"Europe has never got to grips with the migration crisis"

"You need a plan and you need to manage it"

Bruce Morrison, former Congressman of ‘Morrison Visa’ fame and Chairman of Morrison Public Affairs Group in Washington D.C. was in studio with George today.

He was awarded a 'Peace Builder' award by President Michael D Higgins at a ceremony in Dublin yesterday for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Mr Morrison is best known here for pioneering the US Immigration Reform Act in 1990, which legislated for nearly 50,000 visas for Irish immigrants (known as the Morrison Visa scheme).  

As well as discussing his time working on immigration reform he discussed working with Bill Clinton on the peace process in Northern Ireland. 

As Bruce has worked on immigration reform for decades George asked him what he thought of the current migrant crisis in Europe.

You can listen to the full interview here; 

Commenting on the current situation in Europe where people are moving Bruce says "it is not a good thing to have people have the sense that they can go anywhere in the world and that there is not a plan."

"Because then things are out of control and people in the country where they are arriving are scared to death because they don't know are there plans for these people?"

Europe has no immigration plan

He says Europe has failed to plan for migration; "the Europeans haven't planned for this in any way, shape or form. And really they were botching what was happening in North Africa...People were coming across and the Italians were taking the brunt of it and the rest of the European Union wasn't very interested in stepping up"

"If they (European Union) had been more organised about that migration then the Syrian migration could have been handled more easily."


Regarding the Syrian migrant crisis he says that "people who move out of a war zone like Syria ultimately need to go back and repopulate Syria... Otherwise Syria will be vacated of all of its talent... you need to manage it so its not a permanent displacement of people."

"Once your resettle people in a new place they are less likely to go back. It is better to try to house people close to their country and to make it a priority to create a ceasefire.. so you can have a resettlement quickly."

"It is not good for Syria to have their best and the brightest in Dusseldorf"

"You need a plan and you need to manage it"

On whether Europe has a plan Bruce says "Europe, in my view, has never got to grips with the migration question...The lack of planning about migration leads to a crisis being much worse than if you have a structure."


He shared with George what America has learnt about integration saying that "integration has to do with whether you say to people 'become an American'." As opposed to "'we'll let you work for a number of years' and then when they are no longer needed they are there but not integrated."

"The most important thing is to say to people 'Become one of us'."

European borders

Bruce says the rules need to be "meaningful" and they need to be "enforced". "Europe has decided on open borders within Europe, than Europe needs an uniform immigration policy for Europe as a whole." 

Bruce Morrison's advice for Europe;

1) Europe has to act as a community. If one set of borders, needs one set of immigration approaches, in crisis and regular times

2) Learn from the crisis. The clearer you are about the rules the better because "if there are no clear rules people will certainly not obey them".

3) The current crisis is a "humanitarian crisis now". It should be responded to in an humanitarian way but the goal should be to bring a ceasefire to Syria and allow people to go home".