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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Immigration successes… and disasters

It is of course too much to expect much rationality in the debate about immigration occurring on both sides of the Atlantic at the moment. I keep getting completely deranged e-mails from an outfit calling itself Conservative News NYC from across the puddle who are claiming that the USA and Mexico are in a de facto state of war due to the ‘invasion’ of the USA by illegal aliens. They also take the view that anyone who takes a more measured opinion on this is clearly a vile traitor. This is the same outfit who thinks any American who supports Israel is also a traitor, a word they rather like it seems, although of course they preface this with “but we’re not anti-Semitic”. No, of course not, perish the thought.

Now just because I think the fine fellows of Conservative News NYC are barking moonbats that does not mean all is well when it comes to immigration. There are indeed two groups in the USA (and one in the UK) who really are a problem. On both sides of the Atlantic we have an increasingly radicalised and non-integrating community of Muslims amongst whom support is very widespread for values completely antithetical to post-Enlightenment western civilisation.

Add to this in the United States the quite similar, at least in outlook if not action, ethnic fascists of La Raza, the one form of overt in-your-face racist fascism that seems to be quite acceptable for members of the American left to praise and with whom they are quite happy to share a stage (I guess being racist to white people is not really racism, eh Hilary?). At least one good thing about La Raza is that they are a lunatic fringe amongst Hispanics in the USA (much as Conservative News NYC are a radical lunatic fringe amongst US Conservatives). Of course the same could probably be said of Samizdata in many ways as we are hardly mainstream in many of the views we take, so it is not like I am against lunatic fringes per se.

Sadly the same cannot be said for much of the Muslim community who do indeed appear to share a wide range of views with the people we quite incorrectly call ‘extremists’… I say incorrect because it appears they actually reflect increasingly mainstream Muslim opinion, particularly in the UK. They are not extremists, they are merely practising Muslims who actually believe what their religious texts tell them to believe. The problem is not extremism, it is Islam itself and anyone who actually takes it seriously.

One thing both of these groups have in common is that they must be relentlessly confronted and cannot be compromised with or appeased in any way whatsoever. It really is ‘them or us’.

However… Most immigration is actually a very good thing and has for the most part been a resounding success. In particular the current large wave of arrivals in the UK from Central and Eastern Europe has been a fantastic boon to this country, both economically and socially. Not only are we being inundated with highly motivated skilled people from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, these folks are rapidly assimilating and the overwhelming majority quickly find employment.

And that brings us to what makes some immigration good and some bad.

In short, if people come to another country in order to sponge off its welfare state, that is bad. If they come to fill skill shortages, take jobs others do not want and to benefit from a greater freedom to pursue opportunities, that is very, very good.

So welfare states attract the ‘wrong’ kind of immigrant (and frankly pander to the ‘wrong’ kind of indigenous people as well), whereas an employment and entrepreneurship friendly environment attracts the ‘right’ sort of immigrants. Quelle surprise!

A good indication of which of those are in the majority in any immigrant community is to see if they are asking for tax funded schools for their children in their own languages and for various other things provided by the state at taxpayer expense but exclusively for their own ethnic or religious community.

And by that test, yes, we really do have a problem with a significant portion of the Muslim communities in the West and to a (much) lesser extent, a few elements of the Hispanic community in the USA (and the politicians who pander to them). It makes no sense for supporters of immigration such as myself to pretend otherwise.

Yet overall, free for the baleful influence of government, immigration works just fine… like so many things in fact once you get the dead hand of the state out of the way.

24 comments to Immigration successes… and disasters

  • ResidentAlien

    If immigrants want to sponge off a welfare state they would be much better off going somewhere like France or Germany. However. the chances are that such people cannot be bothered to move to another country.

    People who are willing to invest large sums of money and risk their personal safety to get into the UK are likely to be an asset to the country. How about a wet foot / dry foot policy for immigrants to England?

