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A Reader Reports U.K. Economists Querying Immigration Too
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November 11, 2002, 04:00 AM
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An Australian Reader Critiques The Economist; Peter Brimelow Comments

Have you noticed that MigrationWatch UK, the genteel but intellectually-vigorous British immigration reform site I pointed out to you in August, has just published a new report? They say it "challenges for the first time the concept that the current record levels of immigration produce a net `benefit` to the nation`s finances."

To me, the structure and logic of the discussion is eerily similar to the arguments on this subject in Alien Nation:

"A recent Home Office paper claimed that in 1999/2000 migrants in the UK contributed in taxes £2.5 billion more than they consumed in benefits and state services. This sum is quite trivial compared to overall Government expenditure of about £400 billion per year…[Furthermore] a small net contribution [from immigrants is]…inadequate. Most asylum seekers and other dependants are relatively young. The appropriate comparator, therefore, would be an indigenous sample of similar ages. In that age group there is, in all Western countries, a massive excess of taxes paid over services received."

"It is the unskilled who are suffering from an influx of unskilled immigrants; there is incontrovertible evidence that increasing the pool of unskilled labour lowers unskilled wages and raises the level of unskilled unemployment."

"The effects on our social cohesion and sense of identity have become a concern - particularly as some migrants show little desire to integrate with the host society."

They have even note a letter from Richard Layard, the prominent left-leaning economist, in the Financial Times (May 20, 2002), decrying the impact of unskilled immigration on the European working class.

Amusingly, a key argument of immigration enthusiasts in the U.K. is - that immigration has been good for the U.S.!

The Migration Watch paper lays out, in a methodical way, concepts which equally apply to the U.S. Your readers might like to take a look.

November 11, 2002