Comment on Blocher and Gulati, “Competing for Refugees: A Market-Based Solution to a Humanitarian Crisis

HRLR Online September 8, 2016
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Peter H. Schuck is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School.

The authors have graciously asked me to comment on their interesting and welcome proposal, and I am happy to do so. One must applaud all efforts to ameliorate the horrendous problem of refugee flows, one that is vastly greater today than in 1997 when I advanced my own “modest proposal” for refugee burden-sharing. The current Syrian refugee crisis alone demonstrates the utter bankruptcy of the international system of refugee protection. Alas, there are all too many other such crises, albeit on a smaller scale that receive far less publicity.

The Blocher-Gulati proposal, then, is both welcome and provocative. As readers appraise it, I reiterate a point that I made about my own at the time: “[a]lthough the proposal entails many problems, virtually all of those problems already exist, sometimes to an even greater degree, in the current system. For this reason, I urge readers to keep the “compared to what” question firmly in mind as they ponder these problems.”

In my brief comments, I shall begin by making several small points and then turn to what I regard as the most serious flaw in their proposal.

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