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Once again the US breaks international law by lobbing tear gas into Mexico to fight off a bunch of women and children seeking asylum.

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The Left Case against Open Borders
by Angela Nagle

Before “Build the wall!” there was “Tear down this wall!” In his famous 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan demanded that the “scar” of the Berlin Wall be removed and insisted that the offending restriction of movement it represented amounted to nothing less than a “question of freedom for all mankind.” He went on to say that those who “refuse to join the community of freedom” would “become obsolete” as a result of the irresistible force of the global market. And so they did. In celebration, Leonard Bernstein directed a performance of “Ode to Joy” and Roger Waters performed “The Wall.” Barriers to labor and capital came down all over the world; the end of history was declared; and decades of U.S.-dominated globalization followed.

In its twenty-nine-year existence, around 140 people died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. In the promised world of global economic freedom and prosperity, 412 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last year alone, and more than three thousand died the previous year in the Mediterranean. The pop songs and Hollywood movies about freedom are nowhere to be found. What went wrong?

Of course, the Reaganite project did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reagan—and his successors from both parties—used the same triumphalist rhetoric to sell the hollowing out of trade unions, the deregulation of banks, the expansion of outsourcing, and the globalization of markets away from the deadweight of national economic interests. Central to this project was a neoliberal attack on national barriers to the flow of labor and capital. At home, Reagan also oversaw one of the most significant pro-migration reforms in American history, the 1986 “Reagan Amnesty” that expanded the labor market by allowing millions of illegal migrants to gain legal status.

Popular movements against different elements of this post–Cold War vision came initially from the Left in the form of the anti-globalization movements and later Occupy Wall Street. But, lacking the bargaining power to challenge international capital, protest movements went nowhere. The globalized and financialized economic system held firm despite all the devastation it wreaked, even through the 2008 financial crisis.

Today, by far the most visible anti-globalization movement takes the form of the anti-migrant backlash led by Donald Trump and other “populists.” The Left, meanwhile, seems to have no option but to recoil in horror at Trump’s “Muslim ban” and news stories about ICE hunting down migrant families; it can only react against whatever Trump is doing. If Trump is for immigration controls, then the Left will demand the opposite. And so today talk of “open borders” has entered mainstream liberal discourse, where once it was confined to radical free market think tanks and libertarian anarchist circles.

While no serious political party of the Left is offering concrete proposals for a truly borderless society, by embracing the moral arguments of the open-borders Left and the economic arguments of free market think tanks, the Left has painted itself into a corner. If “no human is illegal!,” as the protest chant goes, the Left is implicitly accepting the moral case for no borders or sovereign nations at all. But what implications will unlimited migration have for projects like universal public health care and education, or a federal jobs guarantee? And how will progressives convincingly explain these goals to the public?

During the 2016 Democratic primary campaign, when Vox editor Ezra Klein suggested open borders policies to Bernie Sanders, the senator famously showed his vintage when he replied, “Open borders? No. That’s a Koch brothers proposal.”1 This momentarily confused the official narrative, and Sanders was quickly accused of “sounding like Donald Trump.” Beneath the generational differences revealed in this exchange, however, is a larger issue. The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds. In the heightened emotions of America’s public debate on migration, a simple moral and political dichotomy prevails. It is “right-wing” to be “against immigration” and “left-wing” to be “for immigration.” But the economics of migration tell a different story.

Useful Idiots
The transformation of open borders into a “Left” position is a very new phenomenon and runs counter to the history of the organized Left in fundamental ways. Open borders has long been a rallying cry of the business and free market Right. Drawing from neoclassical economists, these groups have advocated for liberalizing migration on the grounds of market rationality and economic freedom. They oppose limits on migration for the same reasons that they oppose restrictions on the movement of capital. The Koch-funded Cato Institute, which also advocates lifting legal restrictions on child labor, has churned out radical open borders advocacy for decades, arguing that support for open borders is a fundamental tenet of libertarianism, and “Forget the wall already, it’s time for the U.S. to have open borders.”2 The Adam Smith Institute has done much the same, arguing that “Immigration restrictions make us poorer.”3

Following Reagan and figures like Milton Friedman, George W. Bush championed liberalizing migration before, during, and after his presidency. Grover Norquist, a zealous advocate of Trump’s (and Bush’s and Reagan’s) tax cuts, has for years railed against the illiberalism of the trade unions, reminding us, “Hostility to immigration has traditionally been a union cause.”4

He’s not wrong. From the first law restricting immigration in 1882 to Cesar Chavez and the famously multiethnic United Farm Workers protesting against employers’ use and encouragement of illegal migration in 1969, trade unions have often opposed mass migration. They saw the deliberate importation of illegal, low-wage workers as weakening labor’s bargaining power and as a form of exploitation. There is no getting around the fact that the power of unions relies by definition on their ability to restrict and withdraw the supply of labor, which becomes impossible if an entire workforce can be easily and cheaply replaced. Open borders and mass immigration are a victory for the bosses.

