Carnegie Council Conversation avec le ministre britannique de l'intérieur

27 février 2024 - Regarder pendant 60 minutes

Dans son discours à l'adresse Carnegie Council, le ministre britannique de l'intérieur, le très honorable James Cleverly MP, a souligné l'éventail des opportunités et des défis auxquels les pays sont confrontés en raison des migrations, appelant à une coopération et à une innovation accrues pour faire face à ce problème mondial.

L'allocution du ministre de l'intérieur a été suivie d'une discussion au coin du feu et d'une séance de questions-réponses animée par Joel Rosenthal, président de Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

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JOEL ROSENTHAL: Hello, everyone, and welcome. My name is Joel Rosenthal, and I serve as president of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. I would like to begin by thanking all of those who are joining us, both in person and online, and a special thanks to our Carnegie Council Trustee, who is with us in person this morning, Kristen Kaufman. Kristen, thank you. Also, thanks to our friends at the British Consulate, led by Hannah Young, the Consul General here in New York. Thank you, Hannah.

For over a hundred years leaders from around the world have visited this Council to engage in civil dialogue and to reflect on the most pressing moral questions in global affairs, and it is within this tradition that I am honored to welcome James Cleverly, Home Secretary for the United Kingdom, to Carnegie Council. Since his election to Parliament in 2015, Secretary Cleverly has held multiple distinguished government positions across international relations and national security landscapes, having most recently served as UK Foreign Secretary. Today we will hear from the secretary about the opportunities and challenges faced by countries as a consequence of migration and the need for enhanced multilateral cooperation, a critical issue that Carnegie Council is also working to address through our Model International Mobility Convention.

I am now pleased to invite Secretary Cleverly to the podium.

JAMES CLEVERLY: We need to talk about immigration. Even saying those words is enough to send some eyebrows soaring and some voices muttering, which is crazy, because the conversation around this subject has become highly polarized and highly toxic, and that is really bad news, because if we cannot do balanced and thoughtful conversation we cannot do balanced and thoughtful policymaking. Today I want to set out why it is so important that we do balanced and thoughtful policymaking.

Let me first say a word about the wonderful city of New York. I think it is a fitting venue for this speech, and it has been a major hub for inbound immigration to the United States for centuries, and the Carnegie Council are the perfect hosts with a proud history of setting the global agenda and a mission of using the power of ethics to build a better world.

Let me talk about my country. British society has been molded, developed, and enhanced by centuries of immigration, and without it the United Kingdom would not be the place it is today. I am a descendant of immigrants on both sides of my family. My mum came to the United Kingdom to work in our National Health Service (NHS) Sierra Leone around 1966 and my father’s family cam to the United Kingdom from Normandy in 1066. British historians give a little chuckle; everyone else is a bit lost on that.

My country might be a physically small, wet, windy island, but we are internationalist at heart, we are a multiracial country, and we have a history of being welcoming and generous. Our global heritage and connections can be seen in our language, our food, our culture, the representatives in our sporting teams, and indeed the representatives in our politics in our government. Ethnic diversity that we display as a country is so longstanding and so commonplace that it is largely now unremarked upon and barely merits a mention.

The UK’s post-Brexit legal immigration system is designed to allow us to control immigration and to welcome people from every corner of the Earth that have the right skills and the right talents to support our public services and boost our economy. Of course, well-managed immigration should also ensure that the people who we accept into our country also share our values and our standards.

I am very proud of the fact that the United Kingdom has for a very long time played its part helping those fleeing conflict. In recent times we have offered safe and legal routes to over half a million people seeking refuge for themselves and their families since 2015. They include but are not limited to people from Ukraine, people from Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Syria, and we support community sponsorship for refugees and have initiatives to support displaced people in accessing our labor markets. The United Kingdom also invests heavily in international development and aid because it is an investment in security, in building future trade opportunities, in supporting future global stability, and of course because it is the morally right thing to do.

