UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
(HELSINKI COMMISSION) HOLDS HEARING: CROSSING BORDERS, KEEPING CONNECTED:
WOMEN, MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE OSCE REGION
APRIL 24, 2008
REP. ALCEE L. HASTINGS, D-FLA., CHAIRMAN
REP. LOUISE M. SLAUGHTER, D-N.Y.
REP. MIKE MCINTYRE, D-N.C.
REP. HILDA L. SOLIS, D-CALIF.
REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD, D-N.C.
REP. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, R-N.J.
REP. ROBERT B. ADERHOLT, R-ALA.
REP. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.
REP. JOSEPH R. PITTS, R-PENN.
SEN. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, D-MD., CO-CHAIRMAN
SEN. CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, D-CONN.
SEN. RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, D-WIS.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.
SEN. JOHN F. KERRY, D-MASS.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, R-KAN.
SEN. GORDON H. SMITH, R-ORE.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.
SEN. RICHARD BURR, R-N.C.
REP. GWEN MOORE, D-WIS.
REP. DORIS MATSUI, D-CALIF.
REP. LOIS CAPPS, D-CALIF.
REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, D-TEXAS
REP. DIANE WATSON, D-CALIF.
INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION,
REMITTANCES AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM,
The hearing was held at 10:00 a.m. in Room B-318, Rayburn House
Office Building, Washington, D.C., Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL),
Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki
HASTINGS: We have an excellent panel with two distinguished witnesses who are
going to share with us their knowledge of this issue. And there's much on this
issue that we need to learn in order to meet the needs of women, their families
and their home countries.
Migration is a complex issue that every country deals with. And some countries
are sending migrants abroad. Some countries are transient points. And others
are the destination country.
Their status can be fluid -- change over time. And as we've seen to be the
case in many of the OSCE countries, particularly in Southeast Europe, some
countries are a combination of all three. I'm going to place my full statement
in the record without going into detail, because I do want us to hear from the
witnesses and don't want a vote to interrupt us.
But I'm interested to hear from our witnesses their suggestions on how to
respond to the new generation of women migrants. But before I turn to the
panelists, I'd like to recognize my fellow commissioner, Representative Solis.
In addition to serving as a commissioner on the Helsinki Commission, Ms. Solis
also serves on the OSCE parliamentary assembly as special representative on
migration. And as such, her work is particularly focused on the issue of
migration within the OSCE region. She brings to that position extensive
experience on the issue of immigration here in the United States. And I'm
pleased that she's here today for this hearing.
And I'd also like to note that with Ms. Solis' active participation, the
commission is going to focus more of its attention on the issue of immigration.
And our next event is going to be a field hearing in Los Angeles on May 9 to
study the regional impacts and opportunities for migration. And I encourage
all who are interested to attend that event.
Now, I'd like, if she would have any opening statement, Ms. Solis to make that
statement. And then I'll recognize Ms. Moore, our colleague as well.
SOLIS: I want to thank our chairman and also the staff of OSCE and our
witnesses and also my good colleague and friend, Congresswoman Gwen Moore. And
I know we'll be visited by other members of the Women's Caucus that have also
learned about this issue and want to participate.
I won't read my entire statement either. I'm very anxious to hear what our
witnesses have to say. Migration and, for those of us who are domestic here in
the states, talk about migration and immigration. And I'm very, very pleased
to know that we're going to have some information given to us about some of the
positive aspects of migration.
So oftentimes we hear on the news, media, reported about the heavy drain on our
society here. We hear that also in Europe. We hear it regarding other third
world countries that are sending many of their workers or labor force.
Sometimes it's forced upon them because of poverty, economic and political
issues. And we want to understand better what that means here for us and our
experience here in the United States.
And I do want to say that I'm very interested in hearing of the role that women
play -- women immigrants or migrants that come to this country -- and what
unique role they play; and the fact that, in some cases, remittances, whether
they're sent from men or women here, outnumber the foreign aid that this
country sends to many of those countries that send immigrants here to this
So I will respectfully submit my testimony also, my statement for the record,
Mr. Chairman. And thank you again for this hearing.
HASTINGS: We're also joined with our colleague, who is also very active in
international affairs and has traveled with us in the Helsinki Commission. And
I look forward to her traveling with us to Kazakhstan in July with my good
friend from Wisconsin, Ms. Moore -- any statements you may wish to make.
And welcome Tori, Ms. Moore's (inaudible). We're glad you (inaudible).
MOORE: Yes, Tori is here from Memphis, Tennessee with Girls, Inc. And this is
a great way to train women for leadership roles, to have them come and spend
the day with the members of Congress.
I just want to commend the president of the Helsinki Commission, Mr. Hastings,
for his outstanding stewardship and to -- he really has focused on gender
equality and gender issues throughout his stewardship, not only as the
president of the Helsinki Commission, but as a past president of OSCE.
And, of course, my dear colleague, Hilda Solis -- her vice chairmanship of
Human Needs Committee of the OSCE. I want to thank them for really calling
this briefing, this hearing, together today.
I'm a member of -- I'm very interested in OSCE. And I have, of course,
traveled with them. More particularly, I'm a member of the financial services
committee. And I have been appointed as part of the parliamentary network on
the World Bank.
And so I am very, very interested in hearing from you what the impact of
international migration remittances have, not only on issues -- you know, brain
drain, or perhaps strain from receiving companies -- but what the World Bank
research has shown about the spurring of development from female migration --
very interested in hearing any particular information that you might have
regarding the economics of migration.
Thanks to you again for inviting me.
HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Congresswoman Moore. My good friend and
colleague from the Rules Committee has joined us. And she has a continuing
interest in these matters. And as our witnesses can see, you know, you will
see some other members come and go, a number of them have been involved in
But let me ask Doris Matsui if she would offer any comment at this time.
MATSUI: Thank you very much, Chairman Hastings. I enjoy serving with him on
the Rules Committee. He sits about right there in relationship to me. And
he's just absolutely wonderful, and also Congresswoman Solis and Congresswoman
Moore. I mean, we travel together, and we have bonded together on many of
I want to thank you very much for being here today too, both of you. Women
migrants have become very of interest to me, because as we study women around
the world, we realize that lawmakers really must look at the economic
opportunities in countries regarding women as well as work trends and family
development. Women seem to be the key to a lot of this.
And today's hearing is really an opportunity for us in congress to present the
American public with true life stories on the issues of women in other
countries. And during a time in this nation's history that has yielded, sort
of, somewhat unfortunately visceral reactions, responses to incidences in our
own country, it's important for us to investigate the trends and economic
reasons behind women and migration and remittances.
And I know the World Bank and others have other witnesses we'll hear from
shortly are analyzing how gender plays a role in dynamics and determinants of
international migration. And they're also uncovering the economic
circumstances that lead to migrant workers.
In many developing countries, remittance flows make up the second largest
source of external financing. And that's coming. More and more people are
beginning to understand this. And it raises many important policy questions
for all of us.
And as Congress and other lawmakers continue to delve into issues surrounding
migrants and gender differences in migration, we have the opportunity to
develop policy based on implications for growth and welfare in both origin and
And today's hearing really gives us a good forum to ask the kind of questions
necessary to understand and deign policies for the migration of women. And I
look forward to hearing from you. And I thank Chairman Hastings for putting
together this hearing today.
HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Ms. Matsui, Ms. Solis and Ms. Moore.
I'd like to turn now to our witnesses. And joining us today are Dr. Susan
Martin, director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration and
Georgetown University, and Dr. Manuel Orozco, with the Remittances and
Development Program at the Inter-American Dialogue.
We've distributed their biographies. And if the audience would pick them up at
the table, it would be appreciated. But in the interests of time, I'm not
going to read them.
As a backdrop before beginning with you, Dr. Martin, I just with to add to the
record what is not a direct relationship, but it demonstrates among other
things the attitudes that are extant here in the Congress. And that would be
yesterday's inaction of the United States Senate on disparity as it pertains to
women. I just would like to add my voice as one that was sorely disappointed.
So Dr. Martin, if you would begin. And Ms. Capps, if you would join us at the
dais -- OK.
MARTIN: Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity to testify this morning
about the situation of women migrants in the region covered by the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe. I have a longer statement that I'd
like to have added to the record. Thank you.
Policy makers throughout the world, including in the OSCE region, are seeking
to make migration a win-win-win situation -- a win for host countries,
destination countries; a win for the source countries, origin of migrants; and
of course a win for the migrants themselves.
In thinking through strategies to increase the benefits of migration in this
win-win-win situation, and also to deal with some of the negative consequences
of migration, it's important to keep the gender dimension in mind.
Women have been an important component of migration during the past four
decades, and certainly have been in previous years as well. As of 2005, almost
50 percent of the world's migrants were women, up from 46.8 percent in 1960.
Significantly, the proportion of migrants who are women in the developed world
now exceeds the proportion in the developing world. More women are migrating
from south to north. And the highest proportion of women migrants are in the
Women migrants now represent 53.4 percent of the total migrant population in
Europe. And the U.S. figures, or North American figures, are similar.
Gender perspective is essential to understand both the causes and consequences
of international migration. Gender and equality can be a powerful factor in
precipitating migration, particularly when women have economic, political and
social expectations that actual opportunities at home can't meet.
Globalization has increased knowledge of options within and outside of home
countries. And it's opened a range of new opportunities for women who want to
leave their homes. However, globalization has also failed to live up to its
potential, leaving women throughout the world in poverty and without economic,
social or political rights.
In such cases, migration may be the best or indeed the only way out of a
desperate situation for many women. The migration experience is also highly
gendered, particularly in relationship to social and family relationships and
employment experiences. Traditionally, most women migrate through family
reunification channels. They migrate to join spouses and children who have
When such migration is the only route for women to take, it often leads to
fraud and abuse, where they seek marriage opportunities, because it's the way
of finding better opportunities. And of course, having migrated, they may find
it very difficult to leave abusive situations where their husband is their only
link to remaining in legal status.
Today, though, more women are migrating on their own as principal wage earners,
not just following to join their husbands. Their experience is gendered as
well. They tend to take jobs in very familiar female occupations, whether it's
as domestic workers, nurses, teachers. They tend to follow the gender, the
gender prospects and terms of employment.
Women who migrate, another aspect of the gendered experience, is that they
often find themselves at risk of gender-based violence and exploitation.
Whether labor migrants, family migrants, trafficking victims -- I'll come back
to this issue -- or refugees, they face the double problem of being female and
In addition, it's important to keep in mind that gender does not operate in
isolation from race, ethnicity and religion. Since many migrant women differ
from the host population in these respects, they may face additional
discrimination based not only on being foreign, being women, but also of a
different race, religion or ethnicity.
The migration experience, though, can also be positive. It's not all a
negative process. Migration can be an empowering experience for women who have
the opportunity to do things upon migration that they couldn't do at home.
Even a migration of their spouses, of their husbands, can be empowering as they
are left behind to operate, make decisions, decide how resources will be
utilized and gaining empowerment as a result of this process.
In other respects, though, migration can reinforce traditional gender roles.
I'm giving you a -- on this one hand; on the other hand, because migration is a
very complex process.
Often women are expected to preserve cultural and religious norms after
migration. And they're supposed to be preserving the family values of the
societies from which they come. Very often immigration rules reinforce this
process, particularly again through the family reunification process, when
their status is so much linked to their husband's status or their children's
It's important, though, to note that changing gender roles in destination
countries can also influence migration. I posited, amongst other experts, that
were going to be seeing a huge increase in migration pressures in the years
ahead, and particularly related to female migration.
As our societies age, as more of us in my generation enter retirement age
require health care services, social care to help with work at home, the demand
for female migrants to fill these jobs are going to be increasing. Of course,
as more younger women enter the job market, the demand for daycare, child care
services also increases. Women tend to provide these services.
Migration also has an effect, as some of the opening statements said, on the
development of the source country. It isn't only an impact on the destination
country. It happens very often through remittances. But it's important to
keep in mind that the connections between migration and development are a
two-way connection. Underdevelopment causes migration. Migration can
influence the development process. It operates in both directions.
In the best case scenario, migration should be voluntary. And women,
particularly migrants in general, should not have to migrate as a result of
deepening economic or political pressures at home. They should be migrating
because it's their choice, and of course the choice of the destination country,
so that they operate through legal channels.
There's been a lot of attention to the economic factors causing migration.
There's less attention, though, in dealing with stay-at-home development
programs to gender roles and relationships in gender equality. And I think
that has to be taken into account.
Now, a pernicious form of migration for women, who were denied rights and
denied economic opportunities, is trafficking in persons -- trafficking where
they -- through coercion and deception are forced into migrating in a way in
which they will be exploited, either for forced labor or for sexual
The international regime for addressing trafficking is developing -- and I must
admit that the OSCE, I think, has one of the best institutional structures in
place now amongst international and regional organizations for addressing
trafficking. And this is an area, I think, where it needs to be applauded in
terms of the steps already taken, but certainly requires more resources, more
attention from the commissioners' member states as to what it is doing in this
So even though economic development and human social development is the best
long-term solution to migration, migration is likely to continue certainly for
the short to medium term. And in fact economic development theory says can
increase migration as people have more resources, more knowledge, more
opportunities to move.
So there we get into the migration as a support for development issues. And
here women play a particular role. I'll let my colleague, Manuel Orozco, talk
a bit more about remittances, because my testimony relies on some of the
research he and my other colleagues have done.
But I think it's also important to look at the broader way in which diasporas
can support development. Hometown associations are very important as a way of
bringing resources back to their home communities. Too often, though, women
migrants are shut out of those hometown associations. They don't have the
means by which they can influence decisions about how to spend the money that's
being spent back home. And since we know that women have a predisposition to
spend money on health, education, things that benefit human development, it's
important that they get attention, and that they have an opportunity.
Let me conclude with a few recommendations that I state in my testimony as to
ways that the United States and other destination countries in the OSCE region
can perhaps help to stimulate the win-win-win situation. Certainly, the U.S.
should be supporting programs and policies to empower women migrants and those
left behind by male migrants to participate actively in the decisions that
affect them and their families, including support for voluntary organizations
of women migrants, so they can participate in this process.
Improvements are certainly needed in protection of migrant women's rights and
safety, also in improving their socio-economic situation to avoid the
exploitation that too often accompanies migration.
