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.