. The proletariat is viewed as being currently barred into a destructive capitalist environment whose continual oppression will trigger a revolt against traditional class divisions. Once at this stage, the “proletariat can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it without at the same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, and class struggles” (Marx and Engels 472). The result is the foundation of a collective welfare state that will abolish the roots of inequality and oppression. Therefore, socialist policies differ from those of liberals because they disagree with the ability of man to develop and reach his highest potential of his own accord in the capitalist world. The foundation of liberal thought is in the individual, but for Marx and Engels the cruel environment perpetuated by capitalism has prevented the individual from reaching this stage, and so the future is in the unity of the proletariat and the overturning of capitalism.

Socialist and liberal thought diverge in their prioritization of the collective versus the individual, the welfare role of the state versus the limited role of the state, and in their view of the future of the European state and the proletariat. Humboldt and Tocqueville see the future of democracies as balancing individual freedoms with some centralized state powers. Marx and Engels argue that the future lies with the proletariat as the ruling class, overturning the oppression of capitalism with the establishment of a collective welfare state. Both the socialist and liberal texts look to America as influential in determining aspects of the political and economic future of Europe. For liberals, America is the successful result of democracy. For socialists, America and its rising economic prominence represents a possible trigger of recession resulting in the final overthrow of the English bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels conclude their manifesto with “working men of all countries unite!”. By contrast, Tocqueville and Humboldt’s concluding lines are comprised of more wary warnings of the possibility of either a successful democracy or a despotic one. The aggression of the socialists’ tone is counterbalanced by the liberals’ cautioning one. Despite the impassioned tone of the Communist Manifesto, it is the cautionary tone of the classical liberal works that holds fast on the European continent and in the minds of citizens for decades to come.



Works Cited

de Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Harper & Row, 1988.

Engels, Friedrich. The Condition of the Working Class in England. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in Robert Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader (second edition: Norton, 1978).

Von Humboldt, Wilhelm. The Limits of State Action. Cambridge University Press, 1969.

Limits of Realism in Understanding Chinese Land Reclamation

By Joy (Zhiruo) Wang

Written for Prof. Steven David’s Contemporary International Politics class

Prompt: Realism was arguably the dominant approach in international relations during the Cold War. But is it still relevant in today’s world? Select an issue that threatens world stability today (e.g. terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, cyber warfare, the rise of China) and discuss how relevant Realism is in understanding that issue. Where Realism falls short, what other approaches would help?


Throughout human history, territory has remained one of the most fought over assets by nations and individuals alike. Indeed, nearly all warfare involves some form of territorial dispute or adjustment. The Thirty Years’ War, a religious war at its core, can also be viewed as a struggle for territorial domination between Protestant and Catholic states; the Cold War, though not a war in the traditional sense, to a large extent consisted of a race for incorporating unaligned territories into established spheres of influence. Thus, given the political significance of territory, it is not surprising that, after China initiated its land reclamation projects in the South China Sea in 2014, the international community reacted with great anxiety and protest. According to the US Department of Defense, between early 2014 and mid-2015 China had reclaimed around 3,000 acres in the South China Sea.1 The large scale of China’s reclamation efforts not only exacerbated existing regional tension, as China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines lay overlapping claims to the islands in this area, but also provoked American objection on grounds of violation of international law.2 Considering the volumes of their GDPs, any conflict between China and the US has the potential to wreak havoc on global economy. In addition, if China engages in territorial wars with its neighbors, particularly the Philippines, the Mutual Defense Treaty may drag the US into war with China; the consequences of such a confrontation would be unimaginable given both countries’ conventional and nuclear capabilities. Therefore, China’s island building activities in the South China Sea pose a great threat to world stability. The following essay seeks to address the situation in a theoretical framework. I shall use realism to analyze the rationale behind China’s recent land reclamation and then offer alternative approaches where realism falls short. I shall conclude that while realism accounts for a large portion of China’s motivations, first and second level analysis, constructivism and feminism help explain the timing, magnitude and issue of alternatives of this event.


Since realism is an important analytical tool in this paper, I shall first introduce the basic tenets and assumptions of realism. Virtually all realists believe that humans live in a bleak world where might equals right—human nature is rotten and morality means little more than hypothetical naivete. According to Mearsheimer, realism has five fundamental assumptions about the international system: (1) the international system is characterized by anarchy (2) all states have some sort of offensive capabilities (3) states can never be sure of each other’s intentions (4) survival is the ultimate goal of states (5) states are rational.3 In a realist world interest is defined in terms of power, so regardless of their leaders, cultures, or internal structures, states facing the same power distribution will react the same way to the same stimulus. Because the international system is anarchic, meaning there is no such thing as a world government to arbitrate injustice, states can only rely on themselves for help, so security always remains their top priority.


Offensive realism sheds light on China’s mentality behind island construction. Offensive realism, as set forth by John Mearsheimer, argues that states will always seek to increase their power because only primacy guarantees security.4 It predicts that states will never cease to expand where expansion is possible since power is a zero-sum game. From an offensive realist perspective, China sees all other countries as potential threats as it can never be sure of their intentions and can only depend on itself. Thus, the best way for China to ensure its survival would be to become the most powerful state on the global stage, thereby both deterring and preempting attacks by hostile states. In this case, China does not pursue a limited regional goal but the ambitious aim of global hegemony. Empirical evidence attests to the validity of the offensive realist view. After the completion of land reclamation in the Spratlys in 2015, China claimed to have ended its island building activities in the South China Sea. However, recent satellite photos of the Tree Island and the North Island, both disputed territories, clearly demonstrate China’s unwillingness to curb its artificial island construction.5 Therefore, despite China’s official rhetoric of having concluded land reclamation three years ago, it still secretly seeks to enlarge its land holdings in the South China Sea and has shown no sign of ending such efforts. In addition, China’s continued expansion southward corresponds to its attempts at increasing its economic influence westward, as symbolized by the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, and at projecting its power in Latin America and Africa through loans and infrastructure building. One can argue that China’s continued push into the South China Sea is simply part of its grand scheme of global domination, which also fits the developmental trajectory prescribed by offensive realism. Thus, offensive realism offers insights into China’s continuous land reclamation by examining its fundamental insecurity in an anarchic world.


Defensive realism shares many of the same beliefs as offensive realism, but believes that excessive power will bring about the fall of the expanding state; the rationale, according to Kenneth Waltz, is that if a state becomes too powerful, other states would feel threatened and would band together to either destroy the aggressor state or restore it to its original power capacity.6 In this case, states do not expand unprovoked, but rather as a response to changing distribution of power since acquiring too much power and thereby upsetting the balance of power would only threaten their security more. Therefore, based on defensive realism, China’s push into the South China Sea was not self-initiated but simply a reaction to escalating security challenges in the region; it will cease expanding once it feels that it has gained enough power to counterbalance the new security threats. Broader historical context of the South China Sea disputes proves defensive realism to be on the side of truth. Contrary to popular assumption, China is in fact the latecomer to the land reclamation game. The Philippines had reclaimed on the Palawan Island and Vietnam has added to Sand Cay and West London Reef 21,000 and 65,000 square meters respectively since 2010.7 Increased territories in the South China Sea means increased military outposts and increased ability to claim more islands in disputed areas, which threatens China’s sovereignty. Therefore, given Vietnam’s island building in the disputed Spratly Islands, China perceived a rise in the relative power of its competitors and had to increase its own power in the region. Defensive realism predicts that China will eventually stop its expansion even though China has yet to slow down land reclamation. This is because as China builds up more capabilities in the region through the construction of airstrips and marine bases on the new artificial islands, so too do its hostile neighbors. Thus, China still feels insecure and will continue to expand until it restores the perceived balance of power to the previous status quo.


