Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Trust Open Borders Arguments

I am a firm believer in immigration. Immigrants add to our economy, our history, our defense and our culture. They add to the national energy, and most of the immigrants I know are deeply in love with America. But I don’t believe in open borders, nor do I accept the arguments made by the open-borders crowd. The reasons I don’t accept the open-borders arguments are highlighted in a recent Economist article on Muslim immigrants in Germany.

The Economist is a long time advocate of open-borders (though it never says so explicitly). In this case, it is responding to concerns voiced by several high profile Germans, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the idea of multiple cultures living together in harmony in Germany has failed. Specifically, these Germans argue that Muslims are not integrating into German society, that they are instead bunching together in German cities, where they live off the German welfare system, while contributing nothing to the country. Because of this, Germany is now talking about requiring assimilation into German society and stopping the flow of immigrants. The Economist rejects this, but none of the arguments it advances are convincing, and its conclusion is downright disturbing.

The Economist first tries to dismiss the concerns voiced by these Germans by arguing that Germany needs immigrants: “Awkwardly, Germany is bashing foreigners just when it needs them. . . The workforce is shrinking and growth is raising demand for skilled labor.” But is this accurate?

According to data found in the article itself, 16.9% of immigrants in Germany are unemployed. That means there is already a surplus of immigrant labor in Germany of 1.97 million people. Moreover, the article notes that 7.5% of Germans are unemployed. That translates into an additional labor surplus of 6 million. With a labor surplus of nearly 8 million people, why should Germany bring in more people until it can find jobs for those people?

Well, suggests The Economist, there is a need for “skilled labor.” But does that change this analysis? The answer is NO, because immigrants aren’t skilled labor. The Economist implies that they are when it says that as long as Germany finally passes a law to recognize foreign credentials, 300,000 immigrants can return to their old professions. But let’s think about this number. That 300,000 represents only 2.5% of the 12 million immigrants in Germany. That means the rest are unskilled labor. This is a ratio of 44 to 1.

So at best, this argument would suggest allowing targeted immigration, where Germany lets in only people with the missing skills. Yet, both the left and The Economist have already argued repeatedly that this would be unacceptable to them -- they want fully open borders. That means, Germany would need to let in 44 immigrants to get 1 skilled immigrant. Is that really a good deal, especially considering that there are no more jobs for unskilled immigrants? Should Germany really add 44 people to its welfare roles so it can get one person skilled at working a printing press or programming a computer? Also, wouldn’t it make more sense to train the 8 million unemployed to do those jobs first before looking outside for more labor? Or are those 8 million to be considered permanently useless unless Germany returns to a manual labor economy?

What you’re seeing here is that the economic arguments for letting in more immigrants are flawed to their core. And the “skilled labor” argument is nothing more than a red herring used to suggest that immigrants can do something they cannot. And in any event, none of this actually addresses the concerns of the people who say that lack of assimilation is the problem. So what does The Economist say to disprove their concerns? Nothing.

It admits that “Islam can be an additional barrier” to assimilation, but then it adds, “but only for Muslims who choose to make it one.” This is meant to dispel the idea that there is some incompatibility between German culture and Islam, but this is double speak. At first, the article purports to agree that Islam is a barrier (something that is too obvious to deny with any credibility), but then it simultaneously dismisses that by claiming that this is only a barrier for people who let it be a barrier, i.e. it's an optional barrier. Not only does The Economist not provide a shred of proof to back this up, but this point actually goes against its argument. If Muslims are seeing Islam as a barrier, when it is not, then the only way to remove that barrier is the very assimilation The Economist abhors so much.

What’s more, let’s look at how this voluntary barrier is taking shape. According to the article: “One study estimated that 10-12% of Muslims have radical Islamist leanings, and a quarter of Muslim teenagers are hostile to Christians and Jews or to democracy.” In other words, because of Islam, 3 million of these 12 million immigrants are hostile to their neighbors and the government they are now living under. How can that be considered acceptable, and how can this situation justify bringing in more Muslims? What this should do is convince anyone with a rational mind that immigration must be stopped immediately until those three million can be assimilated to reduce their hostility. But The Economist doesn’t see this. Instead, it offers a different solution: “Germans’ idea of what it is to be German will have to change.”

There you have it: the problem isn’t that continued immigration of Muslims will change Germany, the problem is that Germans won’t just shut up and accept it.

