More realism needed on global migration, says think tank

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The current political debate about migration is over-preoccupied with controlling borders, says the co-director of Christian think tank Ekklesia.

Writing for the Guardian's Comment-is-Free website, Simon Barrow ('Migration's real meaning') says we need to be more concerned about the deeper changes that would actually stem the flow of forced migration (whether by political, criminal or economic displacement) and help us to move towards sustainable people movements in a shared context - rather than one where we simply use borders as barriers and blame people who move.

In a world which has made itself "utterly transparent to the power of money" it is no longer realistic nor just simply to think that we can police people away as if they are the problem, says Barrow, pointing out that 'economic migration' and diaspora have benefited Britain and other countries in the past.

He says that the aim of regulation should be to enable people to move or stay free of compulsion by external circumstances - which means addressing global inequality, climate change, human rights, the HIV-AIDS pandemic and the refugee burden on Africa and Asia.

Ekklesia is engaged in research on alternative approaches to migration policy.