Intelligence and Migration: Cases from North America, for Need to Know 6 in Sweden

Thumbnail Image

Persistent link to this item

View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Intelligence and Migration: Cases from North America, for Need to Know 6 in Sweden

Published Date



Polish Institute for National Remembrance, sponsor of the annual "Need to Know" conferences on intelligence history


Conference Paper
Scholarly Text or Essay


The USA and Canada receive migrants from every part of the world. Many are legal immigrants and some are illegal or undocumented immigrants (about 11 million in the USA of a population of about 324 million, or ~ 3.4% of the total US population in 2016). Syrians, North Africans, Afghans and Iraqi refugees are the biggest immigration demographics in Europe and each occur here but in North America other ethnicities predominate, especially Latin Americans and Asians. 21st century terrorism has increased concerns about immigrants, especially undocumented or illegal immigrants. There is a long history of such concerns in North America beginning with Native American fears of the tidal wave of Europeans entering after 1492. What happened to them is one lesson security professionals must consider. The natives were nearly wiped out over a period of centuries, often by direct aggression, but more by disease and exile to harsh and barren lands. That lesson is that if large numbers of immigrants with aggressive birth rates come, they can take over entire continents in just a few centuries. But our vigorous and interesting continent has also been “built by immigrants” who remain very important to national economies today. Immigrant populations of special interest to modern US intelligence services include: Cubans (who enjoy a special immigration status and intelligence significance). Somalians (targeted for recruitment for foreign wars by Al Shabaab and ISIS). Colombians (and other South and Central Americans, of special interest in drug wars). Mexicans (the same except that Mexicans and their descendants are also very involved in domestic US agriculture, construction, health care, and every job description). Chinese (of special national security concern for economic and technical espionage). Poles, Romanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Slovenes, Czech’s, and all Eastern European ethnicities (of special relevance during the ‘Cold War,’ now warming up again). We will survey these ethnic groups with respect to three broader themes: A. National security concerns like counterterrorism and counter proliferation (of WMD). B. The drug wars. C. Economic espionage and cybersecurity concerns (related, but also quite different).


These "Need to Know" conferences are often focused on Eastern and Northern Europe due to their sponsors and practical limitations. But I often brought them comparative cases from North America on whatever theme they chose, which was migration on this year due to the surge of refugees from Syria and other Middle East states.

Related to



Series/Report Number

Funding information

This paper was presented at an annual conference on intelligence history and issues sponsored by Poland's Institute on National Remembrance dedicated to recording and remembering may failures of intelligence systems which can turn into servants of police-states all too easily.

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

Suggested citation

Andregg, Michael M.. (2016). Intelligence and Migration: Cases from North America, for Need to Know 6 in Sweden. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.