Omnibalancing, as developed by Steven David, agrees with realism on the prominence of interest and power, but argues that in a developing country the balance of power occurs not on the international level but on the state level. In the developing world, sometimes the biggest threats to the government are not from other states but rather from domestic dissent and unrest (e.g. military coup d’etat or riots). Therefore, to stay in power, countries leaders may choose foreign policies that are not in the best interest of the state but diffuse domestic tension.8 In the case of China, omnibalancing would contend that China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea is merely a diversion from domestic discontent with the government. China is an authoritarian regime without free election, so the only source of government legitimacy comes from its ability to keep the people satisfied. In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2015, government corruption tops the list, with 84% respondents considering it a big problem and 44% a very big problem; more than 50% of people believe that air/water pollution, food safety, and income inequality will stay the same or get worse over the next 5 years.9 In 2010 alone, China witnessed 180,000 protests, demonstrations, and riots.10 These data reveal a low level of confidence for the government, so diverting domestic discontent with battling foreign encroachment on sovereignty — that is, the territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines — through island building would allow the Communist leadership to recover its image among the public. A survey in 2013 further confirms the validity of the omnibalancing argument: around 60% of people pay attention to China’s maritime disputes and the majority think that China’s claims are absolutely correct.11


However, despite its immense explanatory power, realism cannot account for the full story of China’s land reclamation. First, it does not explain the timing of the reclamation. Territorial disputes and “island squatting” have existed since the 1970s while Vietnam started land reclamation in 2010, so why did China suddenly decide to build artificial islands in 2014 as opposed to, say, 2011? Second, realism does not fully explain the magnitude of China’s reclamation efforts. Granted, China felt the need to catch up with its competitors, namely Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, in the game of artificial island construction, but the scale of China’s project dwarfed that of all the others combined: 100 acres over 45 years compared to 3,000 acres over 2 years.12 Defensive realism justifies China’s rationale for initiating and continuing land reclamation, but it does not tell us why China perceives such a big threat from its adversaries’ expansion of a mere 100 acres. Third, island building was not the only viable response for China; negotiations, binding treaties, UN arbitration, or international law were all possible alternatives. Admittedly, omnibalancing necessitates the creation of a common enemy, but asserting national sovereignty does not entail escalating tension; victory over the Paracel Islands in an international court would rally as much national sentiment as would through military buildup. Therefore, in the face of land reclamation by hostile states, why did China decide to resort to the traditional tools of power politics instead of the modern norm of peaceful resolution of conflicts? In the following sections, I shall explain how first and second level analysis, constructivism and feminism answer the questions that realism evades.


First level analysis focuses on the natures of individual leaders as the cause for historical events. In this case, it explains the timing of China’s island building activities. In 2013, China witnessed the ascension of Xi Jinping, arguably the most authoritarian and reactionary leader after Mao, to the presidency. Both a “princeling” and a “second-generation red” by birth, Xi Jinping had a very unusual upbringing that greatly shaped his view of China. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was among the first generation of Communist revolutionaries that fought alongside Mao and later became the vice premier of the PRC and secretary general of the State Council. As a result, Xi grew up in the exclusive “Zhongnanhai” with the children of other first-generation Communist leaders and with countless tales of the revolution.13 However, in 1962, Xi Zhongxun was purged on grounds of “acting counterrevolutionary.” At the height of the Cultural Revolution, the charge “counterrevolutionary” was such a taboo that the young Xi Jinping was automatically ostracized by virtue of his lineage. Thus, given his childhood immersion in Maoist ideals and teenage experience with brutal politics, it is not surprising that Xi Jinping later became the most authoritarian president after Mao. Foreign policy under Xi has been markedly more assertive than under previous leaders, especially in regards to Sino-Japanese relations and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.14 Therefore, Xi’s “election” to the presidency in 2013 explains why China suddenly turned to land reclamation, a gesture of increased assertiveness in the region, in early 2014.


Second level analysis posits states at the center of causation, citing states’ internal culture and structure as the reason behind particular outcomes. It addresses the issue of magnitude in both China’s island building activities and its perception of threat. It is true that the construction of artificial islands would strengthen China’s ability to project its military power at sea, thereby thwarting its adversaries’ attempts to occupy more disputed territories, but reclaiming over 3,000 acres of land seems to be somewhat of an overreaction given the comparatively insignificant size of the other countries’ reclamation projects. So, the question is, why did China perceive such a disproportionate threat from the small increase in territory by Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines? China, or in its native language the “Middle Kingdom,” had always been the absolute dominant power in East Asia until the 19th century. For many Chinese people, the memory of humiliation at the hands of foreigners is still fresh and evokes a strong sense of patriotism. A traditionally nationalist society, the Chinese people to this day still mourn the massive land concessions granted to foreign powers under the Qing Dynasty; a survey from 2013 showed that 83% of people in China see the South China Sea disputes as a continuation of the “Century of Humiliation.”15 As one can see, the Chinese people attach a special emotional significance to the concept of sovereignty, making them inflate the value of territory in an age where territory has been rendered less important by the advancement of technology. Thus, even though land reclamation itself may not carry so much strategic value as to be worth risking international condemnation and spending billions of dollars, the historical and cultural importance of upholding sovereignty makes the Chinese government willing to go the extra mile when it comes to territorial integrity.


According to Alexander Wendt, constructivism is an approach to world politics from a social perspective and has two fundamental claims: (1) the structures of international politics are social rather than purely material (2) these structures influence not only states’ behaviors but their identities and interests as well.16 Stripped to its essence, constructivism argues that states with different values and ideologies will perceive, or “socially construct,” the same reality differently and will therefore act differently. This explains why China resorted to land reclamation instead of other more peaceful alternatives when confronted with hostile expansion. China is an authoritarian regime that does not endorse liberal values such as tolerance, rule of law and peaceful resolution of conflicts in its domestic policies; rather, Chinese politics is characterized by purge of dissidents, forceful repression of demonstrations, corruption, abuse of power and ostracization based on lineage or association. The elements of violence, intolerance, distrust, and ruthlessness inherent in Chinese domestic politics shape the lens through which Chinese politicians see the international system, portrayed as a grim world where only old-school Realpolitik provides means of survival. Therefore, the pessimist values fostered by China’s domestic political system translate into its disbelief in modern liberal norms that advocate for international cooperation and resolution of conflicts through negotiation and compromise; the fact that China rejected completely the Hague Tribunal’s ruling on South China Sea disputes testifies the dominance of power politics over liberal international norms in Chinese foreign policy. Thus, given China’s realist ideology, expanding China’s military capability in the region would be the best response to its neighbors’ rise in relative power and land reclamation was deemed a viable option.