  • CFM

    I don’t think our problem with Moslems is severe as yours in the UK. It seems the better educated Moslems, from whichever country, self-selected and came to the US. They mostly want to be left alone to take care of themselves. The UK (and the rest of the EU countries) seem to have attracted the worst elements, i.e. those who believe that the world owes them a living. They came for the handouts, and have since discovered that no demand is too extreme if one cries ‘racism’.

    La Raza, CAIR, MecHa, and other ethnic grievance groups in the US are the creations, and allies, of the statist left. Their racism aside for the moment, note that these group’s demands are largely variations on a theme: Equality of result by right, division of “society’s benefits” on a proportional basis, socialized medicine, “free” University education (without learning anything useful), guaranteed minimum incomes, ad nauseum. Same tired, infantile Socialist tripe.

    Immigrants are still a success story when they’ve escaped assimilation by the lefty Borg. East Asian immigrants here in California are the proof of the pudding. If we could kill off the welfare state and the stupidities of multiculturism, I’m betting we’d see a lot more success stories, and a lot less social pathology.

    BTW – Samizdatistas and the Commentariat are not a fringe. We are the sane ones. It’s the rest of the world that’s nuts.

  • CFM,

    Samizdatistas are not at all “the sane ones”. Political sanity is all too dependent upon a healthy perception of ultimate value. An active support of the slow loss of the European world, genetically and culturally, for the sake of petty individualism betrays a fatal disjunction in that regard.

    In any case, petty individualism is not a sign of or path to freedom. Freedom cannot be at odds with the survival of ethny and the maintenance of birthright, for that is to be at odds with Nature. Freedom can only be built on what is natural to us. For all Western Europeans today that is spat upon and demonised – here at Samizdata as much as in the most Marxist corner of left. What freedom can flow from such Pavolvianism.

    It is those who critique modernity and the rush to extinction who are sane and free. For both in these dark days are wholly consonant with freedom from the truly prescriptive nature of liberalism.

  • MarkE

    If we could kill off the welfare state and the stupidities of multiculturism, I’m betting we’d see a lot more success stories, and a lot less social pathology.

    Alas, I fear that one small word is the major stumbling block – that “if” is slightly larger than Alaska.

    BTW – Samizdatistas and the Commentariat are not a fringe. We are the sane ones. It’s the rest of the world that’s nuts.

    I don’t see myself as part of a fringe, lunatic or otherwise, but I suspect that, in this country, I’m part of a minority. A minority that is larger than one would expect, and quite possibly an elite, educated minority, but still a minority.

  • Nick M

    Understood,

    Unfortunately (at least for your argument) individualism is the very principle upon which Western European Civilization is built on.

    That’s the way (perverted as it maybe) it’s been since the reformation/counter-reformation, enlightenment etc.

    “We” have to out-think the Muslims* in order to beat their weird nastiness, not out-breed them. It’s not quantity that counts, it’s quality.

    I have developed recently a theory of religion and “good” that basically boils down to the idea that good people are good despite their faith.

    From my experience, certain Christians are excluded from that generalisation.

    Or to spread this vague intuition of mine wider, the good muslims I’ve met are just decent folk who happen to believe the demanted ravings of Muhammed.

    *The use of the word “moslim” really pisses me off. It’s “muslim” folks. Please, we’ll be calling them “musselmen” next. D’ya really want to be a hostage to C19th upper-class british vowels or do you wanna go with a more accurate transliteration?

    With the Koranimals, more accurate always seems best policy.

  • ‘Understood’ is just a white ethnic fascist much like La Raza are hispanic ethnic fascists… and just a foolish.

    As western civilisation is a vast agglomeration of cultural influences that owes its very strength to its ability to adapt and absorb the best from other cultures, such atavistic views are not just wrong, they are preposterous. In short, ‘Understood’ understands nothing of the civilisation he is surrounded by.

    Nick M:

    D’ya really want to be a hostage to C19th upper-class british vowels

    As quite a few of the Samizdatistas have a distinctly c19th upper-class British sound about them, sure, why not?

  • Jim

    ‘Understood’ is just a white ethnic fascist much like La Raza are hispanic ethnic fascists… and just a foolish.