And the bosses almost universally support it. Mark Zuckerberg’s think tank and lobbying organization, Forward, which advocates for liberalizing migration policies, lists among its “founders and funders” Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates, as well as CEOs and senior executives of YouTube, Dropbox, Airbnb, Netflix, Groupon, Walmart, Yahoo, Lyft, Instagram, and many others. The cumulative personal wealth represented on this list is enough to heavily influence most governing institutions and parliaments, if not buy them outright. While often celebrated by progressives, the motivations of these “liberal” billionaires are clear. Their generosity toward dogmatically anti-labor Republicans, like Jeff Flake of the famous “Gang of Eight” bill, should come as no surprise.

Admittedly, union opposition to mass migration was sometimes intermingled with racism (which was present across American society) in previous eras. What is omitted in libertarian attempts to smear trade unions as “the real racists,” however, is that in the days of strong trade unions, they were also able to use their power to mount campaigns of international solidarity with workers’ movements around the world. Unions raised the wages of millions of nonwhite members, while deunionization today is estimated to cost black American men $50 a week.5

During the Reagan neoliberal revolution, union power was dealt a blow from which it has never recovered, and wages have stagnated for decades. Under this pressure, the Left itself has undergone a transformation. In the absence of a powerful workers’ movement, it has remained radical in the sphere of culture and individual freedom, but can offer little more than toothless protests and appeals to noblesse oblige in the sphere of economics.

With obscene images of low-wage migrants being chased down as criminals by ICE, others drowning in the Mediterranean, and the worrying growth of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world, it is easy to see why the Left wants to defend illegal migrants against being targeted and victimized. And it should. But acting on the correct moral impulse to defend the human dignity of migrants, the Left has ended up pulling the front line too far back, effectively defending the exploitative system of migration itself.

Today’s well-intentioned activists have become the useful idiots of big business. With their adoption of “open borders” advocacy—and a fierce moral absolutism that regards any limit to migration as an unspeakable evil—any criticism of the exploitative system of mass migration is effectively dismissed as blasphemy. Even solidly leftist politicians, like Bernie Sanders in the United States and Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom, are accused of “nativism” by critics if they recognize the legitimacy of borders or migration restriction at any point. This open borders radicalism ultimately benefits the elites within the most powerful countries in the world, further disempowers organized labor, robs the developing world of desperately needed professionals, and turns workers against workers.

But the Left need not take my word for it. Just ask Karl Marx, whose position on immigration would get him banished from the modern Left. Although migration at today’s speed and scale would have been unthinkable in Marx’s time, he expressed a highly critical view of the effects of the migration that occurred in the nineteenth century. In a letter to two of his American fellow-travelers, Marx argued that the importation of low-paid Irish immigrants to England forced them into hostile competition with English workers. He saw it as part of a system of exploitation, which divided the working class and which represented an extension of the colonial system. He wrote:

Owing to the constantly increasing concentration of leaseholds, Ireland constantly sends her own surplus to the English labour market, and thus forces down wages and lowers the material and moral position of the English working class.

And most important of all! Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland.

This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.6

Marx went on to say that the priority for labor organizing in England was “to make the English workers realize that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment but the first condition of their own social emancipation.” Here Marx pointed the way to an approach that is scarcely found today. The importation of low-paid labor is a tool of oppression that divides workers and benefits those in power. The proper response, therefore, is not abstract moralism about welcoming all migrants as an imagined act of charity, but rather addressing the root causes of migration in the relationship between large and powerful economies and the smaller or developing economies from which people migrate.

