Past events

Metropolis North America Migration Policy Forum

People, Labour, Borders & Security

November 16-17,2017

Sheraton Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginie


Migration has profoundly shaped the economic and social condition of North Americans and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Governments in all three North American countries are responding to such challenges as the ongoing humanitarian crises in Syria and Central America, while at the same time seeking to realize their own proactive policy priorities on migration. And in all three countries, public opinion on the issues is in flux. Geographic boundaries have shaped critical aspects in the relationship between the United States, Mexico and Canada with such things as population composition, labour and security. Cross-border linkages (e.g. ethnic networks, return migration, dual citizenship, diaspora politics, transnational criminal activity) create an ever-complex environment. Changes to the flow of migrants have required occasional adjustments to the rules governing the movement of people and goods between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Migration has a decisive impact on public policies at the continental, national, regional and local levels. North American border partnerships have also been the object of ongoing attention to ensure economic competitiveness and collective security while balancing humanitarian concerns and the protection of individual rights. Constructive dialogue between key government and non-government stakeholders across various sectors in the three countries is essential towards ensuring successful collaboration in managing the considerable and valuable degree of people, goods and services moving across our borders. At present, there is a critical need for a broadly-based trilateral platform to foster strategic thinking around cross-border cooperation on the critical issue of migration. Metropolis North America aims to provide opportunities informed dialogue by organizing Forums to be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico over the next two years. The objective is to develop a research agenda that identifies the key cross-border issues that will benefit from an evidence-base to better inform policy deliberation across relevant sectors.

This inaugural Policy Forum will be held in Arlington, Virginia on November 16th and 17th. It will facilitate open and constructive discussion between policy-makers, researchers and practitioners in order to achieve better understanding of the respective challenges in the area of migration in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It will provide a platform to help assess the effects migration and propose ideas to strengthen cooperation between the three countries. We invite proposals from leading researchers, civil society actors, and policy-makers to organize bilateral and/or multilateral sessions (workshops and/or round tables) that offer important insights via comparative perspectives on issues of migration as they concern People Labour, Borders and Security.

our opening plenarY SESSIONS

DAY 1 - Plenary 1: Meeting Migration Challenges Beyond the Borders

Summary: Migration has had a considerable impact on economic and social conditions in the United States, Canada and Mexico and will undoubtedly do so for the foreseeable future.  Migration has also played a pivotal role in shaping relations between the three countries. In what ways has the relationship evolved since the start of this century as a result of migration? Plenary speakers will share their respective experiences in addressing issues of migration on behalf of government. They will share insights and offer advice as to how best to address the challenges that lie ahead in securing effective cross governmental collaboration around migration.


         ·         Moderator: Corinne Prince, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

         ·         Catrina Tapley, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy Council’s Office, Operations (Canada)

         ·         Mark Koumans, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security (United                States)

         ·         Julian Escutia-Rodriguez, Chief of Staff to Undersecretary for North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mexico)

Day 2 - Plenary 2: Politics and Policy: How the politics of immigration affects North American cooperation on migration issues

Summary: The three countries of North America have historically had very different experiences with immigration which has affected the domestic politics of the issue differently in each country. The differences also impact the ability of each country to work across borders on the management of migration issues, as different legislative and political priorities and processes remain. What are the politics of immigration in Canada, the United States and Mexico and how do those politics impact the dialogue among them on migration? Are there areas where politics and policy can align? And where might the future of the dialogue go?


         ·         Moderator: Theresa Cardinal Brown, Bipartisan Policy Institute

         ·         Edward Alden, Council on Foreign Relations

         ·         Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, Brookings Institution, Former Mexican Ambassador to the United States

         ·         Yolande James, former Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities in Quebec

Workshop Sessions

All sessions are in English and will have bilateral or trilateral participation from the United States, Mexico and/or Canada.

Day 1

Workshop blocks a, b & c

A1: Cross Country Perspectives on Foreign Qualification Recognition

Organizer: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

A2: Unaccompanied Minors:  The Unseen Refugee Crisis

Organizer: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

A3: Temporary Foreign Workers

Organizer: Migration Policy Institute

B1: Collaborative Strategies for Better Immigrant Integration into Local Labor Markets

Organizer: The Conference Board

B2: Refugee and Asylum Systems: A Comparative Perspective on Mexico, the United States and Canada

Organizer: Urban Institute & University of Manitoba

B3: Emerging Issues in Measuring International Migration in North America

Organizer: Statistics Canada

C1: Employer Engagement in Immigrant Integration

Organizer: National Immigration Forum & ACCES Employment

C2: Economic Inequality in North America

Organizer: Metropolis Canada

C3: Migration and Integration: Bridging Divides and Building Resilient Communities

Organizer: Welcoming America & Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Day 2


D1: Drivers for Successful Workforce Integration - A Canadian and American Perspective

Organizer: World Education Services

D2: Dialogues on North American - Central American Migration

Organizer: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social & Institute for the Study of International Migration

D3: Social Innovation for Integration and Inclusion

Organizer: Diversity Institute

E1: NAFTA and Expanding Talent Mobility in FTAs: An Employer Perspective

Organizer: Canadian Employee Relocation Council & Council for Global Immigration

E2: Private Sponsorship of Refugees and Other Community-Based Models: Expanding Resettlement Through Engagement – What Does Success Look Like?

Organizer: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada

E3: Demographic Trends, Patterns and Future Migration Scenarios 

Organizer: El Colegio de México

F1: The Effects of Immigration and Emigration on the US, Canadian and Mexican Labor Markets

Organizer: The Conference Board

F2: Designing Inclusive Communities in an Era of Mass Migration

Organizer: Welcoming America & Cities of Migration

F3: Border Security & Migration

Organizer: Metropolis Canada

For more information, CONTACT ASHLEY MANUEL by email :



ENG/ESP/FR Program

Forum Co-Chairs

  • Jack Jedwab, Metropolis Canada, Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration/Association for Canadian Studies
  • Adam Hunter, Cultural Vistas
  • Agustín Escobar Latapí, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social

Planning Committee Members

  • Victor Armony, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
  • Theresa Brown, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Wendy Cukier, Diversity Institute, Ryerson University
  • Howard Duncan, Metropolis International
  • Kareem El-Assal, Conference Board of Canada
  • Marina Jaminez, University of Toronto
  • Gallya Lahav, Stony Brook University (State University of New York)
  • Diane Lim, The Conference Board (Committee for Economic Development)
  • Claudia Masferrer León, Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Urbanos y Ambientales, El Colegio de México
  • Carla Pederzini, Universidad Iberoamericana
  • Rachel Peric, Welcoming America
  • Chris Sands, Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
  • Andrew Selee, Migration Policy Institute
  • Lori Wilkinson, Immigration Research West

Additional partners


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