Geopolitics of Immigration

Who could have thought in the 20th century that immigration would become a major point of contention in the 21st? The debate is fought over the primacy of either national security or mercy. Which is more important? How many citizen deaths are acceptable per harbored immigrant? What percentage of the national wealth should be shared with those who had not yet contributed to it? Is the experience of new cultures worth the dilution of established social norms and institutions?

Those questions are asked from the vantage point of countries that receive migrants. How do governments that lose citizens to emigration perceive the same situation? In general, they are aggravated by it and powerless to oppose it. The new imperialism is head hunting. Corporations poach talented specialists from time to time, but developed nations obsessively hoard them.

This whole system is served to the public under the guise of promoting diversity, while the select most significant groups of migrants are not diverse. They are highly educated, multilingual, and skilled members of the upper middle class of their native lands. The recent refugee crisis is an anomaly to the processes that operated steadily for the past 80 years. It clouds the grim reality: underdeveloped nations will long remain underdeveloped, because those who can help develop them the most in this generation will either work for a Western corporation or relocate West.

One of my friends in Central Asia won a “green card lottery” and was granted permission to move to the USA. The selection process is said to be random. While waiting in the hall of the US embassy for his interview, he struck up conversations with the other lucky future migrants. They were mostly engineers and all college graduates. You can allocate government funding for education, or you can get an educated professional that somebody else paid to train. Which is a smarter business practice?

2014 Immigration
Immigrant Share of Employed College-Educated Workers by Occupational Group, 2014; U.S. Census Bureau 2014 ACS, cited by Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova.

The fact that over half of the top-grossing corporations in the USA were started by the first or second generation of immigrants is well established. Top technology and science centers receive the most college-educated immigrants by design. Those entrepreneurs, however, are not the half-literate fodder of the leftist welfare voyeurism. They are the people who could have started a successful business in their native country but did not. And, their native country lost the cost of their education, tax revenue from their labor, and the special benefits of any technology they may have helped develop.

The fastest way to destroy a nation is to hire all the talent out of it. But why would you want to destroy it, if you can keep leeching its brainpower? In this brave new world order, conquest is a pointless enterprise as long as international travel remains unrestricted. Arguably, most migrants who move West are better off. But what about those who remain? Do they have a future? And if they do, is that future going to migrate West?