The Human Cost of Globalization
Advocates of open borders often overlook the costs of mass migration for developing countries. Indeed, globalization often creates a vicious cycle: liberalized trade policies destroy a region’s economy, which in turn leads to mass emigration from that area, further eroding the potential of the origin country while depressing wages for the lowest paid workers in the destination country. One of the major causes of labor migration from Mexico to the United States has been the economic and social devastation caused by the North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta). Nafta forced Mexican farmers to compete with U.S. agriculture, with disastrous consequences for Mexico. Mexican imports doubled, and Mexico lost thousands of pig farms and corn growers to U.S. competition. When coffee prices fell below the cost of production, nafta prohibited state intervention to keep growers afloat. Additionally, U.S. companies were allowed to buy infrastructure in Mexico, including, for example, the country’s main north-south rail line. The railroad then discontinued passenger service, resulting in the decimation of the rail workforce after a wildcat strike was crushed. By 2002, Mexican wages had dropped by 22 percent, even though worker productivity increased by 45 percent.7 In regions like Oaxaca, emigration devastated local economies and communities, as men emigrated to work in America’s farm labor force and slaughterhouses, leaving behind women, children, and the elderly.

And what about the significant skilled and white-collar migrant workforce? Despite the rhetoric about “shithole countries” or nations “not sending their best,” the toll of the migration brain drain on developing economies has been enormous. According to the Census Bureau’s figures for 2017, about 45 percent of migrants who have arrived in the United States since 2010 are college educated.8 Developing countries are struggling to retain their skilled and professional citizens, often trained at great public cost, because the largest and wealthiest economies that dominate the global market have the wealth to snap them up. Today, Mexico also ranks as one of the world’s biggest exporters of educated professionals, and its economy consequently suffers from a persistent “qualified employment deficit.” This developmental injustice is certainly not limited to Mexico. According to Foreign Policy magazine, “There are more Ethiopian physicians practicing in Chicago today than in all of Ethiopia, a country of 80 million.”9 It is not difficult to see why the political and economic elites of the world’s richest countries would want the world to “send their best,” regardless of the consequences for the rest of the world. But why is the moralizing, pro–open borders Left providing a humanitarian face for this naked self-interest?

According to the best analysis of capital flows and global wealth today, globalization is enriching the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries at the expense of the poorest, not the other way around. Some have called it “aid in reverse.” Billions in debt interest payments move from Africa to the large banks in London and New York. Vast private wealth is generated in extractive commodity industries and through labor arbitrage every year, and repatriated back to the wealthy nations where the multinational corporations are based. Trillions of dollars in capital flight occurs because international corporations take advantage of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions, made possible by the World Trade Organization’s liberalization of “trade inefficient” invoicing regulations and other policies.10

Global wealth inequality is the primary push factor driving mass migration, and the globalization of capital cannot be separated from this matter. There is also the pull factor of exploitative employers in the United States who seek to profit from nonunionized, low-wage workers in sectors like agriculture as well as through the importation of a large white-collar workforce already trained in other countries. The net result is an estimated population of eleven million people living in the United States illegally.

Corporate Interests and Moral Blackmail
Open borders has no public mandate, but immigration policies that place the burden of enforcement on employers instead of migrants do attract overwhelming support. According to a survey by the Washington Post and ABC News, support for mandating use of the federal employment verification system (E-Verify), which would prevent employers from exploiting illegal labor, is at nearly 80 percent—more than double the support for building a wall along the Mexican border.11 So why do presidential campaigns revolve around building a vast border wall? Why do current migration debates revolve around controversial ICE tactics to target migrants—especially when the more humane and popular method of placing the burden on employers to hire legal labor in the first place is also the most effective?12 The answer, in short, is that business lobbies have been blocking and sabotaging efforts like E-Verify for decades, while the open-borders Left has abandoned any serious discussion of these issues.

Recently, the Western Growers Association and California Farm Bureau Federation, among others, blocked a bill that would have made E-Verify mandatory, despite several pro-business concessions.13 Democrats seemed totally absent from this debate. As a result, workers from economies devastated by U.S. agriculture will continue to be invited in with the promise of work in order to be cheaply and illegally exploited. Lacking full legal rights, these noncitizens will be impossible to unionize and will be kept in constant fear of being arrested and criminalized.

It has now become a common slogan among advocates of open borders—and many mainstream commentators—that “there is no migrant crisis.” But whether they like it or not, radically transformative levels of mass migration are unpopular across every section of society and throughout the world. And the people among whom it is unpopular, the citizenry, have the right to vote. Thus migration increasingly presents a crisis that is fundamental to democracy. Any political party wishing to govern will either have to accept the will of the people, or it will have to repress dissent in order to impose the open borders agenda. Many on the libertarian Left are among the most aggressive advocates of the latter. And for what? To provide moral cover for exploitation? To ensure that left-wing parties that could actually address any of these issues at a deeper international level remain out of power?