Having explained some of the benefits of immigration it is important that we also recognize—we cannot hide from the fact—that immigration can also cause tensions, challenges, and sometimes problems. Talking about myself again for a moment, one of my favorite subjects, when I was first elected to politics it was on the London Assembly, basically the London city government, and that was in 2008. My first four years in elected politics I sat next to someone who had also been elected by the population of one of the most ethnically diverse and internationalist cities in the world, even though that individual was a representative of what was basically a neo-fascist political party. He was elected in large part because immigration, in East London in particular, had been badly mishandled and mainstream politicians had largely ducked the issues about the community tension that that immigration has caused. That is what happens. That is the potential risk if we get this issue wrong.

We need to look at a range of things. We need to look at the impact on gross domestic product (GDP) and on culture but also on the pressures of cohesion, housing, and public services. We cannot just talk about the amazing positive impact on the NHS that people like my mother and other immigrants to the United Kingdom contribute but then not discuss the sometimes unpredictable and increased pressures on public services that unplanned immigration brings, and we must recognize that whilst the benefits of immigration to a society can typically be widespread and dispersed, the downsides, the pressures, and the challenges can often be felt very locally and can create real hotspots.

We have seen this throughout history from the time of the Huguenots coming to East London through to sadly the Notting Hill riots that we saw in West London in 1958. New York, our hosts today, a world-famous, diverse metropolis, hugely enhanced by its cosmopolitan nature and the mix of the people that live here, has too faced real tensions because of unplanned immigration, and politicians cannot and must not ignore that.

Whilst I have talked about the localized impacts of immigration we have to recognize that immigration is international by nature and by definition. People move in the modern era for the same reasons that they have always moved, for their physical safety and for economic opportunity. There is nothing new about going where they believe the streets are paved with gold, but this phenomenon is amplified and accelerated by modern technology and modern transport means. Journeys that used to be difficult to arrange and potentially took years to accomplish can now be done very quickly and can be arranged on a mobile phone, and if it is an illegal journey it can be facilitated by a people smuggler who is neither in the country of origin or the country of destination.

Likewise, the fact that people send so much money back home, both formally and informally, means that a whole family can harness the benefits of one person’s risk taking. Global remittance flows exceeded $840 billion last year.

Altogether there is an estimated 281 million migrants on the move, accounting for about 3.6 percent of the global population, and of that number well over 100 million are forcibly displaced people. The momentum is very much in the direction of even greater travel flows, whether for economic reasons, because of conflict, or because of climate change, natural disaster, hunger, or other factors. Counterintuitively, an initial increase in a poor person’s wealth can actually make it more likely that they move because they have acquired the financial means to do so. We must all expect—unless we do something about it—larger and larger numbers of new arrivals, whether they are in transit to another country or whether they are seeking a permanent home.

Of course, economic migrants often spread their wings and travel to places far from their original homes. Whilst well-intentioned, blithely insisting that wealthy countries can simply take higher and higher numbers of migrants is I am afraid deluded. It is neither economically nor socially sustainable.

We often pay too little attention to the impact of migration on the countries that people are leaving, often in very large numbers. A talent drain can be devastating on a country, causing not just human flights but capital flight, gaps in the workforce, and indeed security issues in those countries. It can be extremely expensive for those countries to train professionals only to see those professionals take their skills elsewhere for what they perceive to be a more lucrative lifestyle.

Also, in the receiving countries, citizens will suffer if those countries fail to invest in the skills and training, the gaps that they then plug, with immigration. I also feel that there is something perhaps grubby about a country concluding that there are certain jobs that are beneath its own citizens and should be left exclusively to be done by immigrants.

As I said, in a very polarized debate it is important that we leave space for nuance because some countries urgently need an injection of labor and skills. Countries with aging populations may need immigrants to support their economic needs, and some are already adjusting their immigration policies accordingly, but even in those circumstances migration needs to be legal, predictable, and well managed.

Whilst many immigrants move to a new country full of excitement and hope, seeking a new and more prosperous life, sadly others move with a heavy heart because the circumstances in their home country have forced that move upon them. I am very keen to see the vast majority of the Ukrainians who have taken refuge in the United Kingdom return home emphatically not because they are not welcome—they very much are—but because I know that is what those Ukrainians want. I hope they will look back on their time in the United Kingdom with immense fondness and affection, but I also want to make sure that Putin fails and that the Ukrainians we host are once again able to go back to their own country, a country which is safe and free from occupation.

