It is interesting how different people feel about immigration. Perhaps it is the impeachment up and coming, the future elections, the concern about a possible war in Iran, whatever, it just seems as though immigration has been taken off the front burner.
If you speak to different friends about their feelings toward immigration, it seems you will generally receive one of three different comments: the person fully supports immigration; the person has mixed feelings; the person totally opposes immigration.
Without stepping foot on Americans, we can take a look at immigration in another country.
One British lady named Trish, says she and her husband are in favor of immigration. However, she puts limits on this and means, “controlled immigration.” She said she feared that many of the immigrants want to impose their cultures and language, and religion.” She said she had watched videos of streets where English people cannot go because there is sharia law. Trish added, “You don’t know what boat people have got in their backpacks. It could be terrorist weaponry. That is not me living in la-la-land; that is what I’ve heard from people working on the docks.” (In America we may call this “hear-say”).
Two writers, Paul Collier and David Goodhart, offered their thoughts on the situation. They argue that if too many migrants arrive too quickly this results in disrupting communities as well as inflicting unwelcome cultural change on the natives. Goodhart complained that many liberal politicians do not attach enough weight to the views of people who like things the way they were. He explained that any kind of cultural change feels like a threat.
Ann Hoyle, 76, said she was born there (in London) when it was a lovely village. She said it is now a concrete jungle where you cannot even hear people speaking English. She said, “it’s awful.” She noted, however, that many of the things citizens fear about migrants are not valid. Some of their objections can be answered up to a point, with smarter policies.
Now, if we reflect on some of these feelings, others will argue with Trish that there are no streets in London where the native-born cannot go. Terrorists killed six people a year in Britain in the decade to 2017. A native Britain is eight times more likely to be struck by lightning. Younger male Brits and Americans are more likely to commit ordinary violent crimes than young male immigrants.
Then there is the grumbling that the immigrants are draining the welfare system. Joan Smith, 73, said, “If I go to the doctor, I have to pay for it. Foreigners come, and they get childbirth and operations all paid for. They should be made to pay, too. If they can’t, send them packing.” The other side of this coin is that this is not an accurate picture. Migrants do pay taxes. Supporters of the immigrants insist that in Britain and America they generally pay their way. It is believed that a typical migrant from Europe to Britain can expect to pay 78,000 Euros more in taxes than he receives in benefits.
Some believe that immigrants are a burden only if a host country’s policies set them up to be one. This is done by making it too easy to collect benefits or too difficult to work in the country.
The late economist William Niskanen said the easiest way to assure that migrants do not abuse any given benefit is to make them ineligible for it for five or ten years or even permanently. He said, “Build a wall around the welfare state, not around the country.” Migrants do not have any access to state benefits in the United Arab Emirates. They have no chance of citizenship. Citizens do not seem to mind being outnumbered nine to one by foreign workers, according to Niskanen.
So, in reality, it seems we are back to Square One. We want this, we want that, but we don’t work collectively to get what we want.
Immigration is not something that is going to go away in this strangely changing world. There isn’t any magic to solve all of the issues it creates. If you are unhappy about immigration, then do something. You can’t just sit on your ass and expect magic to happen.