image

Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow

Expertise

U.S. economic competitiveness; U.S. trade policy; visa and immigration policy.

Bio

Edward Alden is the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness. In addition, Mr. Alden is the director of the CFR Renewing America publication series and co-author of the recent CFR Working Paper Managing Illegal Immigration to the United States. The former Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, his work focuses on immigration and visa policy, and on U.S. trade and international economic policy.

Mr. Alden was the project co-director of the 2011 Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy, which was co-chaired by former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and former Senate majority leader Thomas Daschle. He was also the project director for the 2009 Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy.

Mr. Alden is the author of the book The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration, and Security Since 9/11 (HarperCollins), which was named a 2009 finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for nonfiction writing. The judges called it "a masterful job of comprehensive reporting, fair-minded analysis, and structurally sound argumentation." His forthcoming book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, and How to Get Ahead, focuses on the federal government’s failure to respond effectively to the competitive challenges on issues as trade, currency, worker re-training, education, infrastructure and support for innovation.

Mr. Alden was previously the Canadian bureau chief for the Financial Times based in Toronto, and before that was a reporter at the Vancouver Sun specializing in labor and employment issues. He also was the managing editor of the newsletter Inside U.S. Trade, widely recognized as the leading source of reporting on U.S. trade policies. He has won several national and international awards for his reporting. Mr. Alden has done numerous TV and radio appearances as an analyst on political and economic issues, including NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, McLaughlin Group, NPR, the BBC, CNN, and MSNBC. His work has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the Japan Times, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. He is the coauthor, with Franz Schurmann, of Democratic Politics and World Order, a monograph published by Berkeley's Institute of International Studies in 1990.

Mr. Alden holds a master's degree in international relations from the University of California, Berkeley, and pursued doctoral studies before returning to a journalism career. He also has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of British Columbia. He was the winner of numerous academic awards, including a Mellon fellowship in the humanities and a MacArthur Foundation graduate fellowship.

Restoring America's Economic Competitiveness

Over the past half century, the United States has gone from being a relatively self-sufficient economy to one that is far more deeply integrated into the global economy. That transformation means that the prosperity and ultimately the security of the United States now depends far more on America's success in global markets. Yet government policy, especially at the federal level, has not adapted well to this new reality. In my forthcoming book, Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy, and How to Get Ahead, I argue that the federal government has repeatedly failed to respond effectively to the competitive challenges of this new era on such issues as trade, currency, worker re-training, education, infrastructure and support for innovation. I am also pursuing these topics through the Renewing America Publication Series, which includes policy papers and progress reports on critical issues related to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, blog posts, and a roundtable series on American competitiveness.

This project is made possible through the support of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation.

Immigration Reform: Prospects and Challenges

The U.S. government has tried and failed over the past decade to reform its outdated and ineffective policies on immigration. The current system, based largely on a law passed by Congress in 1965, fails to attract immigrants needed by the U.S. economy and is ineffective at discouraging unauthorized immigration. Beginning with my book The Closing of the American Border on how the September 11 attacks affected U.S. immigration policies and continuing through the Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, for which I was the project director, I have been examining the substantive challenges of creating an immigration system that boosts the U.S. economy while securing its borders. One critical piece of that challenge is better data and research that improves the measurement of enforcement effectiveness, and enhances public understanding of what enforcement can and cannot do to prevent unauthorized immigration. My work on immigration includes a recent CFR Working Paper on border enforcement, speeches, articles and congressional testimony related to immigration reform, as well as a roundtable series on U.S. immigration and visa policies.

This project is made possible through the support of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation.

Featured Publications

All Publications

Article Author: Edward Alden
World Politics Review

Edward Alden writes that skilled workers, frustrated by the tight U.S. quotas on work visas and the long waits for permanent residency, are being lured by other countries that have overhauled their immigration laws and promise a smoother transition to a new life.

See more in Immigration

Recent Activity from Renewing America

CFR Events

Meeting ⁄ New York

Renewing America Series: The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy

Speakers Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

, Maria Teresa Kumar

President and Chief Executive Officer, Voto Latino

, Doris M. Meissner

Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute; Former Commissioner, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; *via videoconference from Washington, DC


Presider Julia Preston

National Immigration Correspondent, New York Times

October 28, 2015 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.


12:30 to 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Meeting 

October 28, 2015

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen Watch

Meeting

Media Call: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal

Speakers Sheila A. Smith

Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

, Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow and Director of the Renewing America Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations


Presider Michael A. Levi

David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

October 6, 2015 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

October 6, 2015

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Meeting ⁄ Washington

The Trade Deficit: Is It a Problem or Not?

Speakers Robert D. Atkinson

President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation 

, Daniel J. Ikenson

Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute

, Robert A. Blecker

Professor, Department of Economics, American University 

, Derek Scissors

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute


Presider Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

March 9, 2015

This meeting is on the record.