Not only do conflict and corruption create refugees, but we have also seen a new phenomenon where hostile states deliberately create refugee flows as a way of destabilizing other countries. Belarus is an ignoble example of this phenomenon, sending thousands of desperate migrants to its border with Poland in an effort to antagonize the European Union following the imposition of sanctions for their culpability in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Other people of course are fleeing famine. Others will have faced natural disasters. This is one of the reasons why the world must come together in its fight against climate change.

Migration is an inevitable, and, as I say, in many instances a welcome, part of the human story, but in many cases what people yearn for is a safe and happy home in the country of their birth. Countries are entitled to ask, “What is the virtue and purpose of someone coming to live in our country?” In this instance, once again we need to employ thoughtfulness and precision of the language we use because people have very different reasons for moving and those reasons should not be conflated or confused, and they are not interchangeable.

If someone is an economic migrant, they should not be treated like a refugee. Refugees should typically seek sanctuary in the first safe country they reach, and “country shopping” is a very different matter entirely. For example, no one has to cross the Channel to the United Kingdom because France is an unsafe country. Being trafficked to a country against your will is not the same thing as choosing to pay a people smuggler to get you there. If you come to our country or a country as a student, you should not automatically expect to stay there for a job. Not all invitations are permanent. Leaving home because you have to is not the same as leaving home because you choose to. Wealthy countries do have a moral duty to help the poor and dispossessed, but doing the right thing by those people does not necessarily mean relocating them to our country.

Central to solving the international migration challenge is doing more collectively to help people stay at home and thrive in their countries because the international community must never start from the premise that some countries are beyond hope and will always be moribund economically, riven by conflict, or presided over by dictators. That fatalism serves nobody.

Improving safe and legal routes for refugees is important, but it cannot be the summit of our ambition. We need to take on the conditions, the circumstances that create refugees and drive large-scale migration in the first place, and the United Kingdom does this, both by being one of the largest investors in overseas development assistance (ODA) and also through our policy of increasing our trade volumes with the developing world, because if we are to address the scale of movement we have to address the reasons why people move.

Given the choice, poor people move to where they think more wealth can be sought, so supporting the poorest countries through international development can play a role in lifting the most vulnerable out of poverty, and the United Kingdom is proud to be one of the largest spenders both in quantum and proportion in the world. International trade is the only sustainable way that we can make the poor people of the world less poor.

Allied to that the moral case against illegal migration is unanswerable. Of course people should not come to a country illegally, of course it is not fair on the host population, of course it will undermine popular support for legal migration, and of course it weakens our collective ability to help those genuinely in need, but of course that is not the whole story.

Illegal migration is lethally dangerous. It is facilitated by criminal gangs who care not one jot about those whom they treat simply as human cargo and whom they use to profit their foul trade and finance other criminal action. In recent years tens of thousands of people have died attempting irregular migration, and the world cannot stand idly by and let this carry on.

We need to work together to break the business model of these criminal gangs responsible for driving up illegal migration numbers. International cooperation in all these areas is essential. Just as the world has come together to address climate change and to seek to end and prevent conflict it needs to do the same to combat this new great challenge of illegally facilitated, unsustainable migration.

We are being innovative in the United Kingdom. Our migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda is an innovative way of dealing with illegal migration. It is designed to act as a deterrent by making it clear that people who come to the United Kingdom illegally cannot expect to stay, but it will also provide illegal migrants to the United Kingdom with an alternative home in a country which is genuinely welcoming and thoughtful to refugees.

It is called a “migration and economic partnership” for good reasons, because we are making an investment in Rwanda, a country which seeks to export solutions from a continent which sadly has been synonymous with exporting problems. We are also working closely with our nearer neighbors to stop illegal Channel crossings to good effect. I have just signed a deal with Frontex, the European borders and coast guard agency, to exchange more information and intelligence and take on the people-smuggling gangs together with our near neighbors. As Commissioner Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: “In order to fight a network you have to build a network,” and that is what the United Kingdom is doing.

