August 4, 2014

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

immigrationTwo issues seem to be dominating the internet this past week or so: Immigration and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the former has more to do with immediate economic issues in the United States, the latter will send me off the deep end and couldn’t be covered in a lifetime of perpetual writing.

So, in the interest of brevity and my frail heart, we’ll stick with immigration.

Immigration is the government term for what really amounts to nothing more than moving or migration. Here at GWP, we’re big fans of internationalizing. We wholly endorse and promote the idea of getting multiple passports, residencies and when possible citizenships. I’ve been challenged several times on this with people criticizing the countries we suggest. But never once do they consider the strategic benefits of investing in additional residencies, passports and citizenships!

There is the ease of travel, the ability to set up bank accounts, the ability to live and work in various places around the world, access to neighboring and partnering countries… none of which have anything to do with planting roots in one particular country or another! It’s just greasing the wheels of a global life!

That being said, these processes are difficult. Even the “easy” ones can be time-consuming. It does require some money as well.

As we discuss and try to facilitate legal migration on this site, it’s important to address the multitudes who don’t have the means to pay-to-play internationally. The North Korean defectors, the Sudanese fleeing to Israel, the Mexicans and Central Americans fleeing to America are the larger populations of individuals who are simply seeking a safer and better way of life than what they were dealt in their home countries.

My own position on this matter is that migration is as natural a phenomenon in nature as foraging for food. Butterflies migrate. Deer migrate. Whales migrate. All without regard for our national borders, and by and large humans don’t stop them either. In fact, in many cases, we protect them! But when other humans decide to do the same thing, all of a sudden, people get upset.

I don’t think there should be a process or a price tag or paperwork for something as fundamental as migrating and moving. I can hold that position because I’m not plagued with senseless fears over people from other geographies. I know who is really to blame for the economic woes of my country and it’s not some poor migrant from Central America. I know who is responsible for the violence in my country, and it’s not some tattooed gang member from Mexico.

There are some countries who recognize the economic value of immigrants. The United States used to be among them. America built industries off the backs of immigrants.   Now we have Eastern European countries who are relaxing their processes to make themselves more inviting to those who wish to do business in them. Estonia and Poland, for example, have far less onerous policies toward businesses than their Western European counterparts.

Again, however, they still appear to be policies geared toward businesses more than individuals. I wrote an “Open Letter to South America” about a year ago entreating each country to open its borders and offer an expedited process for disenfranchised Americans. I stand by it. While I don’t advocate for borders or government, even from a totally statist point of view, it would be in the countries’ best interests to give streamlined access to industrious individuals who don’t represent large corporations or businesses.  It’s been demonstrated that industrious people, even those who perform the most menial of tasks, bolster the respective countries’ GDP.

The United States, despite its incessant complaining about immigrants from the South, still benefits greatly from them. I mean NET benefit. They ultimately contribute more than they take, and are helping to prop up the American economy with essential services unemployed – and dare I say entitled – Americans won’t take. Why would they, when unemployment benefits and welfare pay more than minimum wage!?

The crack-down on immigrants will only hurt our economy and overall GDP. The crack-down on immigrants will hurt states whose GDP largely relies on agriculture and construction. How can anyone be so nationalistic that they would sooner forsake their economy before allowing people to move where they wish?

What really puts a strain on the American economy when discussing the immigration issue is not what the immigrants do, but what the government does in response to their efforts to migrate!

In a ten year span from 2000 to 2010, the US spent $90 BILLION on border control. Where’s the return on investment there? In the past couple days, Obama and Congress have exchanged various proposals for the immediate future ranging from over $3 BILLION to almost $700 MILLION.

While border advocates cry about the dangers of gangs coming over the border, I have to wonder if that would still be a concern if we ended the War on Drugs, lifted the regulations on guns, and legalized gambling and prostitution. These are all the big revenue sources for black market gang activity.

Border advocates likewise get indignant about how immigrants will drain our welfare system while at the same time steal American jobs! I have no idea how that is meant to work. I mean, which is it? Are they stealing the jobs, whereby disqualifying them from welfare? Or are they on welfare, whereby absolving them from stealing jobs?

Interesting to note that in all of my moving around the United States, I’ve never once been accused of stealing the new state’s jobs. When I moved from California to Michigan, no one said I was stealing Michigan jobs. Nor did they accuse me of trying to mooch off of Michigan welfare programs. That’s probably because moving is rarely related to attempted theft. Moving is historically and inherently a survival tactic.

I say all this for two reasons: 1. I wish more people would and could see, experience, and live in other countries; and 2. To encourage a discussion that would guide folks toward a more open policy for human migration.  Both of these things would change the scope of discourse extraordinarily with regards to how people view immigration… or migration… or moving… or traveling.

Economies thrive on choice and dynamics, not stagnation and protectionism. Businesses get this. Some individuals get this. But for some reason, governments and the sheep who follow and worship them, don’t.

Live free, everyone.  And allow others to do the same.