And that is the problem with the open borders people. They make economic sounding arguments to justify bringing in all the immigrants they can get. But their economic arguments are false and contradictory. And when confronted with real concerns about changes in culture, they ignore those concerns. What’s worse, they don’t understand or care that it’s a very bad thing that a country like Germany will go from being a tolerant, modern, Western democracy to becoming a country whose people are hostile to Christians, Jews and democracy. This is why the open borders people cannot be trusted and their arguments must be exposed.

I am a fan of immigration, but to suggest that a government should let in enough hostile immigrants to kill off the existing culture, to bring in millions of people who are hostile to their neighbors, and to put millions of immigrants onto the backs of existing taxpayers is obscene.


Tennessee Jed said...

A nice assessment, Andrew. The only way there should be open borders is if there were no nations. Lack of assimilation is a problem, be it language, customs, or other. You have pointed out the real reason for much immigration "to live off the welfare system" of the host country, although I can see religions using immigration as a way to try and dominate the planet as well.

America should be a land of opportunity, not a cradle to grave socialistic nanny state. "Thank you, but no on open borders."

Notawonk said...

isn't this the case made by most libbies for anything they propose, yet the majority refuse to accept: "...the problem isn’t that continued immigration of Muslims will change Germany, the problem is that Germans won’t just shut up and accept it."

very well done, brother.

Joel Farnham said...

Good argument Andrew.

Now, I know why I don't trust the open borders people.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed I agree completely. Everyone talks about the US being a nation of immigrants, and that's true. BUT, prior waves of immigrants came here to achieve the American Dream. That meant to come here, fit in, live in freedom, work hard, and build a better life for themselves and their kids. Today, too many see Western countries (including the US) as a place to go get taken care of. They come here and land in public housing, on food stamps and on welfare and they stay there.

Or they come with the intent of economic colonization -- go to America, move into a colony, never fit in, earn money any way possible (often including crime or public assistance), and then head home again.

We want immigrants who want to become Americans and want to achieve the American dream.

And I certainly can't blame places like Germany or Britain or Japan or even China who say they don't want more immigrants.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, That's exactly the case the left always makes. The problem isn't that XXXX will cause problems, the problem is that the people opposed to XXXX won't just shut the heck up and accept it!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Joel. I think there are many reasons, social, economic, and philosophical to oppose the idea of open borders, but this really highlights why you can't trust the open borders people -- they are being dishonest in their arguments and they are trying to mislead you about their ultimate goals/beliefs by hiding behind the false arguments.

Dane said...

Change what it means to be German? That bull***t! That's the same kind of bull***t they tell us about our own citizenship. If you want to come to America, you need to fit in, not the other way around.

AndrewPrice said...

Dane, I agree. Why in the world should we (or any other country) bring in people and then change our country to suit their ways? If their ways were such a success in the first place, why are they fleeing their homelands?

Don't get me wrong, I think immigrants bring a lot of good things to our culture and we are very good at adding the best parts of what they bring. But that's the key, they come and add to our culture, not replace it or live apart from it, as is currently happening because they are letting in too many and making it too easy to avoid assimilation.

In fact, as you can see, the open borders people are flat out opposed to assimilation.

Ed said...

I like a lot of what immigrants bring to our city, but I am concerned when they start talking about colonizing us and returning us to Mexico. That bothers me. Plus, illegal immigration is out of control around here.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Germany has an additional problem that we can avoid if we have the good sense to get our immigration laws under control. Germany has had a large Turkish-Muslim population since WW I because of the alliance with the Ottoman Empire. Until fairly recently, historically speaking, Turks who had been there for generations were not allowed to become German citizens. That was finally changed, but that's not the problem. The Turkish population had lived there peacefully and productively for generations. Today, much of the younger Turkish population is being radicalized because of real and imagined past discrimination. Even the Turks who had genuinely assimilated are finding their children reversing that course. Islamic clerics (like our much radicalized Muslim clerics) are playing very effectively on that disaffection. Another reason why we have to be careful and sensible about immigration.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Illegal immigration makes matters even worse because it's uncontrolled. And I too am concerned when I hear talk about the colonization of the Southwest. Those aren't the kind of people we want to be letting in. We want people here who want to be Americans, not people who want our money or want to claim our land.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's true. When they let in all these "guest workers" after WWII, the idea was that they would come, work, enrich themselves, and leave. But they stayed and the Germans continued to treat them as temporary workers. But then, in the past decade (like so many other countries where the native population was shrinking) they started letting in increasingly larger numbers of them. This brought in the radical element, which they played on the dissatisfaction of the ones already there. And that's led to the problems they are having now trying to assimilate them.

