Immigration policy should make children a priority

The Obama administration has offered a temporary reprieve from deportation for up to 1 and 3/4 million immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Whatever the immediate merits of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, it signals a much broader principle all immigrant receiving countries should recognize: children experience migration differently than adults, and  public policy can create both great opportunity and great risks for their long-run capacity to become independent and successful adults.

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The sad, sad story of the UNICEF Child Poverty Report and its critics

David Morely, UNICEF Canada’s Executive Director, has just issued a bold challenge. “It is clearly time for Canada to prioritize children when planning budgets and spending our nation’s resources, even in tough economic times,” says a press release announcing the publication of a report on child poverty.

In fact, the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card released today is the 10th in a regular series on child poverty in rich countries, each report hitting the headlines every second year or so.

Sadly, when it comes to discussions of child poverty kick-started by these reports there are two things that are not new: the conclusions; and the reaction of pundits and many policy makers. I say “sadly” because the two are not linked, and public policy discussion is not the better.

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Inequality and social mobility

[These are the opening remarks I made to the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology of the Parliament of Canada. I appeared as a witness at the May 2nd meeting of the Committee dealing with Social inclusion and cohesion in Canada to address the topic of inequality. These remarks do not substitute for the official transcripts that will be produced by the Standing Committee.]

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The ten trends that have shaped the last century, and that will shape the next

Ten forces have defined how we have lived our lives during the last one hundred years, but the “rights” revolution is at their core and will shape how we live the next hundred years.

Daron Acemoglu, the MIT labour economist and co-author of Why Nations Fail, begins a recently released paper on a very personal note: “I write this as I await the birth of my second son.”

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“Are We Headed toward a Permanently Divided Society?”

This is the question Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution asks in a tightly written discussion of the factors relating inequality with opportunity.

Sawhill’s answer: “at current levels of inequality in the U.S. it likely does. However, this answer is qualified in several ways.”

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Is the U.S. Still a ‘Land of Opportunity’?

The New York Times posed this question to a group of experts, Richard Florida, Isabel Sawhill, Timothy Smeeding, and five others, including me.

More specifically, they asked:

There is a growing consensus that it is harder to move up the economic ladder in the United States than in many other places, like Canada. Should more Americans consider leaving the U.S. to get ahead? Or can the U.S. make changes to be more of a “land of opportunity”?

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