Morning Ed: Borders {2018.07.25.W}

[Bo1] Alex Tabarrok looks at the wasted talent of underdeveloped countries. A good argument for education-and-beyond visas and high-skill immigration, perhaps.

[Bo2] Things that didn’t start with Trump: A look at our ignoble history of de-naturalization.

[Bo3] And here’s a tweet storm by Tobias Harris on how Japan is coming around on the notion of (we-dare-not-call-them) immigrants.

[Bo4] Where is the line to get in on the other side of this bet?

[Bo5] While I think some of the criticisms over here are overwrought, Americans should really tread carefully here as France tries to find its own combination of Frenchness and multiculturalism and some of us (including a tweet of my own) have been too quick to try to fit it into our own.

[Bo6] Ilya Somin compares citizenship to aristocracy, which is… fair, I guess, as far as that goes, though not especially useful in the contemporary context. Given the similarities, it’s not a surprise that citizenship can be bought though I am surprised to see Australia on the list.

[Bo7] Colonialism doesn’t necessarily hurt nation-building, though things like a lack of a common language do and it’s generally hard to build a nation from the outside (as we have learned).

[Bo8] Nationalists are advancing in Sweden.

[Bo9] Lopez Obrador wants to protect his border.


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17 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Borders {2018.07.25.W}

  1. Bo5: The “purchasing” of foreign sports talent is a thing that people can resent independent of race. Look at what a lot of countries do with Table tennis players when olympic season comes around. Players from China go around the world to take up citizenship in various countries to represent them in the olympics. After their olympic career, they often return to China to work as table tennis coaches. Even though 76% of Singaporeans are Han Chinese, they still think that the sports medals that Singapore wins in the table tennis competition don’t genuinely belong to us.

    The question of whether this applies to the french soccer team is at least partly empirical. How recently did these players gain French citizenship?

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  2. Bo5: In a related story on Tablet, Liel Leibovitz writes about coercive cosmopolitanism in a defense of Israel’s recent and controversial nationality law.

    There are two mutually inconsistent strain of thought that are contributing to tensions of national identity. Both of these strains have the origin after the word wars. One is that peoples have a right to self-determination and that different national groups should get to choose their own identity. The other is that democracy and human rights are universal values and governments should not prefer one particular religion, group, or culture over others and that minority groups should expand the definition of nationality. Not helping matters is that most people are inconsistent about these principles, so they might be shocked when their groups does not get preferred status but have no issue when it is their group that does the discriminating. I’m sure most of the Muslims who continually protest against Israel aren’t going to be so quick to dismantle the association between Islam and state that exists in most Muslim majority countries.

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    • I’m sure most of the Muslims who continually protest against Israel aren’t going to be so quick to dismantle the association between Islam and state that exists in most Muslim majority countries.

      You realise that this refers only to a specific subgroup of people who object to ethno-nationalist states. It may very well be that most Muslims from Islamic countries lack the standing to criticise Israel for tying state to religion (unless they also criticise their own states equally harshly). It doesn’t follow that the criticism isn’t accurate.

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  3. Bo2: One of the things that John F. Kennedy did in his life, as the Vox article points out, is that he got America to think of itself as a nation of immigrants. Before that many Americans saw the United States as Anglo-Protestant or White Protestant nation despite not having an official church. African-Americans, Catholics, and Jews were just kind of there but the majority idea was that there was a definite American identity and definite American ideals that the United States had a right to enforce. The Far Right under Trump is trying to revive this idea of America as a White country.

    Bo3: Necessity is the mother of invention, or innovation and social change, as they say here.

    Bo6: Austria is a nice place but the price of Austrian citizenship seems more than a little overpriced. On a more serious note, its interesting how the borderless world advocates see how things will turn out differently once they achieve their goal. The Leftist borderless world advocates imagine that getting rid of the nation-state and turning countries into administrative subdivisions like counties are an important part of advancing the social democratic agenda. They imagine a global Sweden with social security benefits, healthcare, and excellent education available globally. In many ways, it is the one world government utopia that the Left used to have. The right advocates of the borderless world believe that it will lead to the perfect free market system and represent the final defeat of socialism.