International relations is arguably a man’s world, dominated by masculine modes of thinking. This is certainly true given that in the US women had been barred from entry until very recently and sex discrimination still abounds.17 Feminist theory believes that women tend to define power in terms of the ability to cooperate (as opposed to the masculine definition of control over others) and discern more opportunities for toleration and coalition-building in spite of differences; this is because females often rely on persuasion and shared understanding in solving domestic disputes and are therefore socialized into a more contextual, narrative-based mode of analysis.18 As a result, feminists argue that global politics would look much different if women were national leaders. This feminist interpretation explains the magnitude and aggressiveness of China’s land reclamation. Despite its communist egalitarian ideals, China is in fact a deeply sexist society. Structurally, the mandatory retirement age for female government workers, including those employed in state-owned enterprises and public universities, is 50 or 55 while the male equivalent is 60.19 This differential treatment not only impedes women’s ability to achieve high leadership positions as most government officials only reach the highest ranks in their 60s, but also perpetuates the gender stereotype that women are less physically vigorous than men. As of now, there are no women in the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest decision-making unit in China, and only one woman in the 25-member Politburo, the next rung after the Politburo Standing Committee.20 Therefore, the lack of female contribution to policies can be construed as the reason why China chose to pursue a more militaristic response (island building) instead of seeking cooperation and a larger scale of operation since males tend to perceive more threats than females and to think in terms of sheer strength as opposed to persuasion.


Overall, realism explains a significant part of China’s rationale for land reclamation as relative power and military capability did factor heavily into its calculation. However, first and second level analysis, constructivism and feminism elucidate components that realism fails to incorporate: (1) land reclamation itself as a viable strategy (2) its timing in 2014 and (3) its tremendous scale. This is because realism fails to acknowledge the influence that a state’s culture, structure and history exert on shaping interests and identities and the lenses through which it receives and interprets external realities. Therefore, to fully understand the issue of land reclamation in the South China Sea, a simple look at the balance of power would not suffice; meticulous attention must be paid to the particular circumstances of the countries involved. Peaceful resolution of this conflict depends on an impartial synthesis of different approaches and one day we may hope to see a South China Sea characterized by tranquility and cooperation.




1. Terri Moon Cronk, “Pacom Chief: China,” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, July 24, 2015, , accessed December 08, 2017.

2. ​Katie Hunt, “Showdown in the South China Sea: How did we get here?” CNN, August 02, 2016, , accessed December 08, 2017.

3. ​John J. Mearsheimer, ​The tragedy of Great Power politics(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001), 30-32.

4. John J. Mearsheimer, ​The tragedy of Great Power politics(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001), 21.

5. ​”Land reclamation photos show areas contested by China, Vietnam – Palace,” Cnn, , accessed December 08, 2017.

6. John J. Mearsheimer, ​The tragedy of Great Power politics(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001), 18-20.

7. Carl Thayer, “No, China Is Not Reclaiming Land in the South China Sea,” The Diplomat, June 09, 2015, accessed December 08, 2017.

8. ​Daniel W. Drezner, “Perspective | Trump, Russia and omnibalancing,” The Washington Post, June 15, 2017, accessed December 08, 2017.

9. ​Richard Wike and Bridget Parker, “Corruption, Pollution, Inequality Are Top Concerns in China,” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, September 24, 2015, accessed December 08, 2017.

10. ​Max Fisher, “How China Stays Stable Despite 500 Protests Every Day,” The Atlantic, January 05, 2012.

11. Andrew Chubb, “Nationalism and Chinese public opinion,” China Policy Institute: Analysis, February 03, 2015, accessed December 08, 2017.

12. Katie Hunt, “Showdown in the South China Sea: How did we get here?” CNN, August 02, 2016, accessed December 08, 2017.

13. Elizabeth Yuan, “Xi Jinping: ‘Princeling’ to China’s president,” CNN, March 14, 2013, accessed December 08, 2017.

14. ​Rush Doshi, “Analysis | Xi Jinping just made it clear where China’s foreign policy is headed,” The Washington Post, October 25, 2017, accessed December 08, 2017.

15. ​Eric Fish, “Why Does China Care So Much About Uninhabited Islands?” The Atlantic, July 11, 2016, accessed December 08, 2017.

16. ​Alexander Wendt, “Constructing International Politics,” ​International Security20, no. 1 (1995): 71-72.

17. Ann Tickner, “Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism: A Feminist Reformulation (1988),” International Theory, 1995, 429.

18. Ann Tickner, “Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism: A Feminist Reformulation (1988),” International Theory,1995, 432-34.

19. ​Yazhou Sun, “Why China has so few female leaders,” CNN, October 25, 2017, accessed December 08, 2017.

20. ​Cheng Li, “China’s new Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee,” Brookings, November 28, 2017, accessed December 08, 2017.

A right to DREAM: The historical role of youth in the immigrant rights movement

Written by Heidi R. Woll

The movement to defend the rights of immigrants, particularly those of Latinx[1] undocumented immigrants, was spearheaded by youth in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of these youth, having arrived in the United States as children, found themselves in a precarious position when entering adulthood, when many of them discovered – either for the first time or not – that they would encounter significant difficulties when seeking employment or going to college, as well as when embarking on simpler tasks such as obtaining driver’s licenses or boarding flights.

Many of these same youth would also experience the childhood trauma of family separation, on account of the deportation of their parents and/or other family members. All of these distinctive issues ultimately led, and continue to lead, to many youth to be particularly conscious of their own “illegality” – especially when paired with the tangible hostility of many Americans, who view their existence on American soil, void of legal citizenship as “a threat to national sovereignty and the rule of law.”[2]

This essay therefore examines how a state of being formed a movement: How, by adopting the name of ‘Dreamers’ and exposing themselves to the country as a unified group, a vast number of undocumented Latinx youth reshaped their sociopolitical identities in the public sphere; from invaders to contributors, from ‘illegal’ to quintessentially American. This story is integral to the political movement to defend the rights of immigrants that underwent significant growth towards the end of the 20th century and is in full effect today. It also raises inherently difficult questions, particularly regarding the need to strike a political balance that accounts both for the economic viability of adopting a more open-border immigration system, and for the moral drive to hold true to the principles expounded by the founders of a country largely built by and for immigrants.

The role of these Latinx youth in the immigrant rights debate is, however, in a certain way, atypical. Walter Nicholls, author of The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate, points out that the immigrant rights movement is exceptional to recent scholarship on immigration politics in the United States and Europe, which largely suggests that usually, “hostile environments would encourage undocumented immigrants to turn away from the public sphere of receiving countries.”[3] Following this behavioural trend, we would expect to find that DREAMers – the name often used to describe the undocumented youth referred to in this essay, along with non-Latinx undocumented youth – would become less politically active following Congress’s multiple failures to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. This act would have facilitated the granting of conditional and, meeting certain requirements, permanent residency for undocumented persons brought to the United States as minors; therefore, its failure to pass dealt a major blow to the undocumented youth whose lives it would have improved. Contrary to the hypothesis outlined by Nicholls, however, the DREAMer movement – largely led by the children of Latinx immigrants and supported by non-governmental organizations – appears to have provided a safe environment for youth to ‘come out’ as undocumented in spite of the increased risk of doing so since the declaration of the war on terror.

