Friday, January 29, 2016

Real Refugees versus Economic Migrants in Europe

It seems that a large number of the migrants who came into Europe in 2015 are mere economic migrants, not genuine refugees, as is becoming painfully clear from recent news:
(1) Even left-wing and social democratic Sweden has discovered that it may have to deport as many as 80,000 of the migrants who came into Sweden in 2015 (see here and here). Why? Because they are not genuine refugees. The figure of 80,000 would be 49% – nearly half – of the 163,000 who arrived in 2015. Some migrants who refuse to leave also stay illegally and become part of the “black market economy,” which not only means such people often get exploited and become an underclass, but also tend to undermine Sweden’s labour market protections.

(2) In Finland, matters are worse: Finland may have to deport about 20,000 of the 32,000 who arrived last year (see here), and again because they turned out not to have a valid claim to asylum. This is a stunning 62.5% of those seeking asylum who arrived in Finland last year.

(3) EU officials are now complaining that there is also a rise in the number of people arriving in Europe who don’t actually have a valid claim to asylum, and migrants have been lying by claiming to be from Syria when they are not (see here). The European Commission chief Frans Timmermans, quoting unpublished data from the EU border agency Frontex, has even stated that 60% of those who arrived in Europe in December, 2015 are economic migrants, not real refugees (see
here). In essence, it is now being discovered that many people are from safe countries such as Albania, Kosovo, nations in West Africa, north Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

(4) even worse, there is a whole industry in fake Syrian passports that are being used by migrants to fraudulently get into Europe (see here and here). This is a security nightmare.
In short, this is a catastrophe on many levels, and the left should face reality and not stick its head in the sand: Europe can’t take in a million a year for years on end, because it will put enormous strains on resources and social services, drive political opinion to the right, and pose nightmarish security issues. It may even break up the EU (not necessary a bad thing in itself), but at the cost of delivering political power in Europe to the populist right.

Moreover, mass immigration on this scale will likely lead to intensified labour market deregulation and failed neoliberal policies to integrate migrants into labour markets.

Finally, there is a perfectly good left-wing argument against open borders and mass immigration, as I have pointed out here.


  1. Remember that a popular argument of the right against the left is that it does things out of compassion, only to have results that are not very compassionate.

    Being forced to deport people, of course, is not a compassionate outcome, even if the intentions were compassionate to begin with.

  2. No sympathy. The west should pay for its significant role in the state of these people's home countries, and that includes by "economic migrants."

    Humanitarian concerns trump gdp per capita. Unless you're the sort to look at a human being and just see bottom-line numerals.

    1. Sweden and Finland have zero responsibility for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Somalia.

    2. Anonymous@January 29, 2016 at 6:07 AM,

      So, under your logic here, would you also argue that Russia today should pay for its imperialist crimes against Eastern Europe, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan, with mass immigration into Russia from those countries??

    3. @LK your response here is odd

      The west paying for its significant role in people’s home countries by including “economic migrants”, does not necessarily entail ‘mass immigration’.
      What ‘Anonymous’ is referring to is that these countries have a moral responsibility to provide reparations for the role they’ve played in global hegemony.

      So in regards to your question above…I would answer that by saying:
      No, under that logic above mass immigration is not entailed necessarily.

    4. @Prateek
      Sweden has zero responsibility?
      Sweden is the world's third largest arms exporter per capita, Israel and Russia are the top.
      Clients include Pakistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.
      SAAB is a vehicle company but they also deal in arms and defence - they do more than 50% of all arms exports there.
      I could go on.
      But the point is: Sweden has supported brutal dictatorships for economic reasons.
      I can go into more detail if necessary, and how Sweden condemned the Iraq War yet still contributed hugely to it.

    5. So do ordinary Swedes -- the overwhelming majority of whom are not involved in the arms trade -- have to see their welfare state and nation wrecked by throwing the doors open to millions from the third world?

      This is what you imply. It is absurd. It is like you want to see the right sweep into power all over Europe.

    6. "What ‘Anonymous’ is referring to is that these countries have a moral responsibility to provide reparations "

      He referred explicitly to "economic migrants". Read his comment again.

    7. @LK
      I’m not sure how me explaining what my interpretation of what ‘Anonymous’ was referring to has implied that the Swedish people should have to see their welfare state destroyed by millions from the third world, or that I would like to see the right sweep into power all over Europe etc.
      Not sure how my post logically follows to this conclusion you’ve made concerning my prescriptions.
      So I’ll ignore that until you want to expound on how that conclusion follows.

    8. Again.
      The idea that was being expressed by ‘Anonymous’, (it would appear):
      Is that if a country like Britain or the U.S, or whomever, have been displacing the people of another country by propping up brutal dictators, keeping them in power, extracting natural resources that the population requires, etc. They have a moral responsibility to provide reparations for that.
      Such reparations may include: allowing for ‘economic migrants’.
      His exact quote was:
      ‘The west should pay for its significant role in the state of these people's home countries, and that includes by "economic migrants.”’
      Key phrase is ‘and that includes’.

      Allowing for ‘economic migrants’ does not entail allowing for ‘mass immigration’. Whatever you may mean by ‘mass’, unless what you mean by ‘mass’ is the count of ‘economic migrants’ in a given region — which you surely don’t.

  3. This is becoming more well understood. Example

    1. The regressive left will be all over you for that, Ken B. lol