    C’mon, Perry! Don’t hold back, you’ll get an ulcer and die – say what you REALLY feel!

  • Western civilisation has nothing whatsoever to do with genetics and everything to do with our dominant memes.

  • abc

    Most immigration is actually a very good thing and has for the most part been a resounding success.
    I don’t think you’ve seen the bad part yet. From what I see there is growing alienation amongst both white English people and Muslims. I think I’ve rarely seen such smoldering hostility and division expressed between various groups of people, and I believe that this may be only the beginning. How far it will actually go and where it will lead I cannot predict.

  • Midwesterner

    Any population that supports and defends the constitution and principles this nation was founded on should be welcomed here. Those who support individual independence, personal accountability and private enterprise are allies and are to be welcomed. The majority of such people obey the laws and try entering by legal means.

    The biggest problem with illegal immigration is that it preselects for a population that is more inclined to break laws for an advantage over those that don’t, and filters out those who are trying to follow the laws and to fit in. When here, a substantial share of illegal immigrants ally not with constitutional principles, but with those who would tear down or interpret away the constitution (through the addition of positive rights). Laws perpetrated by these factions of our political theatre strive to forbid immigration status being used as any form of qualifier for government giveaways of our incomes. CFM at 4:26 pegged it precisely. But to his observations regarding muslims’ in the US vs UK, I add our reaction. While Americans as a rule are very vulnerable to having a guilt trip layed on them, our response to violence or threats of violence is immediate and extreme. We don’t take it well either as inidividuals or as a society. We can, will and do out-escalate anybody. I think muslims here realize that. If not before they immigrate, then very soon after.

    When facing existing hostile collectivist factions in our society, we must avoid doing things that provide them reinforcements and do things that provide us with reinforcements. Combatting illegal immigration and expediting legal immigration are the best choices. Standards for immigration should be tough (they must accept the existing constitution and there should probably be a language requirement for citizen status), but the process for those who qualify should be rapid.

  • Understood

    Editor: As always, we delete all ‘race realist’ (i.e. neo-fascist) comments. Bitter experience has demonstrated that intelligent discourse with such folks is simply impossible.

  • guy herbert

    If immigrants want to sponge off a welfare state they would be much better off going somewhere like France or Germany.

    As indeed would native Britons. But they don’t.

    Going somewhere in order to sponge off a welfare state is a psychological contradiction in terms. If you are energetic and fearless enough to set off to live in a foreign country voluntarily, then you aren’t a natural sponger. (Though if you unexpectedly find barriers to work and a welfare system when you arrive, then you might well end up taking advantage by default.) On the other hand a sponger in one place isn’t going to make the effort and take the risks of moving, in order to get a better class of idleness. Insufficient activation energy.

    Individualism in the English context was first glimpsed in 1485 with the crowning of Henry VII.

    And not in Chaucer? Nor, for that matter, the Battle of Maldon? Is anyone else as I puzzled by this strange assertion?

  • guy herbert

    The biggest problem with illegal immigration is that it preselects for a population that is more inclined to break laws for an advantage over those that don’t, and filters out those who are trying to follow the laws and to fit in. When here, a substantial share of illegal immigrants ally not with constitutional principles, but with those who would tear down or interpret away the constitution (through the addition of positive rights).

    I’m not convinced that willingness to break one law makes necessarily one more willing to break another. (Though I’m not generally much concerned with following the laws and fitting in, as long as I don’t injure others, so what would I know?)

    However, I am willing to believe that it works the other way around. If you make someone’s whole existence illegal, you push them into a criminal community and encourage them to treat the law with contempt. (Before Blairism, you wouldn’t have found much sympathy in me for urban guerillas, now I catch myself wondering about how one would disable street cameras most effectively.)

  • Samizdatistas and the Commentariat are not a fringe. We are the sane ones.

    The sane ones – yes, but a fringe too. We are the sane fringe.

  • About immigration:
    Of course, as libertarians, we are all for free immigration.

