Europe’s immigration bind: how to act morally while heeding the will of its people

…. In immigration policy, there are no quick fixes that allow us to tie together the moral, the workable and the democratic. The migrant crisis is a longstanding one and whatever policies are conjured up will not solve it this year or next. Indeed, the key problem lies not at the level of policy at all, but at the level of attitude and perception. That is why we need to think more in the long term.

Liberal immigration policies can be enforced only by winning public support, not in spite of public opposition. Winning such support is not a chimera, there is no iron law that the public must be irrevocably hostile to immigration. Large sections of the public have become hostile because they have come to associate immigration with unacceptable change.

That is why, paradoxically, the immigration debate cannot be won simply by debating immigration, nor the migration crisis solved merely by enacting migration policies. Anxieties about immigration are an expression of a wider sense of political voicelessness and disengagement. Until that underlying political problem is tackled, the arrival of migrants on Europe’s shores will continue to be seen as a crisis. [Kenan Malik, 1612 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 554 votes] There is so much wrong with this piece I don’t know where to start.

Let’s consider the following statement:

“There are already 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon – 20% of the population. That is the equivalent of Europe playing host to 150 million refugees.”

Refugees in Lebanon are mostly confined to camps. Their employment opportunities are restricted and they are heavily reliant on international aid agencies. There is no intention that they should ever become citizens or even permanent residents.

As an example there are “Palestinian refugees” in Lebanon whose grandparents were born in that country. They are restricted in the jobs they can do and are largely dependent on UNWRA for survival.

If the UK treated refugees like Lebanon they would be confined to camps in remote areas and would be unable to access the NHS.

You are not comparing like with like. It is one thing for Lebanon or Turkey to keep large numbers of refugees in camps with help from aid agencies. It is entirely different for a welfare state to do it.

“A million refugees and migrants arrived last year. That represents not much more than 0.1 per cent of the EU population.”

Again a false comparison. It’s not what proportion of the total European population they represent but what proportion of their age cohort. In Germany for example the arrivals are slightly more than 1% of the total population but almost 10% of the 15 – 24 age cohort. In fact +- 15% of the 15-24 male age cohort. These are the people who will have to compete with arrivals for everything from jobs to access to healthcare.

If I were a business owner who relied on relatively low skill cheap Labour I’d love an influx of fit young males into a welfare state would make sure they don’t starve.

For everyone else this may not be such a pleasant experience.

Above all there is the chutzpah of believing that accepting a large influx of refugees really is the “moral” policy and the unwashed masses must somehow be cajoled into accepting this. The very premise of this piece – that the author knows what constitutes a moral policy – is, at the very least, debatable.

[2ND 425] This piece mentions politicians’ “disdain” for the opponents of immigration yet shares it. Neither economic pressure on the poor nor religious segregation are mentioned, yet they are both a threat to the “little people”. One would think immigrants were neither poorer than nor culturally distinct from Europeans.

But the fact is that most migrants are poor, and most have a certain robust religious culture and will, to a considerable extent, be mentally segregated from the host communities, whether they live together in physically segregated modern ghettos or not. Quite quickly, because of their higher birthrate, they will take over.

[3RD 310] You can only take the piss for so long before people start to realise. Preaching that there are only positive effects of immigration and anyone who questions this is a bigot will inevitably cause a backlash.

[4TH 300] I have always supported a reasonable immigration policy and believe that our country has been enriched and is truly multicultural with the historical immigration of Asian, West Indian, Irish, Italian, Polish etc etc. ……

But what we are seeing now is the possible mass immigration of a people with one specific backward religion who have no desire to join the western way of life and instead form their own communities within our country.

Like many people in the UK I am proud of the hard won freedoms , and tolerance we have in this country …..I don`t want to import a culture of intolerance, homophobia, and anti-women bigotry.

[8TH 258] The gist of this piece seems to be that (a) people can’t see the benefits of uncontrolled mass immigration because they are pig ignorant, and thus (b) if we talk to them slowly, patiently and often enough, they will eventually see the light and decide that letting in hundreds of millions of (mostly economic) migrants from the Global South is a truly wonderful thing.

The electorates of Europe do not need and do not want these vast quantities of people. They know that we cannot cope with one million, or two million, or more every single year for the indefinite future.

We lack the means to successfully integrate vast numbers of people from different cultures – to provide them with homes, and jobs, and language skills, and to train them to fit into our society successfully, and to keep an eye on all the religious nutjobs who will inevitably come in with them so that they don’t commit acts of mass murder. This is not going to change. When will thick left-liberals finally get the message?! [Guardian Cif] Read more

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