WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT the factual basis for immigration fears generally fall away upon close inspection, you have to question what animates the new nationalists who seek to deter and/or expel new immigrants.
Yes, observes Jason Krupp from the New Zealand Institute, this increasingly seems to be the case when it comes to politics, “where fact-based arguments have been thin on the ground of late.”
Almost all the opposition parties are guilty of this to some extent, but none more notable [locally] than New Zealand First and party leader Winston Peters.
Our report, ‘The New New Zealanders: Why Migrants Make Good Kiwis,’ covers both local and international academic research and our own analysis of the General Social Survey and the Election Survey, and aims to paint a factual picture of immigration in New Zealand.
Broadly, we found that many of the concerns about immigrants diluting Kiwi culture did not hold up in the data. Immigrants of all stripes tended to integrate well into New Zealand. Not only did they claim welfare and other benefits at a lower rate than native born New Zealanders, they also had good employment outcomes, and educated their children to a very high level.
Our research also found very little evidence of ethnic clustering, and we found that over time the views and labour market attributes of immigrants converged towards the New Zealand average. In other words, immigrants might come here as foreigners, but they become Kiwis in the long run (hence the title).
Furthermore, many of the economic fears that people have about high levels of immigration proved to have little substance.
Sadly, however, the report’s facts will not make a blind bit of difference, because the anti-immigration argument is not based on any facts. It is based on something else.
You could see this here recently at NOT PC when I posted the crime stats on Sweden that help explode the alleged “facts on the ground” showing “rocketing Swedish crime” in the face of increased immigration. (You can follow that argument here, here, here, and here.)
The problem might be most evident in the Fact-Free Zone that is modern America, where Trump's “America First” executive orders on immigration and deportation are political solutions in need of an actual problem. That wave of undocumented workers supposed to be ravaging the country? “That ended a decade ago,” reports Bloomberg based on data from the Pew Research Center, “and has been zero or negative since.”
The reasons for the turnaround are both economic and personal:
- even after growth resumed post-GFC, there was no return to the mania of the bubble years
- Mexicans -- both undocumented and otherwise -- are flocking back to Mexico
- The Mexican economy has improved, and
- the fertility rate has fallen a lot, meaning that young Mexicans are needed back in Mexico to take over family businesses and take care of aging parents
Result: both legal and illegal immigration into America have fallen, even as the hysteria has increased.
The facts could not be clearer.
So the hysteria is not clearly based on facts.
SO WILL DISSEMINATION OF the actual facts stop the hysteria?
What do you think. Not when the argument has never been fact-based.
Which leaves us shovelling actual facts into a hole in the ground while the anti-immigrationists cite their own “alternative facts” showing “Mexes” overrunning America, Chinese taking all our Auckland houses, and “Muzzies” making Sweden the rape capital of Europe.
Because the actual facts are not what animates the anti—immigration arguments.
THE TWO MOST POWERFUL arguments the anti-immigrationists muster involve welfare and warfare. Yet even these are both just as confused.
It is said that welfare makes immigration too expensive, despite abundant evidence here and around the world that immigrants a are generally net contributors to tax, not takers (unlike many local born). But the wider point is that, if this were truly what animates the anti-immigrationists, is that the point, surely, is to put a wall around state welfare, not around your country. As Stuart Hayashi points out, there are thousands of people -- even billionaires who have already pledged to do this -- willing to pay voluntary charity to help poor immigrants with the amenities. And there are countries like Canada who already make sponsorship of New Canadians part of their immigration procedures, allowing folk to sponsor new immigrants (which could easily be extended to taking partial responsibility for their welfare and their actions). So no huhu here; just a need for more honesty from those who say that this is what concerns them, because if it does, then this is what they should be calling for.
Because there are already countries who do bar state welfare to immigrants, most famously Australia who disallows welfare to anyone who cheers for the All Blacks until they get themselves an Australian flag tattooed just above their heart. So it’s certainly possible.
That this isn’t what they call for suggests it is not immigrants taking welfare that really animates them.
And what of warfare?
Well, we do know that for the most part it has not been immigrants who have been blowing themselves up in large numbers in their delusional bid to get to paradise, it has been mostly the home-grown – a fact that so many are so keen to evade.
Further, it’s always been the case that those fleeing barbarism know to a man who their torturers were, so that making these people your allies instead of your opponents actually helps you hunt down their badder bastards; proving once again that the best way to actually prevent terrorists from slipping in is to legalise as much "illegal immigration" as possible. Why? Because, explains James Valliant, “if one is looking for a needle in a haystack, as the saying goes, one has a hell of job. Finding that needle on a relatively clean floor, however, presents an achievable goal.”
The issue becomes even simpler, explains Keith Weiner,
when you differentiate between
A) an immigrant; and
B) an enemy warrior who comes here to destroy our world..
With that distinction clear, when someone favours cracking down on employers and talks about "jobs" as if Luddites and Marxists and Mercantilists haven't been debunked for two centuries, then you know where they stand. When he talks about "we don't need more unskilled labourers," then you know he favours the economic system of Benito Mussolini and central planning…
An enemy warrior is not an immigrant. He has no part of a discussion on immigration, except as a smokescreen to mask Mercantilist ideas.
SO EVEN ON THESE two most powerful of the anti-immigrationists arguments, it’s clear that actual facts are not what motivates the anti-immigrationists.
I wonder what does?