Illegal immigration through the southern border of the United States accelerated in the mid-1970s and even more in the first half of the 1980s, with “apprehension at the Mexican border ([at the time] 98 percent Mexican nationals), arrests of deportable aliens, deportations, and visa overstays all showing an upward trend.”[4] The number of annually apprehended illegal immigrants first surpassed one million in 1977, and by 1986 it had reached 1,670,000.[5] Still, the actual amount of illegal immigrants during this period, as with any other, is however very difficult to precisely quantify, since the clandestine nature of the illegal alien population makes it extremely difficult to count.[6]

The Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) apprehension and deportation figures and studies of visa abuse “indicated that the Central American countries, particularly El Salvador, [had] become the major source of illegal immigrants after Mexico” by the late 1980s. Moreover, The State Department in 1985 “estimated illegal immigration from El Salvador and Guatemala in 1977 at 25,000 and 15,000 a year respectively; with 350,000 Salvadorans already in the United States illegally by 1980 when civil strife in that country began spurring the outflow.”[7]

In the introduction to Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for their American Dream (2015), Eileen Truax holds that “There are about eleven million undocumented people living in the United States. You can’t tell who they are just by looking at them, but we know they are here […] While it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly who’s undocumented and who’s not by sight, we know one thing with certainty: our daily lives wouldn’t be the same without them.”[8] The book goes on to explore the positive impacts of undocumented immigrants on everything from the American economy to their more personal effect on the lives of everyday Americans – showing that any given American is likely to have a DREAMer as a friend, neighbor, lover, even a fellow student or co-worker.

Philip Kasinitz (2008) went on to argue that “the answer to the question of what large-scale migration will mean for American society […] lies less with the immigrants themselves than with their ambivalently American children. […] This new “second generation” – the children of at least one immigrant parent born in the United States or who arrived by the age of 12 – accounted for one out of six 18- to 32-year-olds in the nation and one out of four of all Americans under 18. In many ways, they will define how today’s immigrant groups become tomorrow’s American ethnic groups.”[9] He explains that

Before 1965, immigrants to the United States were overwhelmingly European. Since then, most have come from other parts of the globe. Given how the United States has historically constructed racial categories, they are not generally regarded as “white.” Yet they are not African Americans either. Since the cleavage between the “white” descendants of immigrants and the “black” descendants of American slaves has so strongly marked big cities, the emergence of a large and rapidly growing group that does not fit easily into either of these categories has enormous potential consequences.”[10]

One of these consequences was the Sanctuary Movement, which began in late 1981 when a small number of churches started sheltering Central American illegal immigrants. The motives of the movement’s proponents were usually of a humanitarian nature. Congregations would give sanctuary to Guatemalans or Salvadorans at risk of being detained and deported by the INS; additionally, movement members would bring Salvadorans and Guatemalans into the US, traveling to Central America to accompany displaced communities, organizing caravans to move Salvadorans and Guatemalans to other parts of the US, and enabling undocumented refugees to testify publicly about their experiences. They lobbied Congress, raised bail bond money for detained Central Americans, and helped detainees file for political asylum.[11] While the sanctuary movement at this time was led both by church congregations and nonprofit legal organizations, it would echo later in the discussion of the current sanctuary movement for Central American migrants.

A New York Times Retro Report video entitled “Safe Haven: The Sanctuary Movement” describes the history of Rev. John Fyfe, who explained how, upon attempting to help undocumented migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador file for asylum, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attempted to deport them on the grounds that they were economic migrants, rather than fleeing persecution. Seeing clear torture marks on their bodies, Fyfe hid them in the basement of his church. Though Fyfe and the many pastors that were involved in this initial movement were not youths, they displayed an interesting pattern of behavior, including a defiance towards authority that appears youthful in nature. “Afraid he might be arrested,” the report goes on to say, “Fyfe did something unexpected. He went public.” Fyfe goes on to explain, “if we went public with what we were doing, then maybe we would have a base of support.”[12]

The Central American youth that attended churches like Fyfe’s saw a supportive environment there, of a kind they had found nowhere else in the United States. Mario Rivas, for instance, was a young man that had been active in student politics back home in El Salvador. Growing up, he had worked with the local priest, who had organized “a kind of Christian base community for children” that played an integral part of the community in Ilopongo, Mario’s hometown, visiting the sick and elderly on Sundays to help with chores.

In contrast, Mario found that mass in the United States was “a cold place” and that the churches he attended lacked the social action commitment he associated with Christianity. He stopped attending until he found La Placita, a church founded by Fathers Olivares and Kennedy, the latter of which had met John Fyfe during his first assignment as a priest in a small parish in San Diego. Fyfe had asked him if that parish could be part of the Sanctuary network, and he accepted, though the refugee work needed to be kept covert since his superior worried about publicity. Years later, Father Kennedy, together with Father Olivares, formed the Centro Pastoral, which provided Central American refugees attending La Placita with somewhere to stay, medical care, legal services and other previously unmet needs.

For Mario, “the public declaration of sanctuary at La Placita in 1985” was a “historic moment,” since “it was a place where [they] could tell [their] own stories – a place from which [they] could challenge U.S. foreign policy toward Central America.”[13] La Placita also worked closely with the Sanctuary Committee of Southern California Inter-faith Task Force on Central America (SCITCA) to “coordinate speaking engagements by refugees in churches and other locations.”[14] Mario actively partook in the creation of the National Alliance of Sanctuary Committees, which promoted dialogue across the many Sanctuary communities across the U.S., emphasizing the link between the plight of refugees and U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Even more relevant to the role of youth in the Sanctuary movement was the decisive role that university student governments took in creating sanctuary campuses. By the end of 1985, the Sanctuary movement had spread to 10 colleges in California, with the Universities of California Berkeley, Irvine, and Los Angeles, California State University Northridge, and Pitzer and Pomona Colleges in Claremont pledging their support for the movement.

Pitzer and Pomona, as Chinchilla, Hamilton and Loucky note, were interesting cases. Several congregations in the Claremont area had already declared sanctuary beginning in 1982, with fifty Guatemalans and Salvadorans settled by May 1985. But unlike the other colleges, the Pitzer and Pomona student representatives themselves did not decide for the student body; instead, they cast a vote so that the student body could choose whether or not to make the colleges sanctuaries. The result was that more than 80% of the students at each college voted in favour.[15] The students invoked the Geneva Convention, as did the students at several other colleges, to defend their choice – as one Pomona student stated: “What we are doing is neither illegal nor an act of civil disobedience. We are upholding international law. We call upon our government to do the same.”[16] Following much debate, and spurred by the impetus of churchgoers and students all over the area, many cities started to issue resolutions supporting sanctuary: Berkeley issued such a resolution in February 1985, and the City Council of Los Angeles declared LA a sanctuary city on November 27th, 1985.[17]

The Sanctuary Movement was an essential precursor to the broader immigrant rights movement that developed in the 1990s and continues to develop into the 21st century. It helped to educate church congregations, college students and the general public about the plight of refugees, which may have also made them more ready to understand the issues of, for instance, Mexican and Central American migrants coming to the US out of economic necessity rather than immediate danger. This, accompanied with the progression of prior decades away from the heightened nationalism of the World Wars to a more global effort towards international cooperation, based on the prevalent shared socialist ideals of youth during and after the Vietnam War. The impression of a more globalized world, wherein the flow of people from one country to another is less a transgression and more a natural result of both economic and humanitarian necessity is emblematic of this new outlook.