We have also secured close cooperation on migration with a range of other countries including India, Vietnam, and Albania, and more recently we have seen other countries consider the need to do more including exploring safe third-country models for dealing with illegal migration. Indeed Italy has developed with Albania its own model for processing asylum claims overseas.

The thing that strikes me is that the governments of the countries that I have mentioned are led by a variety of political hues because this is far from just a function of political philosophy. It is about hard reality. Illegal migration affects them all, and dealing with this challenge also means considering together whether the multilateral institutions designed and created decades ago, in some instances half a century ago, need updating to meet the challenges of today and indeed whether we need new frameworks to do so.

To those who cherish our multilateral institutions I want to make it very clear that the United Kingdom and I do, and we recognize that they are mighty accomplishments and should be preserved. We should be the most passionate advocates for adapting them to the profoundly changed circumstances that we see around the world because some institutions that we value are not working as effectively as we would wish and as they need to, and we must reform them or watch them atrophy.

People sometimes think, All these institutions have been preserved in aspic since they were created, and that is simply not true. For example, the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees was revised through a new protocol in 1967, expanding the protections beyond Europe to all people fleeing conflict and persecution, and we need to make sure that the treaties, the conventions, and the international agreements and structures that govern immigration policy are up to date, relevant, and are not anachronistic, that they continue to support those who need support but are strong enough to resist abuse.

There are several recent precedents for increased global cooperation on these issues. In 2018 the UN General Assembly adopted the Global Compact on Refugees, which provides a framework for long-term support and more sustainable responses to refugee crises with a focus on supporting refugees and host communities in developing countries closer to the point of origin of the refugees themselves.

The United Kingdom is a champion for longer-term approaches to protracted displacement. We want to help ensure that refugee children, especially the most marginalized girls, are safe and getting an education. The Compact in turn establishes the Global Refugee Forum (GRF), a ministerial meeting every four years, and at the GRF last December the UK government committed to a quota for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)-referred refugees with an overall cap on safe and legal routes. We ardently encourage other countries to follow suit.

The United States of America and Canada are world leaders in this area, and we of course will learn from their experiences, delivering a more effective global approach through the implementation of a global compact for migration, which is central to our international development work.

My former department, the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, is doing a great deal of regional work to improve livelihoods and to support the countries that absorb migrants in some instances in far greater numbers than we do because reducing the vulnerabilities faced by migrants is both an urgent moral mission, and there is of course a degree of informed self-interest for developed nations such as ours. The United Kingdom will significantly [inaudible] in the United Nations in the G7, international financial institutions, and other global fora to rally greater support for a multilateral approach to these issues.

For example, in October the Commonwealth Heads of Government are meeting in Samoa. This year Italy, a country that has been on the receiving end of very significantly increased numbers of illegal migration, holds the presidency of the G7. G20 meetings are being held in Brazil, and of course South America is a continent which has long dealt with the difficulties caused by mass migration, and the United Kingdom will host a meeting of the European Political Community, a group perfectly suited for discussing illegal migration and the management of that within the European continent. These and other major international summits this year will be moments to mobilize action.

Today I am calling for a big, open, global conversation about what more we need to do together to deal with these changing circumstances. The United Kingdom will show the same sort of leadership on this as we have done on climate change, conflict prevention, and the good management of artificial intelligence.

Success depends on a holistic, whole, or root approach. Whilst remaining welcoming and generous we must urgently consider this level of migration and the impact that it has, not just on those countries where migrants seek to settle but also those through which they transit, the countries they leave behind, and of course the migrants themselves.

We need to do more together to smash the people-smuggling gangs, to address all the drivers of forced displacement, to help people thrive in their own countries, to encourage developed countries to invest greater sums in international development, to support countries that wish to settle more refugees, to tackle irregular migration further upstream, and to increase international trade so that we can find together the right balance of economic and cultural growth and of course control.

Much of this work is already happening, but I am here to tell you that we must inject greater urgency, so later today I will meet with representatives from a host of different countries, from our European neighbors who face similar pressures to those faced in the United Kingdom, to countries who face the opposite challenge with large swaths of their population emigrating to foreign lands. I will be inviting countries from across the globe as well as institutions like the United Nations, the International Office for Migration, and the UNHCR to discuss these issues because the size of the challenge must be met with equal ambition. Any approach to global migration that is not rooted in international cooperation is doomed to fail, yet the solution to even the hardest problems lies within our reach, and we must have the ambition and courage to grasp it together.

