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Why I think Al Bangura will be okay – and what it says about the immigration system

Patrick Crozier has views on the saga of footballer Al Bangura

Many of you will be vaguely aware of the Bangura affair. Al Bangura is the Watford footballer who is about to be deported to Sierra Leone, where, according to him, he is likely to be killed. For extra colour there is some stuff about a voodoo cult and the bizarre ruling that his being a professional footballer with excellent prospects do not count because Sierra Leone is not one of the top 75 football teams in the world. Go figure.

I should point out that I am a half-hearted Watford fan but this does not affect what I am about to say. I would say the same if the guy played for L*t*n. All it means is that I am slightly more familiar with the case.

I have no idea if what Bangura says is true. Frankly, it could be a pack of lies for all I care. Given the stakes involved: the best job in the world or exile to some African shithole, it would hardly be surprising if he were telling the odd porkie. But it does not matter. The way I see it the guy has every right to be here. Not because he is fleeing persecution, not because he is a good footballer, not because he pays his taxes or ‘enriches’ British culture…

But because he is a human being.

I think everybody should be able to live everywhere, subject, of course, to the usual libertarian provisos about property rights.

My guess is that sense and political manipulation of the judiciary will prevail. This has the potential to become a real cause celebre – you can just imagine the stink if he gets sent back to Sierra Leone and does indeed wind up dead – and because of that I do not think it will happen. Or if he does get deported he will soon find a job somewhere else. I hear LA Galaxy are looking to strengthen their midfield.

But it makes me think about all those who are not professional footballers – the ordinary joes who just want to make better lives for themselves or to escape the hope-crushing Kafka-with-machetes world that is so common in Africa. They have to face the more ordinarily-Kafkaesque world of the immigration system without the support of football clubs and their umpteen thousand supporters. For them the difference between prosperity and poverty hangs on a civil servant’s whim. The more honest must be tortured by debates over when to tell the truth and when to lie like crazy. It must be agony.

21 comments to Why I think Al Bangura will be okay – and what it says about the immigration system

  • I think everybody should be able to live everywhere, subject, of course, to the usual libertarian provisos about property rights.

    Yes, in an ideal world, i.e. in a world where all, or at least most countries are libertarian, or mostly libertarian.

  • Nick M

    I disagree Alisa, almost, anyway. There should be a free market in systems. People should be free to move because then the countries of the world would be forced to be libertarian, business friendly and whatnot.

    I am perfectly happy for people to build their worker’s paradises, caliphates or eco-wonderlands with the proviso that the discontent can buggereth off. In fact I’d quite like to see ‘em try and see how spectacularly they fail.

    Bloody hell, the second book of the OT is about a collection of economic migrants.

  • Nick, should is the key word here. Now try and envision how that would work in a world we actually live in, or rather how it already is “working”.

  • Dishman

    “Ok, you can go live in another country, but your family stays here. You can send them money to live on.”

    That happens already.

  • James

    I agree with the idea that people should be free to live where they want, but the I have wondered how that sits comfortably with those people who threaten the culture(s) of others.

    I mean, if the rights of the individual are sacred and we place a high value on freedom of expression and will, then what are we to make of a high influx of, say, ‘moderate’ sharia-ists (with their ‘soft’ subjugation), or even Wahabbists, in to an area? Eventually, these groups will form political blocs (as they do now) and will wield great power with potential demand for this, that and the other- particularly where foreign policy is concerned. Even worse would be the pepper-pot effect, where they reside everywhere and form swing blocs, having a massively adverse effect on local candidates who understand that the electoral outcome could depend on such a group.

    It would worry me that a potentially unlimited group of people could disrupt a culture of relative freedom and prosperity that could not be tempered by a sort of natural social osmosis.

    If ‘free’ immigration could be done with the proviso that immigrants embrace the values that make our civilisations what they are, would that help? I don’t know.

    I honestly don’t know what the answer is or if the problem is a worthy consideration, but it is one that I have pondered. Perhaps someone could expand on this for me?

  • Nick M

    Alisa,
    Yes, “should” is the operative word. I’m not suggesting a complete free for all. But, why can’t I move to, say, the USA? Lots of third world types who have no English and no understanding of the Constitution do. Why not me – a native English speaker with postgrad qualifications, no criminal record, no medical conditions and no desire for welfare? Vice versa why can’t an American or Aussie come here? They might enjoy high taxes and the fact it pisses down all the time. I know the ostensible reasons, of course, but I can still ask “why?” If there was a freer market in movement between first world states it might just mean our Lords & Masters might treat us with a little more respect. OK, I can move anywhere in the EU but it’s a case of same shit, different climate. The one truly good thing the EU has done is make travel throughout Europe easier and then it goes and makes it totally academic. Fuckin’ A.

  • Are you sure you really cannot move to the US? Have you tried? Not a rhetorical question – I really have no idea what the policy is towards Brits.

  • Nick M

    Yes, I have and they told me to bugger off. The policy is not good. It’s a mirror-image of the EU’s policy towards Americans. Or Aussies, Cannucks, Israelis, New Zealanders etc.

