Saturday, 11 March 2017

Following Canada's Example

Immigration and the Control of Borders

The EU has failed miserably to control its borders.  Weighed down by utopian idealism, it has opened its borders virtually to anyone who comes.  It sees itself as the great beacon of humanitarianism.  It's utopian dreaming has caused dislocations not only in the host countries of Europe, but in the "sending" countries as well.  Germany has led the ideological charge towards utopia.  If the European Union breaks apart as a result, Germany will largely be to blame.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States is having its own struggles over immigration.  Under President Obama, the US followed in Chancellor Merkel's train.  Obama's grand progressive humanism became more and more evident as he instructed immigration and border agents to ignore the law and turn a blind eye to the folk streaming across the southern border.

Now Trump has announced that he favours a different system--a points-based system, which is far more discerning, selective, and enables the aligning of US interests with the aspiring immigrant.  This, we believe, will prove to be a huge step forward.
 In the first place, it is a model which has been advocated for some time by legislators within both the Democratic and Republican parties.  Secondly, points-based models have been deployed in various countries around the world and have proved remarkably successful.  New Zealand is one example.  Thirdly, the points based model is flexible: criteria for migrant entry can be adjusted and changed according to the needs of the hosting country--needs which inevitably change over time.  Fourthly, the model leads to much greater transparency for aspiring migrants.

Canada has run a point-based immigration model for some time.  It was the first nation to do so.   It appears to be working well.
About 63% of those granted legal permanent residence in Canada — the final step before becoming citizens — are admitted for their economic skills, with only 24% admitted based on having family members living in the country. The U.S. system is reversed: 63% of green cards are given to immigrants with family connections, and only 13% given based on economic reasons.

Canada was also the first country to use a point system to grade economic immigrants — a 100-point scale that rewards foreigners with PhDs and extensive work experience in specialized fields.  During Trump's address to a joint session of Congress, he praised the system used by Canada, Australia and "many other nations" during a portion of his speech that called for reforming an "outdated" legal immigration system that hurts American workers.

"Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits," Trump said. "It will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class." [USA Today]
One of the major problems with immigration policies is how well migrants integrate into their host countries.  If migrants do not integrate successfully they end up estranged, often living in ghettos,  disappointed, disaffected, angry, and bitter.  The host nation often ends up despising them as obdurate and ignorant second class citizens.

Here is the points register in the Canadian system:
Applicants are given a score on a 100-point scale, with points awarded in six categories:

• 28 maximum points for language skills. The more fluent they are in English and French, Canada's two official languages, the more points they get.

• 25 points for education — 5 for a high school diploma, 19 for a two-year college degree, 25 for a PhD.

• 15 maximum points for work experience — the more skilled the job, and the more years spent doing it, the more points.

• 12 maximum points for age — the younger the applicant, the more points awarded.

• 10 points maximum if they have a current job offer from a Canadian employer.

• 10 points maximum for "adaptability," which includes things like family ties to Canadians or past visits to the country.
Other nations have different criteria which are regarded as important to the host country.   Note, in Canada's case, the importance placed on language skills--which in turn is critical to social integration, helping to prevent the development of cultural ghettos.  Also, note that this immigration points system has very little to do with universal love and compassion towards suffering human beings.  It is a system which, in the first instance, focuses upon the needs of the host country.  This represents the difference between national self-government, on the one hand, and humanitarianism's internationalism, on the other.

We do not mean to imply that allowing refugees to enter one's country is wrong.  Rather, it is to place it in a special or different category where a whole lot of extra support, provisioning, and care is needed for people traumatized by deprivation and suffering elsewhere in the world.

As noted above, New Zealand has a points based immigration system.  It works well on the whole, allowing adjustment to the criteria and the relative importance of each as circumstances and needs of the host country change.  Because the system is objective and disclosed, it helps prevent irritation and anger, both on the part of the receiving nation and aspiring immigrants.

If Trump follows through on this, he will have done a good thing.

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