Thank you very much.

JOEL ROSENTHAL: Thank you, sir, for your leadership, for coming to New York to make this statement, and for coming to Carnegie Council in particular. You are in the right place. In our title “Ethics in International Affairs” you have made the moral case in addition to the practical case, which is what we are all about.

Before we have a conversation I want to alert you to the Model International Mobility Convention, which is on the seats for those of you who are here. For those of you online, you can access it online, but it speaks to many of the issues that you raised about facilitating international cooperation as the key to solving our problems with global-scale migration, which we are all feeling acutely at a local level. Please take a look at that, and thank Professor Michael Doyle, who is the senior fellow in charge of that project.

I am going to kick it off with a couple of questions. Thank you for your willingness to field some questions and conversation in addition to your speech. In the audience, in person as well as online, if you have questions, I will ask a couple and then open it up.

International cooperation and global governance is a challenge across many issues. I am curious how you are thinking about the issue of burden sharing. You said that different destination countries are facing very similar challenges, but in order to have some cooperative venture there will have to be some kind of framework to share the burdens. Have you given some thought to a framework for burden sharing in terms of receiving migrants?

JAMES CLEVERLY: I think ultimately what we should seek to achieve—let’s recognize that migrants fall into a number of different groups, as I said in the speech. We I think have slipped into the habit of talking about all migration as basically the same thing, and we have a wide range of different types of migration, as I say, broadly falling into two camps, those seeking economic betterment, a perfectly reasonable and noble aspiration, and certainly as certain parts of the world see declining birth rates, potentially aging and declining populations it may be that there is a degree of self-interest to have an inflow of working-age people who are going to make their permanent home in a country. That needs to be managed well and it needs to be planned.

In terms of burden sharing I think implicit in the question is a focus more on forced migration, where people are moving through conflicts. Typically conflicts have often been a big driver. I have been to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and other parts of the world where you have displaced people, and the thing that comes across over and over and over again is a mix, a very clear desire to go back home, to restart their lives, and to see that conflict conclude. A number of them of course say, “My country is broken permanently and I want to go somewhere else.” We have hosted refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and other places in significant numbers.

Ultimately the math dictates that the solution to very large-scale displacements of people through conflict that cannot possibly be resolved by just saying, “Okay, your country is broken; come and live in my country,” particularly if that movement is not structured and managed. The maths just means that is impossible.

If that answer is not possible, then the answer which is left is that we work in close cooperation with our partners to try to resolve those conflicts and to try to ensure the people who typically want to go home—people from Ukraine, Syria, or elsewhere—are able to do so. Some of the burden sharing is about hosting; I get that, but some of the burden sharing is also about working hard whether through conflict resolution, overseas development assistance, diplomacy on the international stage just up the road in the United Nations and other fora, for example, to try to resolve those conflicts quickly and effectively because it is in our interest and the interests of the displaced people to do so.

JOEL ROSENTHAL: You talked a little bit about what is driving the different types of migration, everything from economics to conflict to climate. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you are thinking about addressing the problem at its root or at its origin? Again, there is a spectrum of different challenges there. Can they all be dealt with in a similar way, or do they have to be disaggregated and treated differently, especially with the climate issue? This is going to drive even more and more forced migration.

JAMES CLEVERLY: It might do. It has already. I was very proud when I was foreign secretary that the Conference of Parties 27 at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt to announce the UK’s contribution to an African agricultural adaptation fund.

The population of the African continent is huge, it is growing, and again it is one of these things whereby if we just write off that continent, if we basically say, “Africa is a broken continent, it is never going to be able to feed itself, and therefore it is inevitable that there is going to be a wholesale movement of African people out of the continent of African typically but not exclusively into Europe and other places,” that is just not going to work. It is not going to work.

Africa could and should not only be able to feed itself comfortably but be a significant net exporter of food. There is a whole load of reasons why that does not happen—agricultural efficiency, underperforming governments, et cetera.