    But, given the ugly problems you have with a big minority among the muslim immigrants, and the impossibility to tell in advance which immigrant will turn out a productive citizen and which not – it seems to me it would be prudent to ban all muslim immigration.

    This sounds to me awful, collectivist, and maybe a little bit racist too, and alarmist. I’m not so sure… but mass immigration of muslims to Europe is a hell of a threat.
    I’m much less alarmed about Hispanic immigration to the US.

  • Paul Marks

    We must not let our support for free migration give us a rose tinted view of reality.

    For example, we must not follow the Cato Institute in snearing at fears that illegal immigrants would benefit if the agreement to extend United States social security (government “pensions”) to people who have only paid 18 months “contributions”, is accepeted by President Bush.

    The Cato Institute says that only stupid people could think that illegals would benefit from the agreement as the law already prevents illegal immigrants from collecting social security benefits. However, (as the “stupid” people have pointed out) illegal immigrants are ALREADY getting such payments (under the existing ten year contribution rule).

    Unlike the system in Mexico, what people get out of Social Security in the United States has no real connection to what they paid in. And ten years (let alone 18 months) contributions for someone who is on the minimum wage are hardly going to pay for decades of pension payments (at American levels) – let alone for Medicare.

    There are of course other benefits. Education is free, and the courts have demanded that State governments spend taxpayers money on poor areas.

    So the old argument “it does not matter about the children of illegals, because they have to pay for their education out of the property taxes to the local school board where they live” no longer applies.

    There is also the cost of medical treatment (in E.R. sections) and other benefits.

    Of course this varries – with some efforts (where the courts and Federal regulations allow) to limit Welfare State spending in Texas and none at all in California (“vote Republican” – but the Governor of California is supposed to be a Republican and he sees no problem in promising all sorts of benefits to illegal immigrants).

    “Stupid” people are also sneared at for linking illegal immigrants to crime.

    However, (for all the efforts of the powers-that-be to hide the information) about 1 in 4 of all the people in prison for violent offences are immigrants (and they certainly do not make up 1 in 4 of the population). Indeed often an immigrant (an illegal immigrant) will be arrested for crimes time and time again without being deported (again this varries, with Texas trying to deport illegal immigrants who are sent to prison and the State government in California not really being interested).

    Indeed, since 9/11 2001, almost 50 thousand people have been killed in the United States by illegals. Certainly not all of these killings have been murder, but it is still not a good situation.

    Of course no staff member of the Cato Institute has been raped or killed by an illegal (such staff live rather nice lives), but ordinary folk are not so fortunate.

    In spite of all the above I still support free migration. But I do not support presenting a rose tinted view of it.

    Free migration will only “work” (at least for ordinary working people – the elite will benefit under any system) if the Welfare State is done away with – at least for immigrants.

    No free education, no fee health care (including no access to E.R. sections – if they do not have the money for treatment they must not be allowed to DEMAND it), no welfare payments (as Governor S. in California is promising them) NOTHING.

    If they do not like this then they can go home.

    Nor must there be any “anti discrimination” laws. In the days when “immigrants built the United States” (as the Cato Institute puts it) if someone did not want to associate with immigrants they were not FORCED to (under the threat of the criminal or civil law).

    Freedom of association must include the freedom NOT to associate, or it is no freedom at all.

    If this means signs outside certain shops or boarding houses saying (for example) “no dogs or Irish” – then that must be allowed.

    It is quite true that some Indian tribes were unjustly treated by Europeans in the past, with land stolen and people killed (although the tribes often did that to each other), but such crimes in the past do not justify any crimes now.

    The fact that most Mexicans (indeed most Latin Americans) are part “native American” does not give them any right to the land or money of the descendents of Europeans in the United States. Two wrongs do not make a right (whatever the academics claim).

    Hispanics must be no different to any other Americans – no special rights to land or other benefits (and no “nondiscrimination”).

    It is easy to snear at “Fox News” but the Hispanics one sees there are the hope of the future. People who speak with American voices (how someone chooses to speak is often a far better guide to their idenity than their appearance), and (as far as I can tell) American attitudes.