Policies to help reduce the cost of remittance transfers, so more money
actually ends up with families. The important other factor, truth in transfer
policies, so people know what they're actually sending, what will be received.
Programs to stimulate diaspora contributions to economic, social, education,
health, political, development and home countries. Identification of ways to
better promote stay-at-home developments, so people can migrate by choice not
necessity. Particularly looking at helping women to gain economic
opportunities, education, health care, other services, legal rights, protection
from violence at home.
And then improvements in data collection. Unfortunately, we don't have good
sex and age segregated data on emigration or immigration. That makes it hard
to target policies and programs at women migrants.
There are numerous international and regional fora in which these issues are
being discussed. OSCE is one of them. The U.S. participates very actively in
a number of regional fora. And I would urge that that process continue.
There is growing, though, international multilateral discussion of migration
issues, particularly through the Global Forum on Migration and Development, a
state-owned process trying to get governments to talk about how they can
cooperate, source, transit, destination countries.
U.S. so far has been missing an action from that process that we've not taken a
very active stance as a government, even though this is a governmental process
that I think holds a lot of promise for having a real dialogue with the source
countries about how to best manage migration. And I would hope that the U.S.
could start to become much more actively engaged in all of the international
discussions on this important issue. Thank you.
HASTINGS: Dr. Martin, thank you.
And Dr. Orozco, I hope you will all permit, I know we've been joined by two of
our colleagues. And I do know that Ms. Capps has to leave. But I would like
to hear from her. And I don't know, Ms. Johnson may well have to as well. But
let me if she has anything that she would wish to say at this time.
My very good friend and colleague from California, the chair of the bipartisan
Women's Caucus, Lois Capps.
CAPPS: Thank you, Chairman Hastings, for holding this very important hearing.
And I want to thank Congresswoman Solis for your great work. I've been hearing
about some meetings that you've been having in your particular representation
on migration within the commission. This is a very timely hearing. And I much
appreciated Dr. Martin's remarks. And I know that Dr. Orozco will be a very
instrumental in educating us as to some of the -- the good side and the hard
side to what this topic addresses for us.
I think you can tell, Chairman, that holding this hearing evoked a strong
response from the Women's Caucus in terms of our membership. We who are here
representing, not only women in our congressional districts, but as women are
very sensitive to how migration affects women and, of course, their families.
It goes without saying that, when we talk about women, there's a sort of
stereotype. You talked about women who are wage-earners. But it's often the
man of the household is sent first, at least, and finds the way and sends back
those remittances. And it's left to the woman to hold the family together.
And then, there's oftentimes -- I'm now talking about my personal experience.
And all of us have our anecdotal experiences with this topic in our
And over the many years, I was a public health nurse in my community. I became
very closely involved in the migration patterns of families who -- and we've
even structured in Southern California our school year around certain migration
patterns; because oftentimes it's a back and forth for economic reasons and
I think a signal issue in terms of my experiences, particularly to the south of
our border, for those families that I've become acquainted with is the
disparate family, the separated family. And that the particular challenges
that holds for a woman who, in the interest of unification, oftentimes embarks
on risky behaviors and decision making, because she has that overarching drive
that can't be quelled to have the family united.
And that impacts our school calendar. It impact employment. It impacts
transportation and legality in terms of crossing. There are so many issues of
safety and of family unity, which is so core to what we define as being
American. I mean, these are very fraught issues.
And yet, it's so ripe with opportunity for us to address this in a good way.
Our immigration policies, as I think everyone would know, are no up-to-date.
That's the nicest way I can say that. And it comes down to bear so
dramatically on the life of the women that we all know from our experiences at
home. And seen as a totality, it has tremendous impact on this country.
It's become politicized in quite negative ways that are with very strong
consequences to, again, some of our fundamental ways of treating one another in
terms of justice and fairness and compassion as a nation. So we've been put to
the test -- we are being put to the test.
And yet it comes down to, you know, the state I represent -- and there are a
couple of us here now. Ms. Matsui was here earlier -- is one of the younger
states of the nation. But we know very dramatically the strong role migration
has played on the strength and the development and the advancement of our
state. I mean, there's just evidence everywhere, with new work forces as each
generation comes along, of extremely hardworking people who have sacrificed and
are sacrificing a great deal to be in this country.
Those of us all have -- almost all of us have immigrants in our family
histories. And you know that those first generation of people to come to this
country are the reason we have succeeded as a nation in so many ways, because
of hard work, determination, and that American dream that no one knows more
clearly than someone who is yearning to come, or someone who has come, and now
seeks very intently on fulfilling their dreams in this country.
And I want to say how much I appreciate the positive role that migrant families
have played, not only -- I represent an agricultural district. And it's
certainly in that arena. I have a lot of tourism in my district. I know that
that that's very dependent on certain group of people who will do those kind of
long and very physically demanding jobs that go undone without that.
So we have a very -- there's a need on the part of this country to fix and
policies and to have the right kind of people here. But respect for the
institutions that we have -- that's another final point that I wanted to make
is that, in some ways, a migrant woman carries within her soul and heart, for
the sake of her family and for the dreams that she has, a tremendous desire to
honor and respect the local teachers that her kids go to school to study under,
the enormous respect with which the privileges of being a part of our society
hold, and how that is passed on.
And I just hope we honor that. And I know we are in this discussion. But
we'll find ways to sustain that attribute, that positive contribution that
(inaudible) in this area. I think the migrant woman is the one who carries the
desires and also brings with her from the country of origin the culture, the
values, the traditions. This is the role that the woman plays in transmitting
that to the next generation within the wider culture, so that we have the
enormous richness of culture that come also with these women.
So I'm going to stop now, because I know there's a -- I've been joined by
colleagues. It's wonderful to see.
I appreciate very much again, Mr. Chairman, that you're holding this hearing.
HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Ms. Capps. I was awfully glad that
Commissioner McIntyre joined us. And I was...
HASTINGS: I was beginning to feel intimidated -- and also Commissioner Diane
Watson from California. I had said earlier that I would hear from
Congresswoman Johnson, my classmate, good friend and colleague from Texas. And
Mike, if you and Ms. Watson don't mind, then I would like to hear from Dr.
Orozco. And then we will come to you. All right.
JOHNSON: Thank you very much, Congressman Hastings. And let me express my
appreciation for you and Ms. Solis for having this hearing and with your
continuing leadership. Women really coming to almost any country -- because
the U.N. has had reports as well -- are really very vulnerable to mistreatment.
Just recently, there was a Latino woman held for four days in jail in Arkansas
without food or water or anything. They just forgot they locked her up.
And I think that we need to really get more attention. The International Labor
Organization estimates that there are between 80 million and 100 million
migrant workers internationally. And about half of that population will be
And it doesn't take us much to see many of them. They take care of children.
They clean houses and any other type of job they can get to work to try to keep
And generally speaking, I think that anyone will have to acknowledge that they
have been a positive force in this country. And it also falls to the
independence, self-confidence and economic status for many women coming under
more fair circumstances.
