Immigration: A Single Argument Debate?

immigration, n.

The action of immigrating; entrance into a country for the purpose of settling there.

Today, I read an article by a gentleman named Sam Bowman from the Adam Smith Institute entitled ‘Immigration restrictions make us poorer’. One needn’t go into detail on its content: the title of the piece makes it blindingly obvious as to what the general thrust of its argument was.

All the articles I have ever read in favour of immigration have been written around the same theme, and this article is no different. The general perspective is that immigration is meritorious because of the wealth it generates, and to contradict this is tantamount to being an economic luddite. Quite honestly, nothing could be more hopelessly reductionist than the stubborn application of this principle, at the expense of all others, to what is a hugely complex affair that involves countless millions of lives.

The article in question sets out its stand by claiming that:

“Arguments both for and against open immigration often take place in ignorance of the economics of immigration.”

Thus, presumably, the ‘economics of immigration’ are the key centrepoint around which all immigration debates must be framed. The writer continues…

“It’s important to recognise that immigration has enormous benefits to indigenous populations as well as immigrants… As Bryan Caplan has argued, immigrants allow a greater division of labour in a country, effectively bypassing trade barriers, and drive per capita production upwards.”

These sentences – demarcated only by a bracketed statement by the writer – herein demonstrate the sole thrust of the writer’s argument in favour of open borders immigration. There is no other mention of the benefits to a country of a lunatic open borders policy. Also, I cannot be sure that an harmonious society is founded on the principle of the ‘division of labour’.

Furthermore, the writer seems keen to suggest that a person’s value to their nation is solely economic:

“Does, say, Vietnam really benefit from its most talented people being wasted in rice fields? I would say no – better to unlock those talents in Western economies and let some of the benefits flow to that person’s family back home.”

Quite aside from the brazen statement that an intelligent and gifted Vietnamese citizen would be doomed to work in the paddy fields rather than enter that nation’s expanding oil industry or manufacturing sectors, it seems to perceive that a person’s value is solely their ‘economic potential’ – a dehumanising and shallow analysis of the inherent human value and potential to achieve.

This pernicious philosophy is a direct cause of the horrendous exploitation of migrants, both economic and legal & economic and illegal – that already takes place in this country. Of late, almost every passing week has been marked by another story of awful exploitation and cruel treatment of people taking advantage of the UK’s lax border regulations as they are already.

Just the other day, the Guardian wrote an article about how Polish migrants to the UK since the EU freedom of working rights law in 2004 have often failed to meet their initial expectations of the wealth they would accrue here. The writer of the article lists the following as supposed ‘successes’.

“Whilst the vast majority have found work in the building industry, or as carers, cleaners or waitresses, not everyone has been happy.”

A far cry indeed from Sam Bowman’s assertion that a move to Western economies would ‘unlock talents’. Unfortunately, those mentioned in the article have often failed to work anything other than banal jobs for little recompense, falling into homelessness and destitution as a consequence.

Stories of this ilk have been emerging since 2006, when leading trade unionists warned of the lack of representation and burgeoning exploitation among vulnerable migrants. In 2007, the BBC carried out an investigation into the depth of the enforced depravity among the new ‘immigrant underclass‘. In 2010, the Guardian ruefully observed the exploitation of Romanian children as being symptomatic of a Romanian immigrant community trapped between mistrust for the authorities and fear of their employment status, with whatever concerns they were able to stable about their own lives taking second place.

And so it goes on. Just today, Jeremy Warner of the Telegraph offers the ‘solution’ of charging for immigration up for discussion. The financialisation of the topic seems unending.

Arguing about immigration along the lines of the original article conveniently glosses over what can only be described as the spiritual impoverishment of a ruling elite who import an all-new working class of low-paid, unrepresented labour to undertake jobs that the ‘indigenous’ working class no longer wish to undertake. It conveniently glosses over the fact that an open borders policy is laughable and entirely unworkable in our collection of tiny nations on this island of limited space and even more limited resources and farming land. It dehumanises people who come to this country in hope of a better standard of living, and reduces us all to merely human doings rather than human beings.

It is our responsibility in this nation going forward to ensure that our immigration laws not only work in our favour in making sensible and practical choices in favour of our nation and our economy, but also for those people who come here to work. As ultimately, we should pay equal attention to the spiritual poverty of the system we work within at present as we already do to the supposedly bountiful fiscal benefits of immigration.

For England to be seen as the beacon of freedom it always has been historically, and to restore faith in politicians, our neighbours, our co-workers and colleagues and most importantly, to those who come here in search of work, we must lift ourselves from this fiscal barbarism and design a system of immigration that is fair, logical, respects human rights and encourages growth at a steady and sensible rate.


About Byrnsweord

I am an Englishman. Constantly striving for the truth and to conserve what is good about England. You can find my on flickr at my blog over at and my Twitter account at Byrnsweord is min nama.
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2 Responses to Immigration: A Single Argument Debate?

  1. Jon Harris says:

    Good, constructive, well written, reasoned and annotated post. I bet “the left” hate you 🙂

    • Byrnsweord says:

      I thank you for your kind words, my good man. As for folks on the left… I bear no ill will to anyone, and very much hope that that is reciprocated.

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