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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Toward a Sustainable Immigration Policy

While the rising threat of terrorism, violence and honor killings produced by Muslim immigration tends to be in the news lately, the problems produced by immigration are not limited solely to Islam. The problem of Muslim immigration was created by a larger trend in First World immigration policies that favors bringing in cheap labor for short term commercial and political gain. Such immigration policies however are seriously damaging to the nations that utilize them and cannot be sustained. So what we must do is look for a sustainable immigration policy.


The first principle we need to begin with is that immigration should be in a nation's interest. While this seems self-evident, it is a principle that has gone by the wayside. For a clear example of what that leads to, consider Obama's move to allow people infected with AIDS to freely enter the United States. Clearly the entry of people with a deadly communicable disease for which there is no cure into the United States is not in our interest. It is actually quite dangerous to us and offers us no benefits whatsoever to outweigh the risks. There are numerous examples in our immigration policy are less graphic but ultimately just as destructive.

Beginning with the principle that immigration must be in the nation's interest, we now need a standard for measuring whether a particular form of immigration is in our interest or not.

The ideal form of immigration is one that benefits both the host country and the immigrants themselves. Immigration that benefits only the host country is slavery. Immigration that benefits only the immigrants is parasitism. The ideal is a mutual exchange of benefits between the immigrants and their new country. And we can begin by measuring that exchange through simple statistics by breaking down the impact of a particular immigration population in simple dollar terms.

This can be done simply by taking a particular population of immigrants and balancing their contributions in the form of taxes against the social expenditures they create through social services, crime, terrorism and public assistance. Through this method any immigrant population can be broken down into a dollar amount, which can then be contrasted and compared with other immigrant populations, as well as with the native population, to arrive at a chart that shows on the financial level which immigrants offer more benefits versus losses. Such figures should be assessed for first, second and if possible, third generation immigrants, to study the extent to which absorption improves those numbers or worsens them. Further in depth studies would look at regional differences which could allow for a greater fine tuning of immigrant acceptance from urban vs rural areas, to educated professionals vs industrial workers, for religious vs secular and so on and so forth, making it possible to produce questionnaires that would allow a country to reap the maximum possible benefit from immigrants, with the minimum possible loss.

Once this is done, it becomes possible to specifically assess the consequences for local and national economies of giving preference to one immigrant population over another. If we can break down the cost of say bringing in 2000 immigrants from Ireland vs 2000 immigrants from Belize, or 2000 immigrants from Venezuela vs 2000 immigrants from China-- we will be much closer to forming a rational immigration policy. And by presenting statistics in literal dollar amounts, a compelling interest based argument can be made for reforming immigration by making it sustainable.

The next step is to go beyond simple dollar amounts and to look at a nation's overall statistics, its total and per capita GDP, literacy rate, teenage pregnancies, domestic abuse, crime rates, and so on, and look to see which immigrant populations raise our statistics, and which lower them. The ideal form of immigration increases our statistics, or at least maintains them in place, but does not lower them. Again this needs to be studied across multiple generations to see the impact that absorption has on these numbers. An immigrant population that lowers these numbers not only in the first generation, but in the second and the third as well, is as unsustainable as a smokestack spewing poison into the air.   

Then there is the cultural question. Population migrations are nothing new in human history. Most countries are made up of a mix of peoples blending together over time through migrating populations. But while some such migrations are generally positive, others are generally negative. Whether a population migration is even feasible depends on how much room there is. 19th century America was able to absorb large numbers of immigrants in ways that 21st century America cannot because it lacks the same amount of open space. With the 20th century's suburbanization, that enabled the immigration and population movements of the 20th century reaching their limit in America, immigration creates crammed urban centers. And without "room to grow", immigration can destabilize and displace the existing native population. This creates an atmosphere charged with violence that easily lead to rioting and social conflict. A situation only worsened by groups with high birth rates moving to cities that are already bursting at the seams.

A sustainable immigration policy balances out immigration from population groups with high birth rates, by reducing their numbers in favor of immigration from population groups with lower birth rates-- in order to create a balance between them. Thus if immigrants from Country X have an average birth rate of 5 children and immigrants from Country Y have an average birth rate of 3 children, bringing in 2000 immigrants from Country and Country X is not parity. Instead it favors Country X in the second generation, when its immigrants might number 5000, while the immigrants from Country Y will only number 3000. The quotas for particular immigration populations would have to be set based on their projected numbers in the second generation, rather than the first generation.

This brings us to the question of immigration quality over quantity. Big business and many politicians who depend on immigrant votes want immigration quantity, which translates into cheap labor and voting blocs for their political machines. However on a national level what is needed is not immigration quantity, but immigration quality.

