Irrelevance of the US-Mexican wall

25 February 2019 12:21 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • In Florida, Miami has the world’s highest proportion of  foreign-born residents, yet it has had no immigration crisis

  • 75% of American terrorist  incidents have been carried out by locally born whites

 
It’s  time overdue that the misleading myths on immigration are thrown into  the trashcan. They are causing untold damage. 
The fact is that President  Donald Trump’s own government research shows that Mexican migration has  dropped sharply in recent years. In Britain, the Brexit debate which  began with a whipped up crisis about immigration has now moved to a  level where it’s tearing the country apart.  In France and Belgium , immigrants are falsely blamed for Islamic terrorism. In Sweden and  Denmark, the myth-makers have pushed traditionally left of centre  electorates rightwards. 
 
A  new book on the subject, “Blaming Immigrants”, by University of  Columbia Prof. Neeraj Kaushal, says it all. It pulls together most  of the research so far done. Immigration  is one of the most divisive issues of our times. Yet the increase in  immigration globally is largely in line with the growth in world  population. It was 3% in 1990 and in 2015 also 3%. It  needn’t be so divisive given good political, religious and media  leadership. In the US the focus is on the wall. There are far fewer  reports about positive developments in some cities. In New York where  36% are foreign born and the city provides ID cards for illegal migrants.  There’s free health insurance for the children of illegals. Public  universities provide tuition subsidies for illegals- as happens in 22  other states. In Florida, Miami has the world’s highest proportion of  foreign-born residents, yet it has had no immigration crisis. 
 
Our  media don’t highlight the good side of things. How many people are  aware that in the last presidential election the counties bordering  Mexico and most affected by Mexican immigration voted for Hillary  Clinton over Donald Trump? In Austria, the inflow of Syrian refugees  weakened the political support for the large far-right movement. We need  to know why this is so if anti-immigrant forces are to be defeated. Turkey  is one of the most hospitable of all countries. A survey carried out at  the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis found that 73% of respondents  believe that accepting and supporting refugees is a humanitarian  mission. Canada welcomes immigrants and refugees, both skilled and  unskilled. 
There  are many things we don’t understand about the public reaction to and  the cost/benefits of immigration, but some important aspects have been  researched in depth: 
 
 
  • Three-fourths  of Americans believe immigration increases crime. In fact, first  generation immigrants are less criminally inclined than local  populations and the crime rate for both locals and immigrants has been  decreasing almost everywhere for a decade now. During 1992-2016 the  violent crime rate almost halved. 
  • Because  in the last three years, refugees have been coming mainly from the Middle East there’s a widespread assumption in the US and Europe that would-be terrorists are hiding among them. But not a single known terrorist has  entered the US from the Mexican border. 75% of American terrorist  incidents have been carried out by locally born whites. In 2015, there  were 211 terror attacks in Europe but 65% were by separatists and 17% by jihadists.
  • The  costs of a restrictive immigration policy are high. Low skilled  immigrants have contributed significantly to economic growth. They  gravitate to growth areas. 
  • Immigrants  bring demographic dividends. Japan and some East European countries are  finding they are seriously short of labour but they won’t open their  doors. (Japan last month announced a partial and limited opening.) Their  growth rate is suffering. In Germany it’s expected that by 2050 there  will be a 27% fall in its working population. Where will the money come  from to look after an ageing population which no longer pays much tax if  there’s not an influx of tax-paying immigrants?
  • Immigrants only come to a country if there are large numbers of job vacancies. 
  • There’s  a grand debate among economists whether immigration hurts the wages of  locals, particularly less educated, less skilled, natives.  One  respected study by George Borjas of Harvard suggests that a 10% increase  in immigration lowers the wage of the native worker by 3%. But other  economists say Borjas has ignored the steady rise of women entering the  work force which has been a major factor in lowering wages. In fact most  immigrants move to cities that have booming economies where their  overall contribution is a plus and all boats are lifted. 
  • It’s  the sending countries that lose most. It’s their most motivated workers  who emigrate. On the other hand their remittances help the balance of  trade of their home countries. 
 
There’s  still much to be done to make immigration more palatable: an end to  policies that stress multiculturalism at the expense of integration  which has led to ghettoization which increases crime and degrades  schools; and job-retraining for locals so that immigrants don’t leap  over the heads of unemployed locals. A wall cannot be built to stop immigration. We have to learn to make the best of it.
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