Source: Image by Jesus Ortega
Migration is a controversial contemporary issue with important socio-economic consequences. Is immigration good or bad? Should it be facilitated?
Is immigration good or bad?
The arrival of President Donald Trump to the White House brought a new hard-line anti-immigration agenda to US politics. One of the most controversial promises of Trump was to build a great wall to impede undocumented migrants to cross the border with Mexico. He also has declared the will to reduce the number of green cards granted every year, launched a temporary travel ban from some Muslim countries and proposed the mass deportation of undocumented migrants. US policy coupled with the Syrian refugees crisis in Europe reignited the public debate about immigration worldwide. Is immigration good or bad?
In many countries, immigration laws have been reinforced in the last decade. At the same time, parties against immigration seem to attract more voters. Some argue that they take the jobs that nationals could otherwise undertake, or that they dilute the orignial culture and traditions of the receipient country. On the other hand immigrants can have a positive effect in the economies of recipient countries, in particular those with an aging population. They can work and contribute to the system so to ensure the pensions of those retired. Some migrants are also refugees or asylum seekers. Emigrants can also help the economic development of their countries of origin through remittances.
Policy-makers considering a reform aiming at facilitating immigration take into consideration these pros and cons of immigration:
Immigration Cons (against relaxation of immigration policies)
- With the influx of migrants the equilibrium in the job market may be altered and wages and bargaining power of local workers may decrease.
- If more low paid workers are suddenly available in the labor market employers may be less concerned with productivity and training.
- Pull factor: if a country facilitates immigration it would attract many people who would otherwise stay in their home country or migrate to other countries.
- If the regulations controlling the influx of migrants are relaxed countries could potentially face more migrants than they could absorb naturally.
- An fast influx in population could put pressure, in the short term, on public services, such as education and health services.
- Some argue that migrant populations, due to their vulnerable socio-economic status and lack of societal support are more prone to engage in criminal activities.
- Brain drain. Migration can be very damaging to some countries which can lose many of their most capable workers.
- Cultural and religious friction can be increased with immigration.
Immigration pros (In favor of laws facilitating immigration)
- Migrants' work helps sustain economic growth.
- Migrants are in general young and help rejuvenate their host countries. Developed countries have often a problematic population pyramid.
- Migrants are key to ensure the pension system in some aging countries. The pension gap can be filled with the contributions from migrants.
- The relative use of public services by migrants is usually low. With their work and the taxes they pay they can help governments maintain public services.
- Migrants help in developing their countries of origin through remittances.
- Many migrants are highly skilled workers that can allow the host country to get a competitive advantage.
- Many migrants are political refugees seeking assylum. Making it easier for these migrants to find a safe place to live resonates with the Human Rights ideology the West defends.
- Host countries are culturally enriched and diversity is increased. Migrants bring their literature, traditions, food, etc.
- Keeping tough laws against immigration does not solve the problem. Tough immigration laws often increased the share of migrants who are undocumented and do not fully contribute to support the public system of the host government.
What do you think about the current immigration laws in your country? Should we change them? If so, should we make them more or less restrictive?
If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.
Immigration pros and cons: do you agree with the relaxation of immigration policies?
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