Politics of immigration are a touchy issue, but the solution is not an anti-immigrant one. Western governments are weighing whether or not they should slam the doors on migration and tighten border control. Anti-immigrant campaigns are gaining ground among European and American voters, but this policy could turn negative for the overall economic performance and demographic strength of their nations.
Global migration reached a historic peak during the 20th century. It has always been a potential economic force, and now there are 215 million first-generation migrants around the world that are a strong force in wealthy economies. Nation and industry stand to gain from the brains and hard work of newcomers.
At the political and sociological levels, however, the issue is decidedly more complicated. Unskilled migrants very often do not—or are not allowed to—assimilate with the population as they are relentlessly segregated by economic class, legal status, neighborhood, language, or religion. They often create far-reaching cultural and religious shock for their host countries. Studies also show the wages of unskilled immigrants depress the wages of unskilled locals. But they ultimately bring greater gains.
Migrants have always helped spread ideas and generate wealth more than bringing burdens with them. Many of the emerging world’s brightest minds have been educated at western universities and helped shape their home and their host countries’ politics, economies, and technology. Migration gives youth to aging countries and supplies a workforce to help stabilize the economic health of rich countries.
An anti-immigration policy for a wealthy nation with an aging population was equated to “national suicide” by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year. The diaspora of cultures can only make welcoming countries richer both culturally and economically.