Whereas the Sanctuary movement enabled the safeguarding of the undocumented immigrants and their children, spreading awareness about the injustice of their – and their countries’ – conditions, the immigrant rights movement took it one step further. While the first movement dealt mostly with the immigrants and their children, newcomers first coming to the United States, the 2000s, in particular, began to witness the unique circumstances of youth that had been brought to the United States at a very young age by their parents. As such, they were “undocumented involuntarily” – with no Social Security number, proof of residency or any document to legalize their presence in the country they had grown up in[18]. This situation carries on today for thousands of youth, referred to as the Dreamers – a reference, as previously mentioned, to the DREAM Act, a bill introduced in 2001 to the US Senate that, had it not failed, “would have granted undocumented youth conditional residency status and, after meeting a series of criteria—including graduating from college or serving in the military—[…] would [have made them] eligible for permanent residency.”[19]

A second group that the media has paid more and more attention to in recent years has been the unaccompanied minors arriving into the United States across the border with Mexico. Also undocumented, the treacherous journey north has become a risk that an increasing number of these minors are willing to take for the promise of a life free of violence, particularly at the hands of gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18. But these youth and children are faced with an even higher threat of deportation than other illegal immigrants: As immigration attorney Nick Marritz explained to The Atlantic: “The government is trying to deport them as fast as it can. They’re putting them at the front of the line.”[20] The only legal support for unaccompanied minors is the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status law, or SIJS, which was enacted into law following a 1990 amendment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

However, in 1997, a U.S. Senator from New Mexico claimed that the law was a “giant loophole,” telling Congress that “every visiting student from overseas can have a petition filed in a state court … declaring that they’re award and in need of foster care.”[21] An amendment was then passed that restricted the use of SIJS only to children that could prove that they were dependent upon the state because of “abuse, abandonment, or neglect.” This, Marritz argued, was not a problem, because most of the cases he dealt with did accurately fit that description. Still, this issue – including the broader debate over the failed passing of the DREAM Act – remains one of the immigrant rights movement’s biggest topics since it puts children with supportive parents or guardians at risk for deportation, although returning to their home country is not in their best interest.

The protests against unjust immigration legislation continued well into the 2000s. The year 2006, in particular, witnessed a number of massive demonstrations, specifically against the Sensenbrenner bill – a piece of legislation that would have criminalized assistance to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. that sought housing, food or medical services. On March 10, 2006, a crowd of over 100,000 protesters, filled Chicago’s downtown Loop with chants of “¡Sí se puede!” (translatable to ‘Yes we can!’ or ‘It can be done!’). Following this, demonstrations “cropped up in more than 140 cities in 39 states,” many of which naturally took place in Southern California. These manifestations also culminated in the May 1st “Day Without Immigrants,” when more than 500,000 rallied in Los Angeles to demand a pathway to citizenship, particularly for the immigrant youth that were in the foundation and the forefront of the movement.[22]

While it may not have prompted immediate legislative action, the 2006 protests triggered a change in the political climate regarding undocumented immigrants, especially among college students and youth who grew up with friends that were directly affected by the issues. Furthermore, many young people who “tasted political power for the first time in 2006” were then inspired “to promote the DREAM Act.” By 2010, regaining the attention of the country, they “mirrored LGBT advocates by broadcasting “coming out” stories about their status.” They also “organized marches, building occupations, and traffic blockades to keep their cause in the public eye.”[23]

All these images, arguments and the protests of undocumented immigrants in the United States point to an underlying notion that is highly convincing to youth in a globalized age: that the American Dream must apply to all. That the laws concerning undocumented immigrants, who often should qualify for asylum in the first place, are either outdated or morally unjust. That Central American and Mexican immigrants, undocumented and documented alike, have already demonstrated astounding contributions to American economy and society because their conditions meant that they needed to work harder to provide for their families.

For undocumented youth, the most important issues involve the constant threat of deportation, especially under the more severe Trump administration, and the barriers they face in obtaining higher education and employment. This past September’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has put further strain on the prospects of Dreamers to be eligible for work permits and to receive deferred action from deportation. This action, in the midst of Donald Trump’s descent into very low public support (with a 38% approval rate in September) prompted further rebuttal from Dreamers and their supporters alike, with Facebook profile pictures changing to include a filter demonstrating support for DACA, and protesters gathering in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and in front of Trump Tower in New York.[24] Many colleges continue to offer sanctuary to undocumented students in the age of Trump, yet protesters remain aware that the most vulnerable undocumented youth are those that cannot afford a lawyer to represent them – much less a college degree.

Still, those who document the immigrant rights movement today highlight that the discussion mostly poses the questions of what to do about the undocumented youth – from SIJS to the DREAM Act to DACA – and whether or not the United States has a humanitarian responsibility towards them, particularly due to past US foreign policy in Central America. Furthermore, as undocumented immigrants comprise not just newcomers, but also youth that have been in the country since their early childhood, the immigrant rights movement may be benefiting from the solidarity of not only the institutions that support undocumented migrants but their American peers as well.

While the opposition is undoubtedly vociferous, the undocumented youth that are ‘coming out’ appear to feel secure enough to do so, drawing this sense of security from the peer groups that support them and within the broader movement. They may also feel that coming out constitutes a sense of sacrifice for the movement since through this action, more people will find out how many of their most hard-working employees, closest friends, and nicest neighbors are – in fact – undocumented. This act of bravery on the part of these youth, and the support of their peers will hopefully continue to advance the movement towards better immigration legislation in the United States.



  •         Coutin, Susan Bibler. The Culture of Protest: Religious Activism and the U.S. Sanctuary Movement. Boulder: Westview Press, 1993.
  •         Kasinitz, Philip. Inheriting the City: the Children of Immigrants Come of Age. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008.
  •         Nicholls, Walter. Dreamers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013.
  •         Pallares, Amalia. Family Activism: Immigrant Struggles and the Politics of Noncitizenship. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2014.
  •         Simcox, David. U.S. Immigration in the 1980s: Reappraisal and Reform. Boulder & London: Westview Press, 1988.
  •         Truax, Eileen. Dreamers: an Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream.Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2015.


[1] The use of the term ‘Latinx’ is flush with controversy, sparking discussion about ethnic and gender identity as well as privilege. I utilize it in this essay for the purpose of including more gender identities than the words ‘Latino’ and ‘Latina’ allow – namely, those individuals that identify as being transgender or otherwise outside the gender binary, but who still identify as ethnically Latinx. For more information, read Reyes (2017), in bibliography.

[2] Nicholls, 10

[3] Nicholls, 7-8

[4] Simcox, 23; for original source see “Surge of Illegal Aliens Taxes Southwest Towns’ Resources,” New York Times, March 9. 1986.

[5] Ibid, 24

[6] Ibid, 25

[7] Ibid, 24-25

[8] Truax, 1

[9] Kasinitz, 1

[10] Kasinitz, 3

[11] Coutin, 3

[12] Haberman, 5:05

[13] Chinchilla et al, 113

[14] Ibid, 114

[15] Ibid, 116

[16] Ibid, 117. Originally quoted by Valle (1985).

[17] Ibid, 117.