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  4. Bo9: Troubling.

    The seeming lack of a racial conflict, material wealth and social democracy are all exemplary and have been held up as models of good government and healthy society by many. But Sweden and Norway are not pluralist societies to the degree of France or the UK (or the US certainly) and the Nordic countries did not escape WWII unscathed by the taint of Fascism. Is there still a racial undercurrent that will emerge as demographics shift?

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  5. [Bo2] The Smithsonian Magazine really should not be highlighting people who used fraud and deceit to obtain citizenship in advocating liberalized immigration. And it really, really should not be highlighting an individual who was ordered deported in 1991, who has not been deported, but stripped of citizenship and given permanent residency status.

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    • Most of the alleged fraud and deceit are because many of the questions on immigration forms are highly ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations. In my experience as an immigration lawyer, I’ve seen USCIS change how the interpret questions on form. For instance, the have you every been arrested question. When I started immigration practice, what were known as purely political arrests were not required to be mentioned because a purely political arrest was not a grounds for removability. Sometime during the Obama administration and without really telling people, USCIS decided that aliens do need to mention purely political arrests on immigration forms. So when immigration hardliners accuse people of fraud and deceit, it generally means that the interpreted a question giving rise to multiple interpretations in a way USCIS did not like.

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      • The wording in the article includes being “detained” by a police officer.

        I was detained for about 15 minutes by a police officer in Germany, for a search of our bags that would be totally illegal and unconstitutional in Canada, the US, and even German states other than Bavaria. Grounds for suspicion: we were walking from a convenience store to a campground, and the cops allegedly suspected some tourists at the campground might, maybe, have been buying drugs by that store.

        So, do I report that? If I forget that, did I commit fraud?

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      • But the fraud adjudicated here was by someone filing two inconsistent applications using different names. I can appreciate that the process can be confusing, particularly given the language and cultural barrier. I also think your job is pretty demanding in terms of client relations. But this guy changed his name to conceal that he had previously failed to show for an asylum hearing and was ordered deported. His is not a persuasive case; I am certain there are better.

        Also, absolutely hate a piece that states that the DOJ revoked his citizenship. Only a judge has that authority, so either the writer is a liar or not very familiar with the subject matter. I am certain that the Smithsonian Magazine can do better.

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  6. Bo6 – It’s not all that true in the USA because we have birthright citizenship and (by world standards) fairly straightforward naturalization process.

    It’s very true in the Gulf states, where Citizens are outright an ennobled caste (many with real titles) that lives on rents and hires everyone else out to do real work, both skilled and unskilled.

    (cc: @Jaybird)

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    • For some reason, a lot of places take the attitude “what can you do for me?” when it comes to whether you can become a citizen.

      Some of the nicer places let you mortgage it somewhat and give points for immigrating in your mid-20’s or something if you’ve got a good degree… other places let you dump your money up front (“buying” citizenship).

      For some reason (presumably a different one), the Gulf States say “you can’t ever be one of us so don’t even try… but if you want to work here, we’ll let you make your money and then get the heck out.”

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      • For some reason, a lot of places take the attitude “what can you do for me?” when it comes to whether you can become a citizen.

        One of the ways to think about the differences on immigration in the US — also some of the western European countries — is that the right says, “We’re not running a philanthropy here!” and the left says, “Yeah, we are.” Most of the world sides with the right on this: if you want citizenship or permanent residency, bring something that makes you worth letting in. I admit that I am of two minds on this. I know the arguments that most immigrants to the US work and pay taxes and rent/buy housing and their kids speak fine English. I also worry about — because it’s my peculiar thing — generating enough electricity to meet the demand without cooking the planet. A Syrian who immigrates to Germany, or a Costa Rican to the US, is going to use a lot more electricity in their new country than they did in their old one.

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