Cheap labor is extremely seductive, which is why even pro-business conservatives are reluctant to cut back  immigration to sustainable levels. Only when there is an economic downturn, do they jump on the immigration bandwagon. Businesses argue that they need cheap labor to maintain their domestic industries, and while this is a compelling argument for many, the fact of the matter is that cheap labor jobs wind up being more expensive than outsourcing, because immigration quantity carries a higher cost for the ordinary taxpayer, than the company simply packing up shop and taking a few native jobs abroad.

Virtually every major social problem in the First World today can be traced to the desire for cheap labor. From gang rapes in California to Islamism in London, from suicide bombings in Israel to drug dealing in Sydney, from riots in Paris to honor killings in Sweden, the common element in these social problems is that they are caused by people who were brought in because they were once considered cheap labor. But cheap labor quickly turns out not to be so cheap after all.

The same big companies that complain about high taxes and socialism, seem to have no understanding whatsoever that when you import hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legal or illegal, they will have to pay the price for them sooner or later. Capitalism may rely on cheap labor, but cheap labor inevitably leads to socialism, because importing a population incapable of caring for itself, will require the government to step in sooner or later.

While we believe in free enterprise, that means responsible free enterprise. A factory that pours toxic waste into a river is not behaving responsibly and is not serving the public good. Similarly an industry that uses cheap immigration to cut costs while dumping ten times those same costs on the taxpayer, a cost that they themselves will ultimately have to make up down the road, is not behaving responsibly. The allegiance of American business must be to America, just as English businesses must be to England and so on and so forth. A loyal business does not act against the national interest, but seeks to work within a sustainable immigration policy for the larger national benefit, a benefit that will also accrue to it as well.


Immigration quality focuses on maintaining sustainable immigration, while immigration quantity provides mass without sustainability. Few First World countries can really afford immigration quantity anymore, yet virtually all of them continue to emphasize quantity over quality, thereby creating a cycle in which low quality immigration produces social problems that require government intervention, thereby raising taxes and requiring more cheap labor to try and fill the birth rate shortfall created by trying to impose a growing government burden on a shrinking number of workers. Eventually the entire socialist Ponzi Scheme collapses into either major reforms or a dark age, but by then much of the damage has already been done.

While immigration remains an important resource, it must be the product of a rational policy. And a rational immigration policy can only be a sustainable immigration policy. Real immigration reform is not immigration permissiveness, but sustainability that balances immigration against domestic growth, seeks to maximize the beneficial quality of immigration, rather than cheap labor quantity, and works to maintain the quality of life and the culture of its citizens, rather than disrupting it and displacing them. Sustainable immigration is the only answer to out of control immigration pollution.

10 comments:

Keli Ata said...

Great article and analysis.

A sustainable immigration policy would certainly quell the growing problem of Anarchism in the US as well.

Malcolm said...

The real gist of this article is reduce/ stop Muslim immigration. Which I agree with also we must start deporting Muslims that practice Sharia law. I wonder if you agree with these approaches.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/006854.html

Sultan Knish said...

Actually the real gift of the article is a dialogue about how to create a rational immigration policy

as a subset of that Islamists obviously have to be deported and the brakes have to be put on Islamic immigration

Malcolm said...

I get annoyed at the so called conservatives, who spout off how bad Islam is, and never give a solution, I think immigration policies will become a huge topic in the near future, after a few more bombing by the Muslims.

DP111 said...

A few more bombings or mass slayings, will set off more then just a debate on immigration.

Chana said...

I would like to see all immigration come to a screeching halt.

Stu said...

And when you decide to retire and the extremely low number of workers can't help provide for your social security, will you maybe feel like we should have made it a bit easier to get into the USA?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

easier for productive workers or workers whose own social and criminal issues have drained the economy?

Stu said...

We already have an EB-5 visa program that lets wealthy people essentially "buy" their citizenship. So, why not ease the requirements and just let anyone that is willing to work to come here? I think if we make them agree to forgo any unearned taxpayer benefits that we could get lots of productive young citizens. Otherwise, we will simply not have enough workers to support the bulge of retirees that are coming through right now... I am one of them. I expect that my benefits will be delayed and reduced because of our short-sighted immigration policy.

And... NO... I do not think just anyone should be able to live here. But we do need to get the ones that are here to start paying taxes and to encourage law-abiding new citizens.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

we do need to pick and choose immigrants more carefully

but there's also an underlying problem

if our system needs a constant inflow of new immigrants to maintain itself, that's an inherent instability which needs to be addressed

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