[18] Truax, 4

[19] Martinez (2015)

[20] Phippen (2015)

[21] Ibid

[22] Ibid

[23] Ibid

[24] Meghan Keneally (2017)


Brain Drain in Colombia

Written by Juan C. Gomez on December 13, 2017


Migration is an extraordinarily complex issue that has gained immense international attention by world leaders in recent years, specifically how migration impacts countries that receive immigrants en masse, such as the United States. Migration’s impact, however, is not only felt by countries that receive migrants but also from migrant’s home country. Migration can have varying effects (positive and negative) on the sending country and can impact how the state develops economically, socially, and politically. The intersection between migration and development is a complicated nexus of factors, including the impacts of migration patterns on development. One interesting migration phenomenon that greatly impacts development is known as brain drain. Brain drain is an exodus of high-skilled immigrants (college education or higher) from developing to developed countries. Brain drain creates an economic loss in developing countries in two ways: investment loss of educating future migrants and weakening of high-skilled economic sectors. In the long-term these economic consequences weaken prospects for developing countries to create prolonged economic growth and advancement. [1]

This paper will analyze a case study of the brain drain phenomenon in Colombia and see how the emigration of highly skilled migrants to the United States has impacted the economic development of the country. I will be primarily concerned with the emigration of high-skilled workers in STEM fields and the economic consequences their loss has on growth, inequality, and poverty. Further, I will also address governmental responses to brain drain and how the Colombian government has attempted to incentivize these high-skilled workers to share knowledge, practices, and research with their domestic counterparts.

Through an analysis of brain drain, this paper will answer the following two-part question: How has the brain drain phenomenon impacted Colombia’s economic development and how has the Colombian government responded to such phenomenon? I will answer the first part of the question through an analysis of emigration of highly educated workers from the 1980s until today. Due to limited research, I will primarily focus on the emigration of workers in STEM fields as there is more extensive research on these migrants. Further, the government has established programs and policies specifically targeting these groups. Economic development will be measured by how it impacts STEM economic sectors in Colombia.

The second part of the question will address how the government has responded to this emigration and what policies they have implemented to reverse the detrimental consequences of brain drain. The bulk of this analysis will be done using the Caldas network (Colombian Network of Scientists and Engineers Abroad) which was established by the Colombian government in 1991 to create a network where migrants in developed countries could interact with scientists and engineers back in Colombia. This network sought to establish joint projects, conferences, and events between the diaspora groups and intellectuals back in Colombia.[2] The program was an attempt to mitigate the effects of brain drain and instead utilize these migrants to help support STEM sectors of the economy.

Background information

To properly analyze how the emigration of high skilled workers has impacted Colombia’s development I will give historical, social, and economic context of Colombia and its migratory patterns to the United States. During the latter half of the 20th century, Colombia faced increasing political and economic turmoil.[3] The economic and political crisis throughout the 1980s and 1990s produced a stagnant economy and high chronic unemployment. Following the turn of the century, however, economic prospects for Colombia have grown significantly. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has grown from $95 billion in 2003 to $270 billion in 2012 and there is rapid economic growth in cities that were historically plagued by high levels of poverty and violence.[4] Further, a fifty-year armed conflict between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a guerilla-Marxist group in southern Colombia, and the National Government has ceased and both parties are negotiating a peace agreement.[5]

The economic and political conditions throughout the latter half of the 20th century led to a tremendous growth in the migration of Colombians to the United States. Since 2013, there are an estimated 1.1 million people of Colombian origin living in the United States, a 131% increase from 1990.[6] Education is a crucial and appropriate demographic characteristic to consider in analyzing the brain drain effect. Thirty four percent of Colombian migrants had a bachelor’s degree, comparable to the average US population of 30%. [7]  Between 1970 and 1980 there was a 66% increase of migrants from Colombia who were professionals or technicians, while between 1980 and 1990 there was a 77% increase in this migration.[8] Continuing higher education is also an important motivation for migration of Colombians; the plurality of these migrants went to the United States and are enrolled in doctoral or postdoctoral studies. Nearly three quarters of these migrants completed their undergraduate studies and pursued higher levels of education abroad.[9]

Migrants with education and experience in the STEM field are also a significant portion of highly-educated Colombian emigrants. An estimated 4% of Colombia’s scientists and engineers had migrated to the United States as of 1997.[10] Furthermore, Colombia also has the largest number of physicians working in the United States in the entirety of South America.[11] Nearly 6% of the national population of physicians had migrated to the United States.[12] Not only is Colombia sending a large quantity of its STEM workers to the United States, but they are also qualitatively amongst the best workers in their fields. According to a study, 17.4% of migrant physicians had outstanding scores equivalent to the United States, while the general control only had 3 to 5 % meeting this criterion.[13] The emigration of the most educated people in Colombia poses a problem, as the people who qualitatively are the most prepared and prosperous are leaving at a higher rate than their less successful counterparts. Colombian migrants view the United States and other developed nations as a place with opportunities to expand their educational opportunities and achieve higher levels of income.

The Colombian government has been aware of the exodus of highly educated workers and sought measures to reduce the negative effects that result from it. As a result, Colciencas, a “governmental agency in charge of national research management and funding” established the Caldas Network in 1991.[14] Previous government efforts were focused on incentivizing the return of these highly-skilled migrants, but these policies largely failed because the Colombian government could not create an adequate incentive for migrants to return to worse economic and social conditions.[15] The goal of this agency was to create a brain circulation between the diaspora groups in STEM fields and those in Colombia. Brain circulation is information flow between diaspora and home groups to help alleviate the effects of brain drain and instead turn these high-skilled migrants into a positive asset for national development. Instead of pushing for these migrants to return home, they encouraged them to share projects, ideas, and information with scientists and engineers at home. The utilization of migrants as positive agents of change for underdeveloped STEM sectors was also paralleled by an aggressive expansion of research and development in Colombia. During the 1990s there was a 400% increase in research and activities funding as well as the creation of the National System of Science and Technology which sought to increase research and development in STEM. [16] It is evident that the integration of migrants into a STEM network was not the only policy the government sought. Instead, they used migrants as a part of a larger holistic plan to expand science and technology research to expand domestic STEM sectors.

The expansion of technology also helped facilitate the feasibility and effectiveness of the Caldas network. R-Caldas was created in 1993 to discuss academic information between Colombian scientists and engineers.[17] This network exchanges substantial academic papers that discuss a wide variety of topics: there are an estimated 71 specialized groups within R-Caldas.[18] Further, since its inception there have been constant number of members but an exponential increase in the number of messages amongst them.[19] The expansion of technology and the internet specifically has allowed these networks to be more successful and create sustained academic discussions between diaspora intellectual groups and their Colombian counterparts.

The success of this program is uncertain due to research limitations, but there is some concrete evidence about the possible benefits of the Caldas program. It has successfully created ties and ease of communication between intellectuals abroad and at home, establishing permanent relations that have led to join venture projects. Further, these research projects have created closer ties with global universities and local Colombian ones.[20] Although the Caldas network has created a flexible network that spurs intellectual sharing directly with diaspora groups, it still has flaws that limit its full potential. The main flaw of the program is the heterogeneity of the diaspora group.[21] The expansion of key scientific sectors using this network is limited by the heterogeneity of the migrants’ academic specialty, spanning over nearly 300 thematic issues.[22] Due to the vastness of the intellectual specialization, growth of certain STEM industries is difficult because there are not enough intellectuals working in a single field of study. These migrants are spread throughout different STEM sectors and physical locations, limiting the feasibility and effectiveness of an all-encompassing approach to bring these migrants into national discussion.