Until and unless they can solve that, it would be insane to bring in more of them. Look at the numbers in the poll that are actively hostile to the natives! How can you bring in more people until you can solve that problem?

Ed said...

It's very bad around here. All you hear about is how we're not making them welcome, but then they hold rallies and they're waving signs telling us that our land was "stolen" from Mexico and that they plan to "reclaim" it. Why am I supposed to sit by and let that happen?

AndrewPrice said...

I've seen rallies like that all over Southern California. I've also heard a series of speeches by the race-hate group "La Raza". They are always listed as a "civil rights organization" but they are actively promoting anti-white stances and they do claim most of the South West as stolen Mexican territory.

Unknown said...

Andrew: We have three very active irredentist organizations in California devoted to re-establishing Mexican sovereignty over the Southwest. La Raza is the big one. MALDEF (Mexican-American Legal Defense) is the litigation arm. And MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), which includes the student wing of La Raza. MEChA considers California and the Southwest as stolen Mexican territory and want it returned to its former (imagined) Eden-like state (Aztlan). Self-segregation, illegal immigration, bilingualism and non-assimilation have all contributed to the growth of these organizations. Government immigration policy regarding illegals has actually been a big factor in the rapid growth of those movements.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I hadn't heard of the other two groups, but that's good to know. I've heard their goals before, and their methods. In fact, I've heard some of their speeches where they talk very openly about outnumbering whites and then taking back the Southwest. That's hardly something that sounds like a civil rights organization or like an organization that we should support. In fact, that's usually called "sedition" and is a crime.

Tehachapi Tom said...

What part of purchased does the La Raza, Maldef and MEChA not understand?
According to documented history the Gadsden Purchase (known as Venta de La Mesilla in Mexico) is a 29,670 square miles region of what is today southern Arizona and New Mexico that was purchased by the United States from Mexico in 1853 for $10 million. The initial purchase treaty was signed in Mexico in 1853. It was finalized and signed by President Franklin Pierce on June 24, 1854. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande.

That means the current border is as it was then where we are today.
As a foreign country with a different language and culture they do not fit into America.

Even on the edge of bankruptcy California is way above the quality of Mexico lifestyles.
We are well above the economy of most of the TPCs in the world even in our current economic dark cloud.
And Mexico is certainly one of those tin pots referred to.

AndrewPrice said...

Tom, In all truth, I don't think they care about the facts. They have spun this myth that we stole all of the South West from them and by God it's true with it's true or not.

That's the great thing being politically correct, you don't have to worry about the facts or logic or even reality... things are as you wish them to be. And if you want to be oppressed, you can always find a way to be oppressed.

What's more, look at the word Lawhawk used above "Eden-like", another good word is "utopian." If only we hadn't oppressed them somehow, they would be living in a world where good things fell from the sky and bad things perished at the border and everyone would live in peace and happiness.

None of this is rational.

Ponderosa said...

Excellent job of fisking The Economist article.

But this is the dumbest and most frustrating pubic policy issue in literally the World. The underlying question is foundational, even more important than the Constitution:

Should counties exist?

'Yes' – end of discussion.

‘No’ – umm…hmmm…next.

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, "fisking" -- LOL! Thanks!

I agree. That is the ultimate theory behind the no-borders view -- that countries are essentially administrative zones that manage economic relations between the other zones and that people should be free to move around between them and they should shift money back and forth to make the whole economy work together.

This completely ignores all the reasons why countries are so important -- like protecting cultures and ways of life.

Ed said...

I've heard of MEChA. They are always in the news around here because of events they organized. I agree about calling this sedition or even treason.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, What else do you call it when someone advocates taking over a part of country and giving to another country?

DUQ said...

I agree. Countries have no obligation to take in immigrants, so they have the right to set the terms under which they will let them in.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Very true. The open borders people seem to believe that we have an obligation to let anyone go where they want to, but there is no basis for that.

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