Following the organised and coordinated mass rapes of women by gangs of Muslim men in Cologne and several other European cities at New Year, much has been written and said about the dishonesty and cowardice surrounding much of the discussions. I will not go into that here. I just want to highlight three points about migrants that often get mangled in all this.
- Migrants are a financial net gain to an economy, not a drain on it, as often assumed
- Refugees are often determined, highly-resilient people
- Migrants do not leave their norms and values behind when the flee to a new land
There. I’ve said it and it’s out in the open. So now let me elaborate.
- Racists and xenophobes often howl that migrants are a drain on national resources. This is not the case. Given that, in most cases, migrants move from a society with a lower standard of living to one with a higher standard, while their consumption patterns remain unchanged, i.e., they work longer hours than the “natives” and consume (and discard) less. $1,000 invested in a migrant will go a lot further than if it were invested in a non-migrant, assuming a level playing field.
- By the time a refugee finally arrives at his or her destination, they could well have been living by their wits for the better part of a year, sneaking across ten or more borders undetected and making their way across whole continents evading authorities and predators (both human and animal), finding food and shelter and staying healthy. The people who make it through to the other end will have had life experiences that the locals couldn’t even imagine. We’re talking here about a calibre of human who, had they not been a refugee, would, in all likelihood, have ended up in some influential position in society. These are the very people great nations are made of.
- I once had a job teaching English to asylum-seekers in the UK. They were from Cameroon, Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. One day one of my students (the only Iranian) suggested the following discussion topic: “What would you do if your child told you he or she was gay?” The class erupted in a near-riot. Every single one of my students had fled persecution and death in their own countries. Every single one of them, except the Iranian, complained that we did not persecute and kill gays in the UK. Once they’d calmed down and the discussion actually got underway, some said they’d have nothing to do with those children. Most said they’d kill them. One, the quietest, most petite woman in the class (hijab and all), said, “I’d take them on holiday to Africa and have them killed there.”