Theoretical Application


There is a plethora of theories attempting to explain what initially causes migrants to move. The neoclassical theory is best at explaining why Colombian high-skilled migrants decided to move to the United States. According to the neoclassical theory, migrants make the individual decision to migrate to maximize their income.[23] This applies most specifically in regard to high-skilled migrants, who go to countries where the rate of return for their human capital is the highest.[24] High-skilled Colombian migrants can expect a higher level of income in the United States, and that is what pushes them to migrate. Although this theory can be applied to explain why high-skilled migrants emigrate, there exist broader concerns outside of purely economic ones that the neoclassical theory cannot adequately encompass. Many of these migrants choose to leave the country for educational reasons, to expand their research in countries that have greater opportunities for than Colombia.[25] Economics does play a factor in this decision, as developed countries can provide higher earnings for the research done, but it is not the sole motivating factor. A sense of improvement in the academic arena and prestige also play an important role in pulling these migrants to highly developed countries, particularly the United States.


Assimilation is the integration of an immigrant into the socioeconomic culture of the country they migrated to. Assimilation, however, is not a uniform occurrence and strongly depends on the economic and social conditions of the immigrant.[26] Assimilation can occur at three levels: upward mobility to the middle class, downward mobility towards impoverishment, and personal economic growth while retaining traditional cultural ties.[27] Based on demographic characteristics, high-skilled Colombian immigrants typically assimilate upwardly into the white middle class. High levels of education ease assimilation because of the selective nature of their migration pattern. Migrants who possess a high level of education and migrate will have an easier time adjusting to the host country and most likely will live in middle-class neighborhoods. Evidence of this assimilation is limited by research constraints but data has shown that demographic indicators such as average education, age, employment, and marriage are comparable with average national levels in the United States. These demographic indicators are often higher in Colombian migrants than the general Hispanic immigrant community.[28] Furthermore, assimilation for second generation Colombians is much easier, especially because nearly 57% of them have a parent from an origin outside Colombia, particularly the United States. [29] Many first generation Colombians marry outside their nationality to “white America” which makes assimilation for their children a much easier phenomenon.


Colombia’s emigration of high-skilled migrants effects can be analyzed through two different, but complementary theories: world system analysis and state theory. The creation of the Caldas Network can be seen as an attempt by the Colombian government to create a developmental state. A developmental state is one where the government bureaucracy is free from special public interests but is also linked to society and understands the needs of its citizens, a concept known as embedded autonomy.[30] Colombia’s network is an attempt to form a developmental state which cooperates with diaspora and non-migrant groups to create a network that is mutually beneficial for both parties. The success of this attempt as a developmental state, however, is hindered by Colombia’s position in the global hierarchy. World Systems Analysis argues that there is a strict hierarchy of wealth among core, semi-periphery, and periphery countries.[31] Core countries are one that have the highest level of income, followed by the semi-periphery, with the periphery at the lowest level. For the purposes of this discussion, Colombia will be considered a semi-periphery country because of its upper middle-income GDP per capita and regional military and political influence.  As a semi-periphery country, its development path is limited because the hierarchy of wealth is a rigid structure and if a country makes too much economic gain it will be pushed down by the core. Using this analysis, no matter how the Colombian government reacts to brain drain it will not end the long-run inequality inherent in the world order. This analysis can be applied to the emigration of physicians from Colombia. The physicians at the top of their academic and medical fields are also the ones who are migrating disproportionately to the United States, creating a double negative effect of the brain drain. Essentially, World Systems analysis implies that the unfair labor and income stratification of the world gives Colombia little prospect for upward relative mobility. World systems analysis would argue Colombia is a semi-periphery state that is attempting to make the best out of a bad situation and use its resources to mitigate the worse effects of its brain drain, while in the long-run maintaining its position on the hierarchy of wealth.


The theory of Transnationalism belongs to a different sphere of the migration development nexus. It is the space where migrants participate in social, economic, political, and cultural practices across borders of the country they reside in and their home country.[32] Of particular importance is how transnationalism occurs in the economic, political, and social spheres and how these spheres are constantly evolving according to the actions of the migrants. Transnationalism also occurs at many different levels, from political institutions and grassroots activities.[33] In Colombia’s case, these institutions and organizations are very powerful in helping establish and continue transnational networks between highly educated individuals. For example, A state level organization like the Caldas Network attempts to establish a permanent network so that diaspora intellectuals can cooperate and share knowledge with non-migrants. This Colombian governmental policy can be seen as an attempt to proliferate their knowledge economy. The knowledge economy is an idea developed from a World Bank Report that argues through the expansion of knowledge economy as a pathway to development, this would allow developing countries to leapfrog light industrialization and move towards high-tech industry.[34] Colombia is attempting to follow this knowledge for development model through the use of transnational networks.


The conclusive data on how brain drain has impacted Colombia is uncertain, but there is evidence of its impact on certain economic spheres, particularly the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry in Colombia is more vulnerable to brain drain compared to other sectors because of the double negative effect of the brain drain. The combination of large number of physician emigrants and the quality of those physicians weakens the growth of a strong and advanced healthcare industry. People who would be at the top of their fields in Colombia instead move to the United States. This problem is further exacerbated because emigration of physicians weakens the rural healthcare sector, limiting the scarce healthcare opportunities that rural citizens have access to.  This helps entrench inequality further as this physician emigration produces “an exodus of physicians from poor, rural areas.”[37] The physician emigration has negatively impacted the advancement of the healthcare industry and widened a rural-urban gap of healthcare access.  Due to limited evidence, an analysis of brain drain on other economic sectors is not feasible. However, the physician case showcases that emigration can not only widen economic opportunities between countries but also within them.

The government’s ability to react to the brain drain phenomenon has led to an increase in transnational activities between diaspora groups and domestic ones, but success has been limited and the program has met with structural issues due to the heterogeneity of its members. The Caldas network is a positive move towards the incorporation of migrants into a national development plan, but it needs a more dynamic approach to adapt itself properly to different fields of study and projects. The Colombian government initiated steps in the 1990s towards mitigating the negative effects of brain drain, but it needs to develop new and innovative networks to create a brain gain from the emigration of high-skilled workers.