Watch

Meeting

Assessing Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

Speaker Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


Presider Robert McMahon

Editor, CFR.org

November 21, 2014

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Meeting

Immigration Reform

Speaker Edward Alden

Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


Moderator Irina A. Faskianos

Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations

September 11, 2013 12:00–1:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Meeting

Edward Alden and Shannon K. O'Neil on Immigration and Border Security

Speakers Edward Alden

Council on Foreign Relations

, Shannon K. O'Neil

Council on Foreign Relations


Presider Robert McMahon

Council on Foreign Relations

May 14, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Meeting

Update on the CFR-Sponsered Independent Task Force Report on U.S. Immigration Policy

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Project Director, Richard D. LandPresident, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention; Task Force Member, Eliseo MedinaInternational Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union; Task Force Member
Presider Edward Schumacher-MatosOmbudsman, NPR
February 14, 2013 8:00–8:30 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
8:30–9:30 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S. Trade and Investment Policy: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force

Speakers Andrew H. CardBush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University; Member,, Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade Policy, Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Project Codirector, Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade Policy, Matthew J. SlaughterAdjunct Senior Fellow for Business and Globalization, Council on Foreign Relations; Project Codirector, Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade Policy
October 17, 2011 7:45–8:00 a.m. - Breakfast
8:00–9:00 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Washington

U.S. Trade and Investment Policy: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force

Speakers Andrew H. CardActing Dean, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University; Task Force Co-Chair, Thomas A. DaschleSenior Policy Adviser, DLA Piper US LLC; Task Force Co-Chair, Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Co-Project Director, Matthew J. SlaughterAdjunct Senior Fellow for Business and Globalization, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Co-Project Director
Presider David WesselEconomics Editor, "Wall Street Journal"
September 19, 2011 8:30–9:00 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
9:00–10:00 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting

Corporate Program Conference Call: Obama's Speech on Job Creation

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Director of the forthcoming CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, A. Michael SpenceDistinguished Visiting Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Christopher AlessiAssociate Staff Writer, CFR.org
September 8, 2011 2:30–3:30 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S. Immigration Policy: Report of a CFR Sponsored Independent Task Force Report

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Director, CFR Sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, Thomas F. McClarty IIIPresident, McLarty Associates; former White House Chief of Staff; Task Force Co-Chair, CFR Sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, Frances Fragos TownsendPartner, Baker Botts, LLP; Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Task Force Member, CFR Sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy
Presider Edward Schumacher-MatosDirector, Harvard Immigration and Integration Studies Project, and Adjunct Lecturer, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
October 22, 2009 5:30–6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00–7:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Washington

U.S. Immigration Policy: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force

Speakers Jeb BushPresident, Jeb Bush and Associates, LLC; Former Governor of Florida; Task Force Co-Chair, Mark McLartyPresident, McLarty Associates; Former White House Chief of Staff; Task Force Co-Chair, Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Director
Presider Mark WhitakerSenior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, NBC News
July 8, 2009 8:30–9:00 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
9:00–10:15 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Washington

The President's Inbox: Asia and the Economy

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Caroline AtkinsonAdjunct Senior Fellow for International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations, Elizabeth C. EconomyC.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Sebastian MallabyDirector of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies; Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics; Deputy Director of Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
February 19, 2009 6:00–6:30 p.m. - Reception
6:30–7:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting

The Closing of the American Border

Speaker Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, "The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration, and Security Since 9/11"
Presider Warren BassDeputy Editor, Outlook, The Washington Post
September 17, 2008 6:15–6:30 p.m. - Registration and Reception
6:30–7:30 p.m. - Meeting
7:30–8:30 p.m. - Cocktail Reception

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Meeting ⁄ Mineapolis

2008 Foreign Policy Symposium: Foreign Policy Challenges Facing the Next Administration

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Kim R. HolmesVice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation, Benn SteilSenior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Richard N. HaassPresident, Council on Foreign Relations
September 2, 2008

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Denver

2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable on International Relations: Luncheon Discussion: Foreign Policy Challenges Facing the Next Administration

Speakers Madeleine K. AlbrightChairman, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; Former U.S. Secretary of State, Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Robert D. CoombeChancellor, University of Denver, Elizabeth C. EconomyC.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Tom J. FarerDean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, John HickenlooperMayor, City of Denver, Jim PolsfutChairman, 2008 Rocky Mountain Roundtable
Presider Richard N. HaassPresident, Council on Foreign Relations
August 27, 2008

This meeting is on the record.

Read ListenWatch

Meeting ⁄ Washington

U.S. Trade Policy at a Crossroads: What the People Really Want

Speakers Edward AldenBernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Bruce StokesInternational Economics Columnist, "National Journal"; Journalism Fellow, The German Marshall Fund
Presider Nancy E. RomanVice President and Director, Washington Program, Council on Foreign Relations
May 22, 2007 6:00–6:30 p.m. - Reception
6:30–7:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Read Listen

Press/Panels

Article

Don't Blame Nafta

In The New York Times, Edward Alden discusses the danger of making definite judgements about trade agreements.

Article

Can Congress Strike A Deal On Trade?

In his blog the Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan highlights Edward Alden's assessment of the benefits and drawbacks of opening the United States to more international trade.

Video Interview

Opinion: Rhetoric vs. Reality on Immigration

On the Wall Street Journal's "Market Watch," Edward Alden discusses the gap between rhetoric and reality in the current immigration debate and its role in the 2012 presidential election.

Watch

Panel

Immigration Policy, Deportations, and National Security

At this Princeton University event, "Immigration Policy, Deportations and National Security," Edward Alden discusses the changed relationship between U.S. national and border security after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Watch

Panel

Panel on Border Security

At this National Journal Conference on Border Security panel, Edward Alden offers commentary on current security and trade issues associated with the U.S.-Canada border.

Watch