Beyond Charity: International Cooperation and the Global Refugee Crisis
By Gilburt D. Loescher
Oxford University Press/Twentieth Century Fund, 1993, 260 pp.
International Migration Challenges in a New Era
By Doris M. Meissner and others
The Trilateral Commission, 1993, 116 pp.
Loescher presents a balanced and well-documented account of the world refugee crisis and the international mechanisms currently in place for dealing with it. The author provides a history of earlier international efforts at refugee assistance and pays special attention to the development of the office of U.N High Commissioner for Refugees. Noting a persistent bias in past U.S. policy toward refugees from communist countries, the author sees the end of the Cold War as an opportunity to rethink the institutional structure of refugee relief both in the United States and internationally. He makes a wide range of concrete suggestions, from multilateral efforts to deal with the political and economic root causes of refugee flows to detailed changes in the structure of various refugee relief agencies.
The Trilateral Commission volume is somewhat broader insofar as it deals with migration per se and not just refugees, but covers much of the same ground in a more compact form. It, too, is critical of many industrialized countries for their increasing intolerance of immigrants and failure to assimilate them properly, and calls for efforts to remedy the root causes that lead people to leave home. As in the case of the Loescher volume, there is some question whether promoting economic development is really a solution, since migrants often come not from the most impoverished countries but from rapidly developing ones that have a web of existing ties to the industrialized world. The book also sidesteps questions such as whether bilingualism promotes or retards assimilation. Nonetheless, an informative and useful study.