Migration flows and the USA: interview with Professor Nikolaos Zahariadis

“The USA must talk to the home countries of the migrants trying to understand if they are leaving for political or economic issues”. This is the suggestion by the “Mertie Buckman” Emeritus Professor of Rhodes College Nikolaos Zahariadis to the White House who has intervened during the debate “Is Migrant Despair Europe’s Only Hope?” organized at the Center for American Studies. After having revealed his personal doubts on the EU agreement with Turkey and the Dublin regulation, Zahariadis has accepted to answer to few questions on how the USA are dealing with the ongoing migration flows.


Few days ago President Trump visited the Border Patrol in California to select the typology of wall to build on the Mexican border. What do you think about the possible implementation of this policy he promised in his electoral campaign?

Trump is going to try to deliver whether it will be the kind of wall that he did not envision. Who is going to pay for it? Of course the American tax payers will pay for it, even though if he promised it will not be the case. I do not think his proposal will be successful at the end partly because the allure of coming to the north is significant and no wall will keep people out. It will just make it more expensive and far more dangerous but it is not going to address the problem.


What kind of developments could be put in place on migration issues with the arrival of the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo?

Probably the US have to look at more and more significantly on why people are leaving rather than staying at the home country. It is leaving the more long-term issue. The USA have to talk to the home countries of these migrants and try to understand why they are leaving if for political or economic issues, and try to work with them addressing them. In my opinion is always important to address this and politics and economics will come alone because financial aid that addresses people’s needs not governments’ needs is the answer.


What kind of judgement can you give to the role of the US into the ongoing migration flows into the Mediterranean sea?

The US played a role primarily on local issues such as the opposition to Gheddafi in Lybia. It was a local issue. What US did was a sort of take the lead of the boiling pot and now is overflowing, so in this sense the US did have a role in making things not necessary worst but certainly in manifesting them in ways they did not know before.


Francesco Garibaldi

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