Migration policies in Germany under chancellor Angela Merkel and in the US under ex-president Donald Trump were diametrically opposing to one another both in principles and in implementation. While Trump presented a strongman policy with an announced goal “of curbing down migration from other countries, Merkel promoted an open-doors policy towards anyone wishing to settle in Europe. This short paper will seek to analyze, compare, and contrast these policies based on their functioning, impact, and policy goals.
The purposes and objectives of both migration policies, despite the difference in measures and solutions, are inherently the same. These include putting irregular and illegal migration under control, improve the effectiveness of deportation, attracting qualified personnel to stimulate the economy, and offering humanitarian aid without derailing national security (Alola, 2019; Laubenthal, 2019). Trump’s set of policies achieves that by severely limiting migration from Mexico and Muslim countries, giving priority to American citizens when it comes to domestic disputes, and fulfilling the promises he made during the election campaign (Hamann & Morgenson, 2017). At the same time, reports say that border lockdowns caused harm to the American economy, with an estimated 2% fall in GDP (Alola, 2019). Therefore, these policies largely benefitted Trump and his political campaign, at the cost of both migrants and the local economy.
Merkel’s approach did not win her much in terms of political favor. She was criticized both domestically and abroad for being a staunch defender of the Willkommenkultur (welcoming culture) (Laubenthal, 2019). Her policies allowed for many migrants from Africa and the Middle East to cross the border and stay in Germany. Reports indicate it stimulated the local economy by enlarging the labor market. However, crime rates related to migrants also grew exponentially (Laubenthal, 2019). Therefore, it could be concluded that the policy benefitted migrants and the economy, had a mixed effect on the domestic population, and served to Merkel’s political detriment at the local level. It can be concluded that migration policy in the US was more self-serving and less efficient when compared to that in the EU. However, the success or failure of both initiatives are largely informed by the geographical, economic, and political situations in other countries.
Alola, A. A. (2019). The trilemma of trade, monetary and immigration policies in the United States: Accounting for environmental sustainability. Science of The Total Environment, 658, 260-267. Web.
Hamann, E. T., & Morgenson, C. (2017). Dispatches from Flyover Country: Four Appraisals of Impacts of Trump’s Immigration Policy on Families, Schools, and Communities. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 48(4), 393-402.
Laubenthal, B. (2019). Refugees welcome? Reforms of German asylum policies between. Web.