The immigration expansionists have two key weapons. One is the big business and financial interests all working on their side, but an equally powerful weapon—wielded more expertly by the left-leaning immigration expansionists—is moral blackmail and public shame. People are right to see the mistreatment of migrants as morally wrong. Many people are concerned about the growth of racism and callousness toward minorities that often accompanies anti-immigration sentiment. But the open borders position does not even live up to its own professed moral code.

There are many economic pros and cons to high immigration, but it is more likely to negatively impact low-skilled and low-paid native workers while benefiting wealthier native workers and the corporate sector. As George J. Borjas has argued, it functions as a kind of upward wealth redistribution.14 A 2017 study by the National Academy of Sciences called “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration” found that current immigration policies have resulted in disproportionately negative effects on poor and minority Americans, a finding that would have come as no surprise to figures like Marcus Garvey or Frederick Douglass. No doubt they, too, would have to be considered “anti-immigrant” by today’s standards for warning of this.

In a public speech on immigration, Hillary Clinton said: “I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out.”15 In a leaked private speech delivered to Latin American bankers, she went further: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it”16 (though she later claimed that she only meant borders open to energy). These statements, of course, drove the anti-immigration, pro-Trump Right crazy. Perhaps more revealing, however, is the convergence between the open-borders Left and the “respectable” pro-business Right that Clinton’s remarks epitomized. In a recent National Review article responding to Trump’s “nationalism,” Jay Cost wrote, “To put matters bluntly, we do not have to like one another, so long as we continue to make money off one another. That is what will keep us together.” In this monstrous sub-Thatcherism, the Buckleyites sound exactly like the liberal “cosmopolitans”—but without the glamour or flair for moral self-delusion.

As the child of migrants, and someone who has spent most of my life in a country with persistently high levels of emigration—Ireland—I have always viewed the migration question differently than my well-intentioned friends on the left in large, world-dominating economies. When austerity and unemployment hit Ireland—after billions in public money was used to bail out the financial sector in 2008—I watched my entire peer group leave and never return. This isn’t just a technical matter. It touches the heart and soul of a nation, like a war. It means the constant hemorrhaging of idealistic and energetic young generations, who normally rejuvenate and reimagine a society. In Ireland, as in every high-emigration country, there have always been anti-emigration campaigns and movements, led by the Left, demanding full employment in times of recession. But they’re rarely strong enough to withstand the forces of the global market. Meanwhile, the guilty and nervous elites in office during a period of popular anger are only too happy to see a potentially radical generation scatter across the world.

I’m always amazed at the arrogance and the strangely imperial mentality of British and American pro–open borders progressives who believe that they are performing an act of enlightened charity when they “welcome” PhDs from eastern Europe or Central America driving them around and serving them food. In the wealthiest nations, open borders advocacy seems to function as a fanatical cult among true believers—a product of big business and free market lobbying is carried along by a larger group of the urban creative, tech, media, and knowledge economy class, who are serving their own objective class interests by keeping their transient lifestyles cheap and their careers intact as they parrot the institutional ideology of their industries. The truth is that mass migration is a tragedy, and upper-middle-class moralizing about it is a farce. Perhaps the ultra-wealthy can afford to live in the borderless world they aggressively advocate for, but most people need—and want—a coherent, sovereign political body to defend their rights as citizens.

Defending Immigrants, Opposing Systemic Exploitation
If open borders is “a Koch brothers proposal,” then what would an authentic Left position on immigration look like? In this case, instead of channeling Milton Friedman, the Left should take its bearings from its own long traditions. Progressives should focus on addressing the systemic exploitation at the root of mass migration rather than retreating to a shallow moralism that legitimates these exploitative forces. This does not mean that leftists should ignore injustices against immigrants. They should vigorously defend migrants against inhumane treatment. At the same time, any sincere Left must take a hard line against the corporate, financial, and other actors who create the desperate circumstances underlying mass migration (which, in turn, produces the populist reaction against it). Only a strong national Left in the small and developing nations—acting in concert with a Left committed to ending financialization and global labor exploitation in the larger economies—could have any hope of addressing these problems.

To begin with, the Left must stop citing the latest Cato Institute propaganda in order to ignore the effects of immigration on domestic labor, especially the working poor who are likely to suffer disproportionately from expanding the labor pool