They cannot communicate in their own language for the host country, and are
documented, and lack adequate contracts. And that's what makes them so
I have read about women being practically enslaved in homes as housekeepers and
babysitters, which we have to become more sensitive to, to make sure that we
live up to our own constitution of fairness. And many contend that payments
and investments contribute to migrant women's poverty reduction. But they're
almost held hostage in some situations. And you wonder if they're getting paid
So I thank you for coming as witnesses. And I look forward to hearing the
testimony of Mr. Orozco. We need to know, I guess, from you -- and Ms. Solis
and Mr. Hastings and all might know this already -- but we need to know what
actions by the Congress will help alleviate these challenges for women
migrants; because I think women are much more vulnerable to mistreatment when
Thank you very much, Mr. Hastings.
HASTINGS: Thank you very much, Ms. Johnson.
And Dr. Orozco, thank you for your patience. I think you can tell, by the
interest shown from the membership, that this is an issue of substantial import
to those of us here in Congress. Dr. Orozco.
OROZCO: Thank you very much for inviting me to testify before you. And
actually, I'm very motivated to see the interest and the concern over this
issue and having a balanced approach also to this. But only look at women as
the negative effects of migration, but look at the whole balance, the whole
picture; and have an open perspective about the broader issues, especially
relating to gender.
There is no question that the member countries of the OSCE have become -- have
reliance (ph) in the country of migration, especially over the past 20 years.
And this reliance is related to a number of factors. But particularly it has
to do with some of the slow transition of economic growth of many countries who
are now members of the Commonwealth of Independent States; but also is related
to the increase in economic growth in the Russian economy associated also with
the significantly sharp demographic (inaudible) that has happened in Russia
simultaneously. That has changed different patterns of international migration.
At the same time, there is another process that is happening, which is that
there is a global feminization (ph) of low-cost labor that has had significant
implications in the demand for foreign labor from different countries in the
I will focus my testimony on issues regarding women migration and remittances,
particularly in Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Moldova, which are places
where I have conducted extensive field work on these issues of migration and
remittances. And I will offer some recommendations on developing policy
focusing on how to leverage remittances in relationship to gender an economic
development in general.
What I'd like to share with you is five different points. One is just general
patterns of migration in the OSCE countries. Second, look at the relationship
between migration and gender in particular relating to what determinants have
shaped these processes; then pay attention to female migrants and remittances,
then to female remittance recipients in some of these countries; and finally
make some policy recommendations, particularly on health and education and on
financial access on the other hand.
On the issue of migration, what you definitely see is that about a quarter of
the world's migrants are actually in the OSCE member countries. And that's
basically about 50 million migrants are OSCE member countries. And 40 million
of these are basically migrants in developing countries from this region, the
Just looking at Central Asia and the South Caucasus alone, you have 70 million
migrants, the majority of which, over 60 percent, goes permanently to Russia.
A smaller percentage goes to Kazakhstan. And then you have another percentage
that goes to Western Europe. For example, with people from Moldova, 30 percent
of Moldovan migrants are going to Italy. And there are as many women as men
migrating to Italy.
Unlike migration to Russia, the majority of migrants going there are
predominantly males. It's basically three-quarters of migrants are males. And
25 percent are women. One reason for that is because of the nature of the
economic development happening in Russian at this point. There is a strong
reliance on construction work, which is predominantly gender-based to a large
extent where they demand more male labor than female labor in construction or
even gas industries.
But you see the 25 percent of migrant women in Russia, these are predominantly
working in the service industry and also in the informal economy. if you go to
Moscow, for example, you will see many women in the street as street vendors,
particularly people from Kurdistan and Tajikistan.
Another important aspect is that another reason why there is more male
migration to Russia, for example, from these countries in particular, not to
Western Europe -- it has to do with the economic conditions in these countries,
especially the (inaudible) conditions. These are highly rural societies. The
higher rural composition of a country is, the lower the female migration will
be. And this has to do with cultural patterns that exist in a society, but
also to issues relating to the feminization of labor in agrarian societies.
And at the same time, this relates to income. In places where there is lower
income, you will have lower migration. The poor cannot migrate. And in
general, we know that women are mostly low-wage earners than men. No matter
whether they have the same job, they will still earn less than men. So those
are some of the terminance (ph) that explain some of the migration patterns
going within the OSCE to Russia in particular.
Now, in terms of the broader patterns of remitting, for example, we estimate
that remittances of migrants from the OSCE countries amounts about $55 billion.
And just to Central Asia, especially for countries -- (inaudible), the
Caucasus (ph), Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kurdistan, Tajikistan and Georgia -- are
receiving $10 billion in remittances, and Moldova.
This is not a small amount of money, especially when we're talking about some
of the poorest countries in the world -- Tajikistan, Moldova, Kurdistan,
Azerbaijan paradoxically. One of the richest countries in oil is also among
the poorest countries in the world. There are also countries paradoxically
where U.S. cooperation has a strong presence. The Millennium Challenge
Corporation is in Armenia, in Kurdistan, in Moldova, among other countries in
But that $10 billion basically, 20 percent of that is coming from remittances
transferred by female migrants. Now, female migrants do remit less than men.
The average amount remitted by a migrant is about $1,500 a year. It's much
less than, for example, what a migrant in the United States is remitting to
Latin American or Asia. But this is relative to the income conditions of the
migrant, but also to the cost of living in their home countries. Cost of
living in places like Azerbaijan or Tajikistan is much lower than in Latin
But the main reason why they remit less, it has to do because they earn less
money. Construction work pays more, pays better than service work in the
informal economy. There is also another reason, which is that some of the
female migrants are already married in the host country, whose husbands might
be native Russian citizens or migrants themselves. But their obligations are
more dispersed. And they have to redistribute their resources. The earnings
they have more differently than men do.
So, for example, most males in Russia, migrant males, have spouses back home.
And they also have their children back home. So they have higher
responsibilities in terms of the amount that they need to send. Whereas the
woman migrant is likely to have their children in Russia and their spouses also
When we look at the people who receive remittances, we basically learn that 60
percent of remittance recipients are women. And this is a figure based on
service we have done in these countries; but at the same time might be a
contestable figure, that it might have to do with gender dynamics happening in
these countries. Female remittance recipients are receiving less than men.
They receive about 20 percent less than men do, even thought they have to
manage the same type of household size than men do.
But there is another characteristic that I think is important to keep in mind
when it comes to these issues of gender and migration. And it's that when men
migrate, and they are married, and they leave their spouses behind, in many
cases the women move into the in-laws' homes. And they lose a significant
portion of their independence that they have as they were in their own
households. And one of the losses of this independence is that they are no
longer the household head.
In these societies, the head of the household is generally accepted to be the
oldest man in the house. And this can be probably a retired person who has no
job, in fact no roles in managing the household. But he is perceived to be the
head of the household. And he might be the person receiving remittances and
may decide how much to give to the woman to administer the money.
It's not a pattern, but it is something that happens on a regular basis among a
percentage of the population that receives remittances and are women. That
loss of independence is a policy issue that one needs to keep into
consideration. But it's a difficult one to also provide a solution, because it
might inflict (ph) on issues of privacy within the household.
A third issue that deals with the work we have been doing on remittances and
development focuses on the fact that the women remittance recipients have much
less financial access than men do. In most of these countries, financial
access is plainly low. Less than 20 percent of people in Central Asia or the
Caucasus have access to a bank account.
