“Here’s some advice to my fellow liberals: If you want to defend liberal democracy in this age of “noisy populist movements”, stop condemning people who disagree with you about immigration. In both America and Europe, liberal commentators tend to treat every call for immigration curbs as a xenophobic assault on democracy.
“Yet the conflation of liberal values with an enthusiastically pro-immigration stance “mistakes a policy preference for a first principle”. Wide-open borders are not a prerequisite of a democratic society in the way that, say, a free press or judicial independence are. “Populist” proposals to restrict immigration here and in Europe are “actually quite popular”.
“Many on the Left not only refuse to acknowledge this, but behave as if the very concept of borders is immoral. Activists “egg on” so-called sanctuary cities to defy federal immigration laws, and call for policies that would “eliminate any meaningful distinctions between citizens and non-citizens”. As long as liberals refuse to make any concessions on immigration, and portray “every move to strengthen borders or discourage further migratory waves” as one more step in the march to fascism, “the only people who benefit will be fascists”. (James Kirchick, New York Post, March 24 2018)
What should be the attitude of Epicureans to migration? I reach for one of the obvious principles: moderation. Given a wide enough door you get a large influx, including grannies, aunts and uncles, who may need financial and housing support. The new immigrants keep their own language and culture en masse, making integration difficult. We are all tribal to some extent, and it is natural and human for the indigenous folk to resent the change in their culture and way of life, not to mention the diversion of resources (especially housing). It is not “fascist”.
My personal attitude is that we should accept refugees from violence and war, but for, say , five years or until the conflict ends. These people should be helped, but then return to rebuild their countries. Then, we should welcome those with badly needed education and skills (since we are not good, on either side of the Atlantic, at producing them ourselves). But illegal immigration is illegal immigration, and I think it is reasonable to ask illegals to wait in line and enter through the official system, making their case as they go.
I am a legal immigrant to the United States and I went through (the long, clumsy, bureaucratic) system with increasing dismay, but stuck at it and eventually became a dual citizen. What I did others can do. Moderation.