James Wickham: Here the argument is brought to a conclusion, with a full list of references. [Part 1 of these four posts is here]
4. The moral case for immigration
Today in most European countries large scale immigration in its current form probably increases social inequality.
The fiscal arguments for continued large-scale immigration involve enormous social change and heavy resource pressure for at best marginal benefits. Not all European countries face population decline, so in these cases (UK, France, Scandinavia) the demographic arguments are grossly exaggerated.
All too often immigration emerges as the easy option for policy makers unprepared to consider more egalitarian solutions to labour market problems. The social benefits of diversity are probably restricted to specific situations and immigrant groups rather than an automatic consequence of all immigration.
Any ‘objective’ social science justification for mass immigration thus turns out to be very, very debatable. The problem with making a normative argument dependent upon empirical arguments is that if the empirical case collapses, then so too does the normative case. However, some aspects of immigration are too important to be decided by economists or even sociologists…
The shadow of the holocaust still hangs across European immigration policy. Before World War II, at the Evian conference of 1938 virtually all participating states - including above all the UK and the USA - refused to accept more refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. They closed the door and the refugees were murdered. This shame explains our hesitancy at any restrictions on asylum (for example in Germany itself the right to asylum was part of the original Basic Law (Grundgesetz) until modified in 1992).
Today civil violence, war, ethnic cleansing, even genocide happen in countries just outside the European Union. In Syria, Islamic fundamentalists – facilitated by citizens from European countries – are now openly committing genocide.
These conflicts can hardly be ‘solved’ by migration. But when the victims and the refugees beg to be allowed to enter our zone of security and freedom, we should be proudly opening the gates – not because we think the immigrants will make us marginally richer, not because we think their diversity makes our lives more entertaining, but because it is the least that we as human beings can do.
Alesina, Alberto and Edward Glaeser (2004). Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A world of difference. Oxford UP.
Andall, J. (2007). 'Industrial districts and migrant labour in Italy.' British Journal of Industrial Relations 45.2 (June): 285-308.
Bernardi, Fabrizio (2005). 'Public policies and low fertility: rationales for public intervention and a diagnosis for the Spanish case.' Journal of European Social Policy 15.2: 123-138.
Castles, Francis G. (2003). 'The world turned upside down: below replacement fertility, changing preferences and family-friendly policy in 21 OECD countries.' Journal of European Social Policy 13.3 (August): 209-227.
Coleman, D. A. (2010). 'Projections of the ethnic minority populations of the United Kingdom 2006-2056' Population and Development Review 36.3:441-486.
Devitt, Camilla (2010). The migrant worker factor in labour market reform.' European Journal of Industrial Relations 16: 259-275.
Dustmann, Christian and Tommasso Frattini (2014). 'The fiscal effects of immigration to the UK' Economic Journal 124, issue 580, pages F593-F643. DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12181
Dustmann, Christian et al (2013). 'The effect of immigration along the distribution of wages.' Review of Economic Studies 80: 145-173.
Ellingsaeter, A.L. (2012). 'Childcare politics and the Norwegian fertility 'machine'. David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson, eds, The costs of children:parenting and democracy in contemporary Europe, Polity, 70-91
Gomberg-Munoz, Ruth (2010). 'Willing to work: agency and vulnerability in an undocumented immigrant network.' American Anthropologist 112.2 (June): 295-307.
Goodhart, David (2013). The British Dream: Successes and failures of post-war immigration. London: Atlantic Books.
Gordon, Ian, Tony Travers and Christine Whitehead (2007). The Impact of Recent Immigration on the London Economy. London School of Economics for City of London.
Grubb, D., S. Singh and P. Tergeist (2009). 'Activation Policies in Ireland' OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers no.75.
Holdsworth, Clare and Dale, Angela (1997). 'Ethnic Differences in Women's Employment'. Work Employment and Society 11.3 (September): 435-457.
House of Lords (2008). Select Committee on Economic Affairs: The Economic Impact of Immigration vol.1.
Joppke, C. (1999). Immigration and the Nation State: The United States, Germany and Great Britain. Oxford UP.
