Enemies In The Backyard
Immigration is a topic that always rears its head in times of recession. Now that Republican JD Hayworth’s law, which requires police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants and makes it a crime not to have valid immigration papers on your person, is in effect in the state of Arizona, he wants to expand it to cover Birth Tourism, the idea that pregnant families move to give citizenship to their unborn children, and possibly take it still further.
According to US press, the current new anti-immigration law is prompting immigrants to flee in droves and creating a climate of fear in Arizona, and yet is under consideration in 20 other states. In the US, 58% of the nation’s real growth in income over the last 40 years has gone to the top 1% of the population, which means that migrants carry out the worst jobs. Whipping up the immigration issue is a good way for that rich 1% to deflect criticism. My American friends are possibly the most hardworking people I have ever met outside of India, but I’m not sure that having tougher immigration laws is going to make their lives easier.
London has a ‘grey’ population of around 1 million illegal immigrants, but here the long-gestating plan is to provide a national amnesty that will raise around £6 billion in tax revenue while securing the future of those who live and work in the capital. It could provide a way out of migrants having to perform the jobs no-one else wants to do. The argument that migrants cause crime falls apart here because England barely makes the top fifty highest per capita murder rates, ranking below Canada and New Zealand.
Why don’t we ask ourselves how highly cosmopolitan cities can have low crime rates? Perhaps because it’s proof that people are just people wherever you go, and the real enemy in the backyard is not the migrant worker but the rich man condemning him.