  1.     Meyer, J., Charum, J., Bernal, D., Gaillard, J., Granés, J., Leon, J., Montenegro, A., Morales, A., Murcia, C., Narvaez-Berthelemot, N., Stella Parrado, L. and Schlemmer, B. (1997). Turning Brain Drain into Brain Gain: The Colombian Experience of the Diaspora Option. Science, Technology and Society, 2(2): 285-315. Accessed December 3, 2017.
  2.     Meyer, Jean-Baptiste. “Network Approach versus Brain Drain: Lessons from the Diaspora.” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 91-110. Accessed December 3, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00173.
  3.     Astor, Avraham, Tasleem Akhtar, María Alexandra Matallana, Vasantha Muthuswamy, Folarin A. Olowu, Veronica Tallo, and Reidar K. Lie. “Physician migration: Views from professionals in Colombia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.” Social Science & Medicine 61, no. 12 (2005): 2492-500. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.003.
  4.     Rosselli, D. , Otero, A. and Maza, G. (2001), Colombian physician brain drain. Medical Education, 35: 809–810. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.1014f.x.
  5.     Pellegrino, Adela. “Trends in Latin American Skilled Migration: “Brain Drain” or “Brain Exchange”?” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 111-32. Accessed December 7, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00174.
  6.     López, Gustavo. “Hispanics of Colombian Origin in the United States, 2013.” Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project. September 15, 2015. Accessed December 7, 2017. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/15/hispanics-of-colombian-origin-in-the-united-states-2013/.
  7.     “The Colombian Diaspora in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute, May 2015, 1-14. Accessed December 8, 2017. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/select-diaspora-populations-united-states.
  8.     Granés, José, Alvaro Morales, and Jean-Baptiste Meyer. “Potentialities and Limitations of the Caldas Network of Colombian Researchers Abroad: Case Studies of Joint International Projects.” International scientific migrations, 1996, 1-9. Accessed December 5, 2017.
  9.     Massey, Douglas S., Joaquín Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and J. Edward. Taylor. Worlds in motion: understanding international migration at the end of the millennium. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009. Accessed December 5, 2017.
  10.  Portes, Alejandro, and Min Zhou. “The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 530 (1993): 74-96. Accessed December 5, 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1047678.
  11.  de Haas, Hein. 2010. “Migration and Development: A Theoretical Perspective.” International Migration Review 44:227–264.
  12.  Evans, Peter B. “Predatory, Developmental, and Other Apparatuses: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective on the Third World State.” Sociological Forum 4, no. 4 (1989): 561-87. http://www.jstor.org/stable/684425.
  13.  Arrighi, Giovanni. “The Developmentalist Illusion: A Reconceptualization of the Semiperiphery.” In Semiperipheral States in the World Economy, 11-42. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
  14.  Levitt, Peggy, and B. Nadya Jaworsky. “Transnational Migration Studies: Past Developments and Future Trends.” Annual Review of Sociology 33, no. 1 (2007): 129-56. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131816.
  15.  Radhakrishnan, Smitha. “Rethinking knowledge for development: Transnational knowledge professionals and the “new” India.” Theory and Society 36, no. 2 (2007): 141-59. Accessed December 6, 2017. doi:10.1007/s11186-007-9024-2.


[1] Pellegrino, Adela. “Trends in Latin American Skilled Migration: “Brain Drain” or “Brain Exchange”?” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 112. Accessed December 7, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00174.


[2] Granés, José, Alvaro Morales, and Jean-Baptiste Meyer. “Potentialities and Limitations of the Caldas Network of Colombian Researchers Abroad: Case Studies of Joint International Projects.” International scientific migrations, 1996, 1-2. Accessed December 5, 2017.

[3] “The Colombian Diaspora in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute, May 2015, 3. Accessed December 8, 2017. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/select-diaspora-populations-united-states.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Ibid. 3

[6] López, Gustavo. “Hispanics of Colombian Origin in the United States, 2013.” Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project. September 15, 2015. Accessed December 7, 2017. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/15/hispanics-of-colombian-origin-in-the-united-states-2013/.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Pellegrino, Adela. “Trends in Latin American Skilled Migration: “Brain Drain” or “Brain Exchange”?” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 127. Accessed December 7, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00174.

[9] Meyer, J., Charum, J., Bernal, D., Gaillard, J., Granés, J., Leon, J., Montenegro, A., Morales, A., Murcia, C., Narvaez-Berthelemot, N., Stella Parrado, L. and Schlemmer, B. (1997). Turning Brain Drain into Brain Gain: The Colombian Experience of the Diaspora Option. Science, Technology and Society, 2(2): 294. Accessed December 3, 2017.

[10] Pellegrino, Adela. “Trends in Latin American Skilled Migration: “Brain Drain” or “Brain Exchange”?” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 128. Accessed December 7, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00174.

[11] Astor, Avraham, Tasleem Akhtar, María Alexandra Matallana, Vasantha Muthuswamy, Folarin A. Olowu, Veronica Tallo, and Reidar K. Lie. “Physician migration: Views from professionals in Colombia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.” Social Science & Medicine 61, no. 12 (2005): 2493. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.003.

[12] Rosselli, D. , Otero, A. and Maza, G. (2001), Colombian physician brain drain. Medical Education, 35: 809–810. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2923.2001.1014f.x.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Meyer, J., Charum, J., Bernal, D., Gaillard, J., Granés, J., Leon, J., Montenegro, A., Morales, A., Murcia, C., Narvaez-Berthelemot, N., Stella Parrado, L. and Schlemmer, B. (1997). Turning Brain Drain into Brain Gain: The Colombian Experience of the Diaspora Option. Science, Technology and Society, 2(2): 289. Accessed December 3, 2017.

[15] Granés, José, Alvaro Morales, and Jean-Baptiste Meyer. “Potentialities and Limitations of the Caldas Network of Colombian Researchers Abroad: Case Studies of Joint International Projects.” International scientific migrations, 1996, 1. Accessed December 5, 2017.

[16] Meyer, J., Charum, J., Bernal, D., Gaillard, J., Granés, J., Leon, J., Montenegro, A., Morales, A., Murcia, C., Narvaez-Berthelemot, N., Stella Parrado, L. and Schlemmer, B. (1997). Turning Brain Drain into Brain Gain: The Colombian Experience of the Diaspora Option. Science, Technology and Society, 2(2): 291. Accessed December 3, 2017.

[17] Ibid. 299

[18] Ibid. 300-301

[19] Ibid. 300

[20] Ibid. 309

[21] Ibid. 311

[22] Ibid. 296

[23] Massey, Douglas S., Joaquín Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and J. Edward. Taylor. Worlds in motion: understanding international migration at the end of the millennium. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009: 17 Accessed December 5, 2017.

[24] Ibid. 19

[25] Meyer, Jean-Baptiste. “Network Approach versus Brain Drain: Lessons from the Diaspora.” International Migration 39, no. 5 (2001): 99 Accessed December 3, 2017. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00173.

[26] Portes, Alejandro, and Min Zhou. “The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 530 (1993): 48. Accessed December 5, 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1047678.

[27] Ibid. 48

[28] “The Colombian Diaspora in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute, May 2015, 1-14. Accessed December 8, 2017. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/select-diaspora-populations-united-states.

[29] Ibid. 3

[30] Evans, Peter B. “Predatory, Developmental, and Other Apparatuses: A Comparative Political Economy Perspective on the Third World State.” Sociological Forum 4, no. 4 (1989): 575. http://www.jstor.org/stable/684425.

[31] Arrighi, Giovanni. “The Developmentalist Illusion: A Reconceptualization of the Semiperiphery.” In Semiperipheral States in the World Economy, 11-42. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

[32] Levitt, Peggy, and B. Nadya Jaworsky. “Transnational Migration Studies: Past Developments and Future Trends.” Annual Review of Sociology 33, no. 1 (2007): 130. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.33.040406.131816.

[34] Radhakrishnan, Smitha. “Rethinking knowledge for development: Transnational knowledge professionals and the “new” India.” Theory and Society 36, no. 2 (2007): 142. Accessed December 6, 2017. doi:10.1007/s11186-007-9024-2.

[35] Massey, Douglas S., Joaquín Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and J. Edward. Taylor. Worlds in motion: understanding international migration at the end of the millennium. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009: 224. Accessed December 5, 2017.

[36] Astor, Avraham, Tasleem Akhtar, María Alexandra Matallana, Vasantha Muthuswamy, Folarin A. Olowu, Veronica Tallo, and Reidar K. Lie. “Physician migration: Views from professionals in Colombia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.” Social Science & Medicine 61, no. 12 (2005): 2495. Accessed December 5, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.003.

[37] Ibid. 2498