    Now explain this one to me. During her MA my wife shared a flat with amongst others an Indian chap. He had been to a top (British modelled) Indian public school and was therefore more English than I am. He had a good first degree and was doing an MBA. He loved London and wanted to get a job there. He tried to get a job there and he was told to sod off because none of the businesses cared to deal with the Home Orifice (I have had dealings with it and it’s truly Orwellian). Why? If he’d been potless, spoke no English at all and wanted to cut his daughters genitals he would have been welcomed in and given a sodding council house. So, you’re wanted for conspiracy to murder in Yemen and you preach hatred of your adopted nation and they give you a four bedroom house in West London and a truck load of bennies but if you’re a highly competent, aspiring young Indian exec who wants to make a living here it’s “sod off”.

  • Midwesterner

    Nick M,

    But, why can’t I move to, say, the USA?

    If there was a freer market in movement between first world states it might just mean our Lords & Masters might treat us with a little more respect.

    Uhmm… Didn’t you just answer your own question?

  • Midwesterner

    In matters of immigration, an unlimited democracy can never allow unqualified immigration until it solves the problem of having an unlimited democracy. If it gets those two in the wrong order, it will never again get a chance.

    The US has for all practical purposes ceased to be a constitutional republic and has become an democratic republic. We are working on it and showing some signs of success, but we must restore constitutional preeminence (including ending redistribution) before we open up immigration. We won’t get a do over.

    The UK is in a very similar but worse situation.

  • Nick M

    I hope I didn’t Mid. I was getting a little rhetorical but…

  • Keith

    “The more honest must be tortured by debates over when to tell the truth and when to lie like crazy. It must be agony.”
    I’m in exactly that position right now.
    And yes, it is.

  • Going to the US to work is significantly easier for well educated Canadians and Australians than for British and other nationalities, as in each case there are work visas related to the free trade agreements that these countries signed with the US. (The TN-1 Visa for Canadians and the E3 visa for Australians). These can be renewed indefinitely, but are strictly “non-immigrant” visas, meaning that neither can lead to a Green Card and citizenship. As an Australian national I could go to the US on an E3 visa, work on this visa for the rest of my working life, but on retirement I would be obliged to leave the country within something like ten days. Yes, this is pretty stupid. (Probably the easiest route for highly qualified foreigners of other nationalities to come to the US is via an “inter-company transferee” (L1) visa, which applies if you to the US office from a foreign office of the same company, but this requires a co-operative company. (This one can lead to a Green Card, however).

    As for the British Home Office, I have had dealings with them on immigration matters over a 15 year period, both as a student and as a worker in the UK. They have always been pretty incompetent, but it is really striking how much more difficult it has become under Labor. In order to be “tough” on immigration (and possibly to provide employment for useless bureaucrats) an astonishingly large number of mind bogglingly stupid and pointless bureaucratic hoops have been created for legal immigrants to jump through. Visas have to be renewed more often, vastly more paperwork has to be done, and all kinds of petty humiliations have to be endured, all administered by venal and incompetent officials. And a large fee must be paid for each hoop and each humiliation. I mean it is not like we don’t pay outrageous taxes already.

  • guy herbert

    Hear, hear, Patrick.

    Governments have no more right telling us where to live or whether we may travel than they have telling us whom we can trade with.

    If you don’t think that is true a priori, then contemplate a world where countries can control and monitor all movement of people, as they are currently organising in the developed world to do. “Dangerous tax competition,” as the EU has it – and other differences between states based on different ways of life appealing to different people – could be neatly eliminated. Every dictatorship a well-walled prison, and plenty of incentive to make the club-nation(Link) as brutally intolerant of difference as may be, if dissenters have nowehre to go. Even the affluent and mobile would find themselves jet-peasants tied forever to the land that had its brand on them.

  • Guy: the problem is not emigration, but immigration.

  • guy herbert

    Alisa: They are the same thing.

    What you are really saying is that people whose habits you don’t like should be less free than you are. It seems to me you have accepted the primary particularism that justifies all authoritarian control of the behaviour of others.

  • Sorry, Guy, but they are not the same thing, not as far as freedom of movement is concerned. A person may be free to leave their place of residence, but not free to enter a different one – and vice versa.

    What you are really saying is that people whose habits you don’t like should be less free than you are.

    Not at all, unless those are habits of the kind that have a built-in requirement of imposing themselves on others.

  • Saladman

    “You can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”
    –Milton Friedman

    The problem, at least in America, and from a distance it looks like in Great Britain also, is not immigration per se. Immigration has been artificially inflated and subsidized by welfare payments to immigrants. We’re now at a point where taxes are collected from citizens, transferred to immigrants by government bureaucracies, freeing the immigrants to remit greater amounts to their relatives back home.

    I’m a dues-paying, card-carrying Libertarian who is going to keep working for closed borders here in the states until I see real change on welfare payments.

  • You can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.

    Let’s have free immigration then. It might help us hasten the end of the welfare state.

  • Nick M

    Michael,
    Absolutely. Tell ya what. “The man” says to me, “Nick you can keep all you earn apart from some minor deductions” is the moment I start sticking cash into North Cheshire Friendly Society. There are three members in this household: Nick, my wife and the cat. Guess which is the only one with private medical insurance? Guess why?

  • Midwesterner

    Michael, I hope you don’t seriously believe good things would come of that. If we open our borders under the present system, there will never again be the slightest chance of recovering our freedom. I believe this is why the left is so eager to bring in more supporters. They understand how it will play out.