The times they are a changin
I like living in Canada and don't want to move. I read the news and see that there are lots of people on Earth who are not so lucky.
These days Canada takes in about 200,000 economic immigrants a year. I don't know the process for doing that. I know it's hard and takes years and is expensive. The whole process of setting yourself up in a foreign land is daunting. People don't do that for trivial reasons. And they are the lucky ones.
We get about 100,000 asylum seekers a year. And we have maybe that number of undocumented immigrants residing here. I think that those numbers would be higher except that we have a fairly effective border walls called the USA to the south and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the east and west.
So we can be pretty lax at the border.
It's not actually illegal to avoid official entry points. I've seen pictures of Mounties helping asylum seekers hop across a ditch at the border.
I see that elsewhere in the world illegal migrants and asylum seekers are a huge problem. Desperate people from the Middle East and Africa are climbing over mountains and swimming over seas to get to Europe. Most of these are fleeing intolerable violence or starvation .
This is also the case at the American southern border.
The hardship these migrants are willing to endure to try to get to a safe place is a measure the badness of the conditions they are fleeing.
We have a moral obligation to treat these people humanely.
I've been doing a cultural studies class at UBC. An underlying thread of the class is the history of Canada's treatment of indigenous people.
First Nations have vivid experience of what can happen when foreigners take over your land. There can be social problems.
I've been reading for quite a while about how the demographics of the USA has been changing. For a long time it had mostly a white population. We are close to a time (maybe past it) when white people won't be a majority. The right wing has been calling this "the Great Replacement" as if it was some kind of leftist plot.
It's not a plot but it's certainly happening.
And many people are afraid that they are about to be treated like they treated the First Nations people.
In many ways the discourse about immigration is wrong headed on both sides of the debate. We talk as if the President could actually do anything about the problem at the southern border. We assume that it's a rational problem that can be solved with policies and force. I don't think it is like that.
On the one hand people assume that the tide of people can be commanded to go back like Canute at the seashore commanding the tide.
On the other hand, even a cursory look at how legislatures work shows that they are not rational agents.
As a rational agent I can see various positive ways to deal with the problems.
First off we need to stop all these wars that are plaguing humanity now.
Second we need to give everyone a good livelihood where they are so there isn't a pressure to move.
Cutting the birthrate so human population declines would be part of the mix.
But I feel like the little boy who was having a wonderful dream and then fell out of bed and woke up.
What do you think?
I open the floor