We can do one of two things: We can say, “Oh, Africa is broken.” This is why I said we must avoid fatalism. If we just say, “Africa is broken and at some point the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people who live in Africa are going to come to typically Europe,” then all bets are off. I cannot see how that could possibly work.

What could work is, through investment in technology, the application of money, the application of support to good governance, and making sure that African governments receive the tax revenues that they deserve to make sure that extractive industries are not exploiting the continent and stripping their natural resources and seeing the profits accrue elsewhere. Those things can be addressed. If we address those things, Africa becomes an economic powerhouse, and the problem of mass export of African people diminishes perhaps even to zero. That would be good for European stability, good for African stability, and would reduce the chances of war, et cetera.

That is a solvable problem, not easy but solvable. There is no solution to a couple of hundred million people moving to Europe. That would just break the system, so we must avoid that, and the answer for me is quite clear.

QUESTION: Good morning, everyone. I am from the Colin Powell School at City College of New York. First, I would like to thank you for being here.

When we see the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom it is not just tied by our past history or language; it is also because of the values and beliefs in human rights, freedom, and democracy. However, those values sometimes are in question when it comes to global politics. Recent investigations have shown that Rwanda is actually behind M23, killing people in the East region of the Congo, which has been taking place for the past 25 years. We count more than 12 million people killed. The United States on 17 February issued a statement condemning Rwanda.

My question is the following: What do Congolese people have to do for them to win the empathy of the United Kingdom on naming one of its allies, the Rwanda government, to stop the mass killing in the east region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?

JAMES CLEVERLY: Thank you. When I was foreign secretary I had the opportunity to meet with the political leadership of the DRC and the political leadership of Rwanda. I have spoken about the conflict on the border between DRC and Rwanda and M23. We have spoken with the Rwandan government about this and the efforts we expect of them to try to reduce conflict and reduce violence in that border region. I have also had conversations with the leadership of the DRC about this. We are looking internationally with our friends and partners in Africa to try to resolve that.

Ultimately the relationship that we have with Rwanda for migration management is separate to the conversations that we have about conflict resolution in Eastern DRC and the Western part of Rwanda. We are working with Rwanda to make sure their institutions are robust, to make sure they act in accordance with international law, to make sure that any people who come to Rwanda from the United Kingdom through this partnership are safe and secure, and that there is no risk of their being deported back to their country of risk, so we are making sure that there is the appropriate safety framework for the individuals. We do that work in parallel with the work we do on conflict resolution and peace on the continent of Africa. They are not mutually exclusive, and there are many parts of the world where we seek to manage migrants.

The other point I would make is that the UNHCR works with Rwanda on refugee management. It is not the same as the arrangement we have, but the UNHCR clearly sees Rwanda as an important partner in the management of immigration. We at least in part take a lead from that relationship.

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary, for being here today and launching your new multilateral framework.

As you start building out this framework on including more multilateral measures to address the migration crisis, how do you envision including cities because cities, whether London, New York, or Manchester, deal with the brunt of this issue, but we oftentimes do not have a seat at the table even though we are tasked with providing the services for this population?

JAMES CLEVERLY: This is a very, very good question. I made the point actually in the speech that you often find the challenges—everything in life, everything in the world has entries on both sides of the ledger. This is not unique to immigration, and I would not want to imply that it is, but often the benefits of immigration, as I said in the speech, the GDP bonus, etc., are widespread, based in geography and in time, but the pressures can be quite acutely felt.

Cities have typically been places that have a large gravitational pull for migrants. I was born and brought up in Southeast London, in Lewisham. Lewisham I would say is probably at the moment a majority nonwhite London borough. The figures might be slightly out. If it is not a majority nonwhite, it is a very significant minority. In East London we have had waves of migrants for centuries—French Huguenots, Jews from Eastern Europe, Muslims from Bangladesh and other parts of the world, and that has been part of the story of London. There are huge benefits that derive from that, but there are also challenges.

I think the relationship between cities and their national governments has got to be a highly effective relationship because ultimately it is the nation-state representatives who sit around the United Nations, the G7, G20, and others, so the conversation internally within countries between cities and national leadership is important.