    British style “multiculturalism” is very popular with important sections of the American establishment (such as the mainstream media and the education system), but it must be opposed and opposed with the greatest strength.

  • Jacob, if the state did not mitigate the effects of non-integration and actively pander to non-integrationist sentiment by providing tax funded services to specifically designed for Muslims as a separate community, there would be a lot more motivation to be socially accepted.

  • Midwesterner

    If you make someone’s whole existence illegal, …

    Umm. Guy, we are not making their whole existence illegal. We are specifying the terms under which they may bring their existence into this country.

    And there is a popular assumption on this site that you appear to share that “if a law is stupid, break it.” But the repetitive real life consequence of this is to push small business people (among others) to the front to serve as cannon fodder in the war on bad laws. If I have assets in this country, then I place them (and my family’s well-being) at risk every time I break the law. So when I face competition from people who can break laws with impunity and send their profits and assets out of the country, I lose my business.

    What this is misguidedly and ultimately destructively advocating is the selective enforcement of laws against people who save up (in country) assets. When some of you who have lost or are losing your businesses and personal assets to competition from illegal immigrants or others who break laws that you cannot, I’ll be more sympathic with you enthusiasm to redistribute my assets in to the government’s penalty coffers so you can make a point.

  • We must not let our support for free migration give us a rose tinted view of reality.

    Yes indeed which is why it is important we also talk about the big problems as well as the big successes.

  • …if the state did not mitigate the effects…

    You cannot blame everything on the state (or on Bush). The problems with the Muslim immigrants has more to do with their nature and religion than with the state. After all the same policies of the state apply also to other immigrants which integrate better; it’s definitely not ONLY a matter of differential treatment by the state. Moreover, the special treatment the Muslims get is caused by their special nature, it’s not the other way around.

  • The problems with the Muslim immigrants has more to do with their nature and religion than with the state.

    Their ‘problem’ nature is indeed a facet of the nature of their religion rather than any western state, but the sustainability and growth of their communities is in no small part due to the availability of the public teat offered to them by western governments.

  • Well, since we cannot abolish the welfare state, lets suggest a simple fix: immigrants will be barred from receiving any welfare cash payments for at least 10 years. Likewise, they will not get any other “free” services from the state (like health, education) for at least 5 years.

  • pjgoober

    “Their ‘problem’ nature is indeed a facet of the nature of their religion rather than any western state, but the sustainability and growth of their communities is in no small part due to the availability of the public teat offered to them by western governments.”

    What you said is true of Britain, but not of the US. US muslims have a better socio-economic variables than UK muslims. Highly skilled jobs are far more often a reason for them coming here. Unfortunately, as is well known, affluence does not stop terrorism.

  • Elly

    I agree with Midwestern. The immigration problem in the U.S. is not so much ‘illegal’ vs ‘legal’ (though some of that is inherent in the issue). Mexican (specifically) values are inconsistent with those required by a thriving republic. Their values belong to a pre-Enlightenment system: money, power (over others), entitlement, revenge, extreme ethnocentrism, and hubris. They do not practice civic responsibilityor consideration for others. Note that they boast continually of their growing numbers, because of the equation numbers=power. They do not see these numbers as a sign of a lack of responsibility. The Golden Rule, so long seen as a basic moral precept, they see as applying only to them, not that they have any obligation to apply it to others. Note the linguistic tyranny of lumping all non-Hispanics as ‘Anglos’-without the consent of the named–ignoring (in the literal sense of the word) the heritages of current and past European immigrants, and then giving that ‘group’ negative characteristics. Overgeneralizing about a group based on external characteristics and then negatively portraying that group is the definition of racism. They also falsify history, propagandize, lie, rationalize, etc.–anything to further their aims–which are not spritiual, moral, emotional growth aims, but are entirely based on sensual fulfillment–wealth and power. The inalienable rights are life,liberty, and theoursuit of happiness. Happiness to them–the ‘American Dream’–means money. And liberty is liberty to do whatever they want without repercussions.