Remittance recipients have a slightly higher access, about 25 percent, and
that's because the money allows them to accrue savings and eventually mobilize
them into financial institutions. But when it comes to women, even though they
might be the larger remittance recipient proportion, they do not have as much
access to banking institutions as men do.
And that poses another problem of a policy nature in the issue of economic
development. In Tajikistan, for example, only 5 percent of men have bank
accounts. And when it comes to women, it's 3 percent. In Kurdistan, it's
about 20 percent for women and 30 percent for men. And the same goes for
Armenia and Moldova. So there is a significant disparity about this. There is
an inconventional (ph) ability between the percent of remittance recipients who
are women and the percent of women who have bank accounts.
So I want to now finish with some policy recommendations dealing with these
challenges that we face. One important one is that, from the perspective of
the Helsinki Commission, especially from the U.S. Congress side, I think we
must encourage the development institutions working in those countries to
integrate migration as part of the (inaudible) agenda. This is a very
important issue, because it's largely neglected.
And especially when we're talking about U.S. government cooperation, USAID, the
Millennium Challenge Corporation in particular are two major developing
institutions that play an important role in countries like Armenia, Moldova,
Kurdistan, Tajikistan, et cetera. And yet, in none of these places there is a
strategy, much less an agenda, in linking remittances and leveraging those
flows for development, and much less on gender issues, even though everybody is
aware that there is a dynamic relating to the issues, gender migration and
And definitely, in most of these countries -- for example, in Moldova -- 30
percent of the country's GDP is coming from remittances. Same thing goes with
Armenia. There is a significant dependence on this, because there is less (ph)
labor migration. So that's one issue.
Another issue is that, from the more operational side of development policy,
it's important that cooperation focuses on health and education projects for
female remittance recipients -- and not just for female remittance recipients,
it's an issue that applies for everyone. But health and education issues
matter for migrants.
Migrants want to improve the health and education of their children. And they
will be interested, for example, in investing in the scholarship funds and
medical insurance for their relatives. The remittance recipient is a person
over 50 years of age in most cases. So they are facing more health challenges
than a younger person. And yet, there is no health facility accessible in most
of these countries that is affordable or efficient.
Then there are issues on financial access. And there, I propose four major
strategies that can be operational at the level of economic development policy
-- one dealing with getting greater access to remittance recipients into the
banking system. The regulatory environment in most of these countries in the
OSCE region do not allow anybody but banks to pay, to make money transfers.
So if you go, for example, here to Western Union to remit money to Armenia or
to Moldova, the recipient has to pick up the remittance and the bank. Yet, the
bank does not offer any financial intermediation. And we have learned that the
assets in cash that these people hold among those who receive remittances is
about $1,000. But it's mostly kept informally. So access to the banking
institutions is essential.
Another important issue is to support microfinance institutions in rural areas,
where at least half of remittances go. This is a different pattern that goes,
for example, in Latin America, where only 40 percent of remittance go to rural
areas. In OSCE countries, it's a higher percentage that goes there.
Microfinance institutions have the ability to work directly with clients who
are remittance recipients. Therefore providing them technical assistance to
work on designing financial products to those people is essential.
The third issue is financial education. We have learned that financial
education does work. It increases people's ability to manage their money,
which provides the means for financial independence. But also it allows them
to save more efficiently.
We developed a pilot project that is about to finalize in Moldova on financial
education. And the results have been quite successful in the fact that people
are opening bank accounts. But more importantly is that they are making the
arithmetic of managing their finances and understanding how to integrate their
remittance earnings with the overall earnings, to calculate that 70 percent of
their earnings is coming from foreign labor from their relatives.
And finally, another issue to operationalize at the development level is to
promote the introduction of new technologies in rural areas for money
transfers. And this specifically deals with mobile transfers. And expanding
mobile technology into rural areas will have a definite effect in economic
development in these countries.
And I thank you for allowing me to speak. Thank you very much.
HASTINGS: (inaudible) Dr. Orozco. I'd like to have Ms. Watson make any
comments she may wish, and then Commissioner McIntyre, and then I'll go to Ms.
Solis for questions.
WATSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having us join this commission. And I
want to thank the witnesses for being here. The question arises -- and I was
just reading your biography, Dr. Martin, is that there seems to be a separation
or a division between women who migrate and women who are refugees.
And I am concerned now about the great number of women who have left war zones
and particularly, of course, Iraq. I understand there are 2.6 million people
that have migrated into the surrounding states. There's a percentage. And
reading through the information here -- 49.6 percent of those who migrate are
women. And do you see a difference in those who become refugees?
And the other issue I want to raise, and I'll just throw it all out there now,
with Dr. Orozco is in the state of California, and in this country as a whole,
the big issue is on illegal immigration. And California, many of the migrants
are being accused -- women in particular are coming across the border having
their children, pregnant women having their children. And so they then become
citizens of the United States.
I wish you would comment, Dr. Martin, on the refugee issue. And I wish you
would comment, Dr. Orozco, on what your studies show in terms of illegal
migration and the reasons and factors and the consequences.
HASTINGS: Why don't you go ahead, Dr. Martin, and Dr. (inaudible).
MARTIN: Yes. I'm glad that you did ask about refugee women, because that is
another component, which I didn't address in my testimony. But I've written
extensively on refugee women's issues.
We estimate that about 75 percent to 80 percent of the world's refugees are
women and their dependent children. And there's a disproportionately high
share of women-headed households amongst those who are displaced as a result of
conflict. There's some research now that indicates that people in effect go as
far as their resources will take them. And a much larger share of those who
flee conflict how are internally displaced. They can't get across
international borders. And therefore they don't become officially refugees.
And we think that both socioeconomic status but also gender affect that
process. So women are less likely to be able to find a safe refuge in the
context of conflict than men are. If you look at the proportion of asylum
seekers in the U.S. and Europe and Australia (ph), wealthier countries, a much
higher proportion are men. They have the resources, both financial and
contacts. And their families are often pushing for them to get as far away
from the conflict then as possible. So there's a huge gender disparity.
Unfortunately for most refugee and displaced women, getting to a refugee or a
displaced persons' camp doesn't signify safety -- that the conflict spills over
into where they are.
I've interviewed many women in Kenya, in Burundi and other -- in Somalia, other
places in Africa as well as in Latin America and Asia -- for whom something as
simple as collecting firewood or water is a risk to life and limb; that the
rape rates amongst women who are going out -- and over time, because there's no
distribution of firewood in most refugee situations, they may have to go 20, 30
kilometers outside of the camp. That puts them at high level of risk.
One of the simplest things that could happen is if donors provided financing
for firewood distribution, fuel distributions in refugee contexts. It's
expensive. And in most cases, if it's a choice between buying food or buying
firewood, aid agencies of course buy the food. But if women are going to be
raped or killed trying to get the firewood to cook the food, it's a (inaudible)
victory in terms of that aid. So lots of problems that come up in that
WATSON: What about the children then?
MARTIN: Children, 50 percent or more of the refugees are children under the
age of 18; problems in terms of access to health care, access to education; big
strides in trying to at least get to primary education. It's happened over the
last 20 years; very limited access to secondary education for any children, and
almost no access to employment after being able to be educated.
