Creative migration policy
‘The black door within a red heart.’
- original work by Eliseo Ortiz, based on visual interpretation of Mohsin Hamid’s science fiction novel, Exit West
For our 21st issue, we asked for contributions on the theme of ‘creative migration policy’. Views on migration policies are deeply entrenched. Rarely do migration policies strike a consensus among sending communities, receiving communities, those on the move, and external actors. Sometimes, the status quo is challenged by innovation: a country attempts a new policy, an individual finds a crack in existing rules, or a research group comes up with a new idea.
This issue looks at these innovations and questions some positions which seem entrenched. Can humanitarian assistance start paying more attention to men migrants and their often overlooked vulnerabilities? How to implement a sustainable refugee aid policy in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where international humanitarian organisations outnumber local NGOs and receive the vast majority of funding - but spending is inefficient and much is wasted? Sweden’s proposed ‘paradigm switch in Swedish migration policy’, is it practically applicable to everyone, or does it only increase the vulnerability of those who are less desirable? Can we start seeing refugees primarily as people rather than criminal invaders or vulnerable victims? In immigration debates, can we rely more on mathematical and statistical data, including the use of AI and advanced algorithms? What is Serbia’s migration policy, and how has it changed since the escalation of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in February 2022? How rejected asylum seekers live and resist imposed immobility in Mayotte, ‘trapped in paradise’? We invite you to explore these questions, and ask your own, and see if the articles offer some answers, or perhaps point a direction for future research. We also share a mosaic of perspectives on Iranian protests from a first-generation Iranian immigrant, and a reflection on the experience of emigration through the sculptures of Bruno Catalano.
We are thrilled that the issue is accompanied by an original artwork by Eliseo Ortiz: A visual interpretation of Mohsin Hamid’s science fiction novel Exit West, specifically the quote ‘The black door within a red heart.’, a call that folks use to welcome asylum seekers in a dystopic future. We hope our future issues inspire further creative contributions to share with you, our readers.
Finally, this issue comes to you later than the planned December-January date; unfortunately we have faced some website work problems which took a while to address. Positively, it gave us more time for editing which allowed us to include more pieces than initially expected.
We would like to thank all authors for sharing their stories and their questioning of the political status quo; we are grateful for the richness and variety of your responses to our call for submissions, and for the privilege of sharing them. Many thanks also go to our team which has navigated a challenging start to 2023 but has successfully worked towards publication - and to you, our readers. Thank you for taking time to read and wonder and query why migration policy is the way it is, and how it could be creatively changed for a more humane world.