Koopmans, Ruud (2010). 'Tradeoffs between equality and difference: Immigrant integration, multiculturalism and the welfare state'. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36.1: 1-26.
Legrain, Philippe (2007). Immigrants: Your country needs them. Princeton UP.
Lisenkova, Katerina; Miguel Sanchez-Martinez and Marcel Mérette (2013). 'The long-term economic impacts of reducing migration: The case of the UK migration policy.;' NIESR Discussion Paper no. 420.
MacKenzie, R. and Forde, C. (2009). 'The rhetoric of the 'good worker' versus the realities of employers use and the experience of migrant workers.' Work Employment and Society 23.1: 142-159.
Martin, Philip L. (2009). Importing Poverty? Immigration and the Changing Face of Rural America. New Haven: Yale UP
Mazower, Mark (2005). Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950. HarperCollins [UK].
Migration Advisory Committee (2014) The growth of EU and non-EU labour in low-skilled jobs and its impact on the UK. London: Migration Advisory Committee.
Nathan, M and Lee, N. (2013). 'Cultural diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship: firm-level evidence from Lonon.' Economic Geography 89.4: 367-384
NESF - National Economic and Social Forum (2006). Creating a more inclusive labour market. Dublin: National Economic & Social Development Office.
OECD (2008). A Profile of Immigrant Populations in the 21st Century: Data from OECD countries. Paris: OECD
OECD (2011) Divided We Stand: Why inequality keeps rising Paris: OECD
Pailhé, A. and Solaz, A. (2012). 'The influence of employment uncertainty on childbearing in France. A tempo or a quantum effect?' Demographic Research 26: 1-40.
Putnam, Robert (2007). 'E pluribus unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century' Scandinavian Political Studies 30.2: 137-174
Rowthorn, Robert (2014). Large-scale immigration: Its economic and demographic consequences for the UK. London: Civitas.
Ruhs, Martin and Bridget Anderson (eds.) (2010). Who needs migrant workers? Oxford UP
Salzman, Hal, Daniel Kuehn and B. Lindsay Lowell (2013). 'Guestworkers in the high-skill US Labor Market: Analysis of supply, employment trends and wage trends.' Washington: Economic Policy Institute: Economic Policy Briefing Paper #359
Saxenian, A. (2006). The New Argonauts: Regional advantage in a global economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2005). 'Is the future American? Or can left politics preserve European welfare states from erosion through growing 'Racial' diversity?' Journal of Social Policy 34 part 4 (October): 661-672.
Van Dalen, Henrik K. and Kene Henekens (2013). 'Explaining emigration intentions and behaviour in the Netherlands 2005-10. Population Studies 67.2
Vignoli, G. et al (2012). 'Whose job instability effects the likelihood of becoming a parent in Italy? A tale of two partners.' Demographic Research 26: 41-62.
Waldinger, R. and M.I. Lichter (2003). How the other half works: Immigration and the social organisation of labor. Berkeley: California UP.
Wickham, James (2011). 'Low skill manufacturing work: from skill biased change to technological regression.' Arbeit 20.3: 224-238.
Wickham, James (2015) 'International skill flows and migration' Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training.
Wickham, James (2015). 'Irish paradoxes: the bursting of the bubbles and the curious survival of social cohesion' S. Lehndorff ed., Divisive Integration: The triumph of failed ideas in Europe - revisited. Brussels: European Trade Union Institute, pp. 127-147.
Wickham, James and Ian Bruff (2008). 'Skill shortages are not always what they seem: migration and the Irish software industry.' New Technology Work and Employment 23.1-2: 30-43.
Wilczek, Barbara (2012). Neither here nor there: choice and constraint in migrant worker acculturation. PhD thesis, Bournemouth University.
James Wickham was Jean Monnet Professor of European Labour Market Studies and Professor in Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. He has published widely on employment, transport and migration in Ireland and Europe; he is the author of Gridlock: Dublin’s Transport Crisis and the Future of the City and co-author of New Mobilities in Europe: Polish Migration to Ireland post-2004. His book Unequal Europe: Social divisions and social cohesion in an old continent analysed the collapse of the European Social Model; his new text book European Societies (Routledge 2020) examines the structures of inequality in contemporary Europe. He is a former director of TASC.