Another problem that still remains terrible for children is either forced
recruitment into the military out of either the official or the insurgencies;
or for young girls being trafficked, particularly into sexual exploitative
situations. My first experience with that was 20 years ago on the
Thai-Cambodian border, in which every Sunday, when the aid agencies were out of
the camp, the brothel owners were in the camp rounding up girls to bring to
Bangkok. And this happens throughout the world. So major problems for
HASTINGS: Dr. Orozco.
OROZCO: Thank you. Illegal migration is a pattern that happens all over the
world. And we looked at, for example, these citizens from CIS countries going
to Russia. And they have as much irregular presence as there is in the United
States; same thing in Western Europe and elsewhere in the world. What it does
reflect (ph) is rather a reality which is a lack of commensurability between
public policy and global demand for foreign labor and demographic shifts in the
And to some extent, the -- I'm trying to find the right word, not to pick the
right word -- the inability perhaps of politicians to come to terms if we need
to find a balance between the issues that come across. With regard to the
question on the issues of women crossing borders and having babies to get their
citizenship, I think that's predominantly an anecdotal pattern or explanation.
And to tell you the truth, it's very crude and short-sighted approach; because
you can cross the border and have you baby. That doesn't mean that is going to
make him automatically a U.S. citizen, or a citizen of Russia or anywhere else.
And the cost of investing in that child to get your access to the benefits
that the polity will provide you are not going to outweigh the challenges of
(inaudible) of dealing with that.
And, you know, we've seen many women who are deported, even though their
children are U.S. citizens. And so I think it's more an anecdotal situation.
I think the main issue is that illegal migration is a reality that we're having
a hard time to cope with. And we need to come with answers that deal with
immigration reform issues, legalization of people, as well as deportation and
streamlining of the process. But every single county in the world, not just in
the United States, is dealing exactly with the same issue. And no one wants to
WATSON: May I have one more comment?
WATSON: Just as a follow-up. In listening to the two of you, my concerns are
do women and their children return home? What is the typical amount of time
they stay as a migrant somewhere else? And under what conditions can they go
back home and continue a normal life? And I'll just end by saying this is
something that the Helsinki Commission needs to look at.
You know, what will stabilize these women and their children. Most of them
have children. We were in Chad -- 250,000 refugees, most of them women and
children with blank looks in their eyes. And they're trying to do some
schooling. But my concern is once they migrate, legally or illegally or
whatever the conditions are that force them to do that, how soon do they
return, if they return, under what condition? And how can we help them?
MARTIN: If I could start, I think that's a very variable process. I think
there are a lot of people who migrate temporarily or keep circulated return
WATSON: Have you done much research that way?
MARTIN: The research is very -- it's not very good on return patterns. For
the U.S., for example, we have immigration data. We don't have emigration
data. We don't know who leaves and how long it's been since they leave. There
are people -- one of my colleagues, (inaudible) Center, has been doing
estimations for what that period of stay is.
And it varies tremendously depending on whether -- and the biggest factor is
children, that historically it's been a tendency that migrants will return
within five years, if they're going to return at all, or after retirement. But
as soon as they have children in the school system, they're here. And they're
likely to remain permanently, or at least until retirement age. And that's a
pattern we've seen throughout history.
I want to add a thing to what Manuel said. When I directed the Commission on
Immigration Reform, we looked very much into this issue of whether women were
crossing to have babies for citizenship. And I agree very much with his
assessment, because what we found was that women were here and therefore had
babies, not that women were pregnant and therefore came here to have their
babies. They came for a variety of other reasons. But it's been human nature,
a fair number had children.
WATSON: That anecdote is used in California all the time. You can verify it.
And it's very troubling, because I don't see that. And in our schools, of
course, there's been a growth in the migrant children. But I don't see that.
We hear it all the time. You know, that's a big issue in this country. It's a
big issue in California. And we have not agreed on how to deal with it. So
it's fair to all.
But I would like, as you go back and report, that we really take a look on how
do we return people to the most optimum -- women particularly and their
children -- if return is optimal. So anyway, that's something that we can
follow up on.
HASTINGS: Thank you, Ms. Watson.
SOLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank the members of the
Women's Caucus and women who are here on the dais with us, members of Congress;
because I think it really does symbolize that we do care very deeply. This is
such a complex issue. I think we're almost talking about two different
scenarios. One is what's happening with OSCE, European countries and Central
Asia, Russia. And then also what our experience is here domestically.
And there are a little different. And I want to touch and try to get your
response from that. I know in the E.U. right now, there are some states or
countries that have attempted to implement very spectified (ph) migration. For
example in Spain, they will allow women to come in, low-skilled women, with the
idea that they'll go back home, because their children don't come with them.
So they are on a restricted kind of a plan.
And I want to know if Dr. Orozco or Dr. Martin, you could touch on, you know,
what you've learned from that.
There's also this notion about a blue card, which is our equivalent to the H-1B
program, which also has other implications. And I would like you to touch base
And then also the issue of remittances, the fact that women -- I believe I saw
an article that staff provided to us. It indicated that overwhelmingly, women
from Indonesia, who are migrating or come up to Europe have a higher proportion
of sending back remittances. And what impact has that had there? Because
sometimes we forget to look on the ledger what the positive consequences are of
that sending country. And if you could just touch on those items.
And we could start with Dr. Orozco.
OROZCO: Thank you. I think in Western Europe, there is a process right now of
experimentation by trial and error on migration policy. And Spain has focused,
for example, on a particular experience with bilateral migration relationships
And there, they have the belief, more than the knowledge and the facts, that
there is going to be a process of circular migration that will be short
term-based, where migrants will come to Spain, and then they will go back. And
they figured that one way to do that is by establishing a type of specialized
I think the evidence shows that the situation is more relative. Migrants in
general, regardless of where you're from and where you're going, live on their,
what we call, the illusion of impermanence. We all, once you leave your
country, you say you're going back tomorrow. But circumstances definitely
changes those dynamics, those expectations. And as Susan said, you know, if
you have family, you are less likely to return back home.
The Western Europe countries are focusing a lot on this issue of circular
migration. And they believe that this is, you know, the equivalence of a guest
worker program European style; may have positive implications. And I think it
will have positive effects among some, especially developing countries in
Europe. But it will also have adverse effects on other migrants that are in
high demand -- for example, Asians and Africans -- but are less prepared for
other reasons than migration itself.
Race is one of them. There is definitely a -- not an open, but a passive
preference for, for example, Hispanic migrants, migrants from Latin America
than migrants from Africa. So, you know, we cannot neglect those issues.
When it comes to remittance and gender, there is definitely the case that,
depending on where women enter into the labor force, they will be more likely
to remit more or less money. For example, Asian women working in the
hospitality industry, either as caretakers or in the entertainment industry,
are going to be of a higher percentage.
An example is the Dominican women in Switzerland. There are about 60,000
Dominicans in Switzerland. Three-quarters of them are females. And, you know,
we don't like to talk about what they do, because you come with normative moral
value judgment. But the fact of the matter is that they are there responding
to a lower market of entertainment. Many Swiss tourists came to the Dominican
Republic. They fell in love with the women. And then we have 60,000 women
So in that case, you see higher percent of women remitting. But in other
places -- for example, we'll see it in the Netherlands -- African women,
Ghanians, remit less than their male counterparts. And that's because their
access to employment is lower. They are on welfare. The welfare state
inhibits you from remitting, because you have lower earnings. So there are
variations depending on where you are.