I also think cities could do more working with each other. Often there is a bit of ad hoc relationship. Sometimes you see the mayor of New York visiting the mayor of London or the mayor of Birmingham talking to the mayor of Chicago. We have twinning relationships. It is not as well structured as it might need to be. I do not think it should be for national politicians to dictate those relationships, but I do think there is something about the idea that in some instances Paris, London, and New York have more in common with each other than they do with rural communities in their own countries, so getting that coordination at city-to-city level I think is a good idea because many of the challenges are shared internationally. I do not want to dictate it; I am just dropping in a helpful suggestion.

QUESTION: Hi, and thank you for being here, Home Secretary.

I was just wondering, are there any policies in the United Kingdom that you have seen be successful that you feel the United States could maybe replicate? Vice versa, are there any U.S. policies that you would take onboard for the United Kingdom?

JAMES CLEVERLY: The United States and United Kingdom have many, many similarities, but our scale, our geography, our histories—I am always cautious about taking half-cooked, half-baked lessons from each other because we are very different countries.

There are certain things in the United Kingdom that I am very proud of. Traditionally we are very, very good at integrating migrant communities. I think the fact that we have a prime minister of Indian heritage—I am of African heritage, my trade secretary has African heritage, former home secretaries of Pakistani heritage, the mayor of London has Pakistani heritage, I could go on and on—I think we have been a world leader at demonstrating the diversity of Britishness in our government.

I joke about our sports teams and various other bits and bobs and the fact that many of the most iconically British things are not terribly British at all. Fish and chips are Jewish and Portuguese and a root vegetable from North America, the Royal Family is from Germany, etc. I think we have been very good at the integration piece.

That is under pressure at the moment, and we hope to resolve that. I am willing to learn lessons from anyone who is getting the integration piece right. We have been really good at it. I still think we are one of the best in the world at it, but it is proving harder than it has in the past. If we can find the magic recipe for reestablishing ourselves at the gold place on the podium of integration of migrant communities, I am happy to export that to anyone who cares to listen, and again if anyone has better ideas than us on that I am absolutely willing to listen to that as well.

Ultimately, as I say, one of the big lessons we need to learn is nothing new: We either deal with this together or we will not be able to deal with it at all.

JOEL ROSENTHAL: I have one more. This is sort of a leadership question. You are coming to New York and you made a passionate case for reinvigorating the multilateral system, but I want to push you a little bit more about where you see leadership within that system coming from. Maybe it is a political question. We are in election cycles here and I know in the United Kingdom as well, so there is the United States and United Kingdom, but the conventional analysis now is that the Global South and the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are becoming more and more important in the multilateral system. Have you given some thought to how you see this playing out in a geopolitical sense about getting buy-in from not just the United States and United Kingdom but other countries and other regions of the world to make it a genuinely global multilateral effort?

JAMES CLEVERLY: When I was foreign secretary I made a series of speeches and interventions basically saying the global power balance is shifting and that is inevitable. It is not a negative; it is just I think a statement of the bleeding obvious. Wealth and power is moving eastward and moving southward, generally but pretty consistently.

As I say, one of the things underpinning the point in the speech is when it comes to the management potentially of very large-scale movements of people there might initially be pressures as people who were previously too poor to consider relocation become wealthy enough for that to be a credible option but whose countries are not yet wealthy enough to discourage them from moving to countries that have a higher GDP per capita. So there is a challenge that we need to navigate through.

As Africa as a continent, the India subcontinent, and Southeast Asia become wealthier, there may be an initial but potentially temporary pressure for large-scale human movement to high-GDP per capita countries. I have not had this conversation, but if I were having a conversation with one of these countries that is on a pretty aggressive growth curve and I asked, “What would you want to do? Would you want to see your brightest and your best, your most talented, your future leaders, economic, political, etc., of your country en masse leave your country?" I am pretty sure that they would consistently say no, they don’t, for two reasons: One, as I say, you have the talent drain, the very people who are driving that economic growth, the future economic, political, and social leaders, you do not want them all leaving your country.

Also, it sends a signal. If you are a country with great aspirations for your future but what you are synonymous with is people hemorrhaging from your country, that contradicts your message. Are you a great country to live and work in, or are you a country everyone is trying to flee, because you can’t be both?

