Monday, 31 August 2015

The migration debacle

As Europe flays about, trying to forge some sort of coherent strategy to cope with the exponential[*] flow of migrants (which used to be aka "undocumented" or "illegal" migrants), Francois Heisbourg weighs in with his "France cannot indulge the xenophobes on immigration" in the 28 August Financial Times.
He laments that
At present, most EU member states, France included, are not providing the systematic right of asylum to which war-refugees are entitled under international humanitarian law or by common decency.
And claims that
The deliberate conflation by demagogues of immigration, the refugee exodus, the spread of Islam and jihadi terrorism is as emotionally powerful as it is factually spurious.
But not all who want to control (somehow, somewhere) the immigrant flood (or "swarm" as Cameron called it, correctly), are demagogues, wanting to "arouse emotions, passions and prejudices of the people".
Take The Atlantic, for example, a high-quality review with a moderate world view.  In its "Closing Europe's Harbors" by David Frum (July/August 2015), it makes the following points:
The current migrants, however, are overwhelmingly working-age males. All of them have paid a substantial price to make the trip: it can cost upwards of $2,000 to board a smuggler’s boat, to say nothing of hundreds or even thousands of dollars to travel from home to the embarkation point in the first place. Very few of the migrants from Libya are actually Libyan nationals.
which puts lie to the regular claim on the left (and by the United Nations) that the migrants are all refugees
... a 2014 study in The Economic Journal found that each year between 1995 and 2011, immigrants from outside the European Economic Area were a net drag on the United Kingdom’s budget.
which put lie to the regular claim on the left that immigrants are always a positive to the host country
Immigrants’ economic frustration and ensuing social isolation has in turn fostered political radicalization and violent extremism.
Which we all rather know of, don't we?
And, quoting a book I've also often quoted:
Christopher Caldwell lamented several years ago in Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, his superb book on how migration has transformed Europe, the price of increased diversity has been diminished liberty.
Though you won't find that admitted by the likes of Heisbourg and his many fellow travellers (les bien pensants).

As for Heisbourg's claim on a "conflation" being "factually spurious", well consider: the migration to Europe is overwhelmingly Muslim.  That necessarily means that the votaries of Islam will increase, which will spread Islam, and necessarily again (see Caldwell) will lead to an increase in jihadi acts within Europe. In short, the "conflation" is far from spurious, it is a necessary outcome of the unchecked immigration (for that is what it undoubtedly is, at least for now).
And, in turn, the effect of that is that Europe is storing up huge problems for generations to come.
All for want of action.
And what could that action be?  For one, it could be to tackle the human traffickers at source: Libya, as Kim Semgupta argues here.  And for second, to foster a Syria-in-exile economy located in Jordan and other neighbouring countries, as professor Paul Collier argues here.
Professor Paul Collier also raises an issue that's rarely addressed in the debate on migration: the damage to the source country.  See articles I posted here and here.  This is particularly so when the migrants are educated, as all the evidence points to.
[*] Note that since Frum's article in The Atlantic of July/August, in which he quotes figures of 50,000 illegal immigrants to Europe from January to April 2015, the figures for July alone are 107,500.  That's not just exponential, it's a huge blow-out. Or, as Europe is now calling it, "a crisis of unprecedented proportion.  Yet, to date, no strategy, let alone a coherent one, per Semgupta and Collier above.