MARTIN: If I could add, I'm personally very skeptical of large-scale temporary
work programs as a solution for a number of reasons. When people are admitted
for a temporary purpose into a permanent job, it usually doesn't work. The
employer wants the person to remain, once they're trained and operating well.
The migrant begins to develop equities, want to stay within the country,
develop ties, things of that sort.
I think very targeted programs, seasonal programs, can work, because the term
of employment is short-term. The type of employment which has a particular
cycle -- you know, an 18-month development cycle for a product might work on
that. But when you start to rely on temporary worker programs to deal with
permanent shortages in your labor market, I think you're in for a recipe for
To me, what has been the best thing about American immigration over the years
is that we have tended to admit people for permanent residence with the idea
that they're going to become members of our society. That expectation
historically has been from the start. Historically, that a quarter have
returned home. That happens. It's their choice. And sometimes it's because
they've succeeded. Sometimes it's because they failed on that.
But we organized our immigration program, or we have in the past, around
integration of immigrants, around the expectation that they will stay and
become Americans. I think we're moving off of that paradigm. I think the high
level of mistolerance for illegal migration is undermining that concept. And I
think that too great a reliance on temporary worker programs, when people
eventually stay in large numbers, means that you're delaying the process of
integration. And I think for us as a country, there are some real dangers in
SOLIS: (inaudible) wanted to ask about remittances. I know we didn't touch
too much on it. But I know in, for example, Latin America, there are groups
here in the states that will send monies back to, say, Mexico or different
parts of Latin America. And they set up different programs for health care,
for acquisition of property or capital outlay. They purchase buildings and
build hospitals and clinics.
And I'd like to know what pattern there is in the OSCE states that participate
or countries, and if you could elaborate on that.
OROZCO: Yes. These are basically the nations that migrants make when they are
abroad as an organized group of (inaudible) we call them hometown associations.
And they vary from different type of nature. They might be professional-based
groups, construction-based associations, for example. In Kurdistan, there are
groups of Kurds, construction workers that basically try to collect some money
to help the local community which they come from.
But the pattern is similar to Latin America. I think it's less as developed as
it is here, partly because here they're seeing (ph) more of a longer process.
Migration from CIS countries to Russia is relatively new. It's not
On the other hand, if you look at Armenia, for example, you do have a large
number of associations in Los Angeles, for example. There's a large Armenian
community that is organized, not as much as we think it is. But they are
raising funds. Predominantly they work on church-related activities, not on
other type of development-related philanthropy.
So they exist, and they can be a source of leveraging for cooperation. But I
think the most important one is the family-to-family money transfers. That's
where the billions of dollars go to.
MARTIN: Could I add one thing on that? One of the areas where I think the
E.U. is a bit ahead of us, in thinking about this connection between migration
and development, are policies that they refer to as co-development, where their
development agencies work with migrant associations and (inaudible) in trying
to do what Manuel was talking about in his testimony -- of trying to integrate
migration more into development and planning.
We don't yet do -- they don't do it very well yet. I'm not saying that it's
necessarily a perfect system. But I would certainly like to see some type of
migration impact statement in all development planning and programming, so that
we look at both sides of the development-migration connection. Is the
development program dealing with the migration pressures? And is the migration
of people being taken into account in how our development programs are being
implemented. And their hometown associations, I think, do play a role.
MOORE: Well, thank you so much, Mr. President.
This has been a very fascinating discussion. And my brain has been sort of
buzzing, because I can't decide whether migration is a good thing or a bad
thing. I mean, it seems to be the perils in migration for children. Some of
the materials and testimony we've had sort of indicate that when children
migrate with women, there are problems with educational opportunity often.
Street children -- we didn't talk about that specifically. But at the same
time, there are remittances that places like Moldova are very, very dependent
I have a lot of questions. But I don't want to hog all the time. But I'm
going to start with Dr. Orozco. I don't know how to turn this off.
HASTINGS: There's a question coming in.
MOORE: Yes. OK.
Dr. Orozco, you've done a lot of work in your studies on remittances. And so I
wanted to know, particularly since women -- the migration patterns for women,
tend to be East Asia, the Pacific, Europe, and Central Asia and Latin America,
to your -- perhaps there are a lot of Muslim women who are migrating. I'm
wondering how has our post-9/11 anti-money-laundering restrictions -- what
impact that's had on migrants to remit money.
OROZCO: Thank you. You know, we work on migration all the time. And we
struggle with the issue -- the normative aspect of whether migration is good
and bad. And we are right at the conclusion that we must look at it from a
policy perspective, and a normative perspective. And my analogy is to ask the
question whether commuting is good or bad for families and societies.
And, you know, commuting (inaudible) is a form of migration. You have this
mobilization of people through outside of urban areas, for example.
OROZCO: But on the issue of 9/11, I think it has posed a number of challenges,
especially for money transfer companies; because the regulatory environment has
been more strict on international foreign currency payments, in a way that the
banking institutions, that's all the accounts for money transfers to operate on
the back-end process have received sometimes not mixed signals, but strong
signals from the U.S. government saying that money transfers are to be
And then if you look at the place where the high risk is located, it's in
places, in countries, where there is an ideological U.S. foreign policy
component. So you are likely to, for example, scrutinize more the behavior of
the Pakistani and Afghani person permitting than a Somali. I mean, the
Somalian case that is a sad case of so much discrimination to a large extent of
Somalians in the U.S. trying to remit formally through Western Union, for
example, is not allowed.
MOORE: What about in the OSCE area?
OROZCO: The OSCE area, the pattern is not the -- the patterning of the risk
layer is not as high as it is here. On the other hand, even though I'm
critical of the U.S. government issuing risk, I think in this country,
anti-money-laundering regulatory environments are very primitive, very poor.
And compliance doesn't exist.
For example, many of these countries don't even have laws for anti-money
laundering. If you talk to the banks paying remittances, they have no idea how
to identify what constitutes a suspicious activity. They tell you well, it is
under $3,000. We flag the transaction. But you can buy an AK-47 for $50.
OROZCO: So it's an issue that you have to look at outside of whether it is
Muslim or not descended, because that actually can bias your perspective. That
can be Manuel Orozco sending remittances from Moscow to (inaudible). I mean, I
can be doing some criminal activity and not flag.
So that issue is important to look into. It pertains to gender. The reality
is that, if there are restrictions, women will be as likely as men to resort to
informal networks. And informal networks are strong in all of these regions,
partly because the infrastructure is poor, because also the regulatory
environment only allow banks to pay remittances.
And if, for example, a country like Azerbaijan -- 60 percent of the country is
poor and rural. And you only have banks that do not go to rural areas. Same
thing with Moldova: a very good banking system, but the savings and
(inaudible) associations that operate in Moldova in rural areas do not have the
possibility to pay from it. So that encourages informality. And that's an
issue that we need to pay attention.
MOORE: Just to follow up with one more question, Mr. Chairman.
I'm looking at a data from the World Bank research programs. And I just am
amazed by their research about the migration flows, Dr. Martin and Dr. Orozco.
It says the gender composition of migration flows to the main destination
countries in the north. And they differ by region. Flows from Africa, South
Asia and the Middle East tend to be male, while flows from East Asia and the
Pacific, Europe, Central Asia and Latina American and the Caribbean tend to be
Do we know why that is? And where are they going? It didn't really say where
they were going? But do we know why that is?
MARTIN: Usually migration occurs through family and labor recruiter networks.
And so you end up that if it's -- and employment is gendered. So if you have
organizations that are recruiting workers for construction and bringing them to
Germany, when Berlin was being reconstructed, they're going to be male. And
likely, they're going to be looking for where those migration patterns are.
On the other hand, if you're looking for domestic workers or looking for
nurses, you're going to go to the Philippines. And it's going to be female.
So in the Philippines, 70 percent is the -- those who migrate from the
Philippines are female.
Mexico is -- much of the migration now, unfortunately, is illegal. And so it's
more likely to be men who will initially take that risk in terms of migration.
Even across the border with Mexico, if you look at apprehension figures, those
who cross between ports of entry, through the desert or the mountains, are
overwhelmingly male. Those who try to use fraudulent documents coming through
ports of entry are predominantly female.
So you do get variations even from the same country in terms of what type of
work they're coming for; but also what the possible modes of migration are.
MOORE: Just in terms of the United States, there seems to be some suggestion
that male migrants to the United States are more successful in labor force
participation and integration than females are; and that there are more
catastrophic problems for women who come to the United States. Is that...
MARTIN: I would certainly not characterize it in that way. I think because a
lot of our migration is initially still male migration coming in because there
are needs in the job market, the men may tend to have higher employment rates
and higher labor participation rates. They're actually higher in many cases
than natives are.
The women are still more likely to be following to join (ph) often coming from
countries where there isn't a high level of female labor force participation.
And so their labor force rates are going to be lower. Actually once in the
labor force, very often their employment rates are higher than men, because
they're able to get jobs. But the chances are they're not going to look for
them unless it's absolutely essential in terms of the family household strategy.
So I don't think that female migration poses an economic harm to the United
HASTINGS: Thank you, all. Dr. Martin and Dr. Orozco, thank you very much for
your empiricizing the particularly complex issue in the OSCE's sphere as well
as more directly related to our country. Regrettably, this institution deals
with the societal emotions. And the manifestation of that comes out in a way
that I think causes us not to be able to do the things that are vital in policy
that we should be doing. And I appreciate very much that both of you have
given us some policy direction that is valuable.
I don't have a question. But I would only add one or two anecdotes. And then
I'll say to you, Dr. Orozco, that I listened very carefully, as I did to Dr.
Martin and my colleagues. And I find it interesting that you got through this
whole one hour and a half without saying Kosovo or Bosnia.
And when you speak in terms of Central Asia, you did point to, and it's
correct, where we have some direct policy relationships and/or diplomatic
relationships, we tend to highlight and gather data and publicize that data.
But there are two countries in Central Asia that have the exact same migration
issues that their neighbors do -- Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. And they are
all, in many respects interrelated, because the transient points, the
transmigration, all of those things happen.
One other thing that I regret, but I believe both of you would know. And that
is that our colleague, Chris Smith, the ranking member of the commission,
couldn't be with us. Like Ms. Solis, I'm really proud of the fact that, in the
parliamentary assembly, she is my special representative on migration. And
Congressman Smith is the special representative on human trafficking and has
spent a substantial amount of his time and career in dealing with that subject
and does have a wealth of information. And I just would point to that.
Another thing is both of you got through this without saying Canada. And here
again, you know, when we focus about migration and immigration into the United
States part of the OSCE sphere, we tend to leave our northern neighbors off to
the side, who have an immensely complex immigration and migration and border
security issues of similar import to our own.
Many of the remedies that you offer should, and rightly are, based in world
organizations -- the WTO, the World Bank, the United Nations and all of those
areas. Unfortunately, what doesn't happen in something this complex is it
cannot be reduced to a bumper sticker. And it's hard to put it in one or two
And once you get the kind of data that you all have collected in your careers,
regrettably, even when it is sent to our offices, even when we have immense
staff and diverse staff and staff who are directly interested, it becomes
absolutely too much information for us to digest and to come forward with
If we do not, the level of intolerance that is developing in the OSCE sphere
and in the United States of America specifically is going to have a devastating
impact on us.
One anecdote that substantiates what you said, Dr. Martin, about temporary
employment circumstance: We find businesses, multi-national corporations, U.S.
corporations, specifically interested in H1-B visas and bringing in highly
skilled and technical work. An example took place in the congressional
district that I serve of 19 math teachers. Thank you, Gwen -- 19 math.
MOORE: I hate to leave (inaudible). Got to go for a vote (inaudible).
HASTINGS: Not a problem. And thank you for bringing Tori. The Florida
Atlantic University in Boca Raton participated in bringing 19 math teachers
from the Asian continent to St. Lucie and Martin Counties to teach an
underserved area. One of the things that needs to happen is we need to get on
the same page in many of these instances, not (inaudible), but certainly the
coordination of federal agencies.
On a given day, the homeland security people just decided they were going to
pick up all 19 of those people. And it was in the middle of the school year.
As a matter of fact, it was two month ago. They were going to pick them up and
send them home. I read about it in the newspaper. And so I got my office
involved and the people at Florida Atlantic University. And of course, over
time, the exception was made.
But just think about the impact of that. Here we have the 19 math teachers.
Obviously, we don't have enough math teachers. I might add every last one of
them was extremely popular with the students and doing extraordinary work and
what have you. All of them had been vetted -- no relationship to terrorism or
anything like that. And yet, they were talking about sending them home.
So we need to be very careful. And you all have so much information. I hope
my colleagues way beyond the commission, but in the other committee will spend
that kind of time. And I'm especially indebted to Ms. Solis for her extra
effort. And even though we didn't have a large attendance, we did have a large
attendance of members. And it manifests their interest. And that's largely
attributable to the extraordinary work she did in recruiting them to come here
for this important hearing.
One other thing that I've complained about, the commission itself is not a
congressional committee. So matters like the Congress Daily and the
Congressional Quarterly and The Hill and Roll Call, they will report the
hearings that we have that are important like this.
But I happened to note yesterday, of all the things I read, I turned to the
Congressional Quarterly. And I was interested. And Fred and others on the
staff will know that I reached out to the editors and told them we have some
pretty significant hearings over here. And a lot of folk would like to know
what we are doing.
But I picked up the Congressional Quarterly and, without going through the
front of it, I just turned. I said I'll bet you it's in here, but it's in the
back. It's the back page. OK? So that's how important some others attach not
only to this hearing, but others that we have had as well.
What you've had to say here today in this limited period of time is something
that would be very beneficial if the 435 policy makers and the five delegates
that I work with and certainly everybody in the United States Senate -- if they
were to hear it and understand how you approach it with the calm, professional,
empirical backup of the things you're saying, then we'd get rid of some of the
myth, we get rid of some of the anecdotal information that is exclusive only to
that individual and not to the masses, we'd get rid of some of the stereotypes.
And guess what? We might fool around and get ourselves some kind of
comprehensive immigration policy.
Thank you, all, so very much.
MARTIN: Thank you.
OROZCO: Thank you.
[Whereupon the hearing ended at 11:42 a.m.]