So I do think there is a relationship we could and should have with the countries of the developing world, the Global South, to basically say: “Look, we have a shared interest in this. We want your country to be safe and prosperous. You want your country to be safe and prosperous. Let’s work together to make that a reality.” As I said in the speech, support through ODA and aid is part of that, but that can only ever be temporary. The real sustainable way of making those countries no longer large-scale net exporters of human capital is by making sure that those talented people want to stay in those countries, and that is about trade.

Diplomacy, political stability, and all that kind of stuff is important, but ultimately history tells us the real driver of wealth and stability is international trade. That is how my country became wealthy; it is how this country became wealthy. I think that is the greatest gift to the world, to make sure on good, sensible, balanced, sustainable terms we trade with the world and the world trades with us, and that way they get wealthier, we get wealthier, and we stem the flow of what could potentially be a hugely destabilizing phenomenon of that mass unplanned movement of humans.

JOEL ROSENTHAL: That’s great. I want to conclude with an issue that you raised in your speech but maybe could amplify a little bit more, and it goes to the values question. We have been talking a lot about global governance and big systems like diplomacy, trade, and governance, but you spoke a little bit about what we owe the migrants themselves as individual human beings, especially when you were talking about the moral case against illegal immigration. These are individual people with lives and so on. I was hoping you could conclude with an affirmation—let’s just say the United Kingdom, the United States, and our national communities—of what you feel we owe people who are moving across the world?

JAMES CLEVERLY: The point I wanted to get across in the speech is that it is natural, normal, and understandable when you see people who are suffering just say, “Well, my country should be a place of refuge.” We have got the Statue of Liberty in the harbor here. It was an implicit promise to the poor and dispossessed of the world. In the times when people were coming to the United States, for example, one steamboat at a time, that was manageable. With the kind of scale we are seeing at the moment I do not think we can make the same kind of offer.

The moral obligation that underpinned that Statue of Liberty promise is still there, but I think rather than just shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Yes, your country is broken, your country is destitute, your country is a hopeless case, so come live in my country,” as I say I think that is fatalistic, I think it is wrong, and I think it is unsustainable socially and economically for all the reasons I set out in the speech. Also, it is just a sad message if we just point around the map and say, “That country is broken, that country is broken, that country is broken, and I will do nothing about it.” I am deeply uncomfortable with that.

I think the modern evolution of our generous and humane offer to poor people in the world is to help their countries be more stable and less poor. There will still of course be a need and a desire to welcome people into our homes metaphorically—and, in the UK sense, literally—and when those numbers are relatively modest there is good public buy-in, but get it wrong and you lose that goodwill. You can burn through that goodwill. We all have it, but it is not a bottomless fount, and we need to be realistic about that.

We want to ensure that we have and maintain that fount of generosity. It is the right thing to do, both pragmatically and morally. We must always recognize that we are not just talking about numbers but we are talking about individuals. That is why it is so heartbreaking when I see stories of people dying in the Mediterranean or dying in the Channel because they have put their lives in the hands of some of the most evil people, these people smugglers, who steal, abuse, rape, and murder the people who have turned to them to try to help them get a better life. We have to undermine their business model.

My final point on an issue I feel very, very strongly about is that we cannot inadvertently support the business model of these evil people smugglers because we feel it is the morally right thing to do to give our hospitality first and foremost to the people who are able to get here because often the people most in need are the people least able to either fund or endure a criminally facilitated journey of thousands of miles, and we should not necessarily reward the wrong people through a sometimes slightly displaced sense of moral duty. We do have a duty to the poor, we do have a moral obligation to the poor. I am absolutely clear about that, but it is not best discharged by automatically rewarding often economic migrants who are using criminal gangs to jump ahead of people who are in much, much greater need.

JOEL ROSENTHAL: Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming here, thank you for your leadership, and I hope some of the people in this room and some of the people online will rally to it.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs est un organisme indépendant et non partisan à but non lucratif. Les opinions exprimées dans ce podcast sont celles des intervenants et ne reflètent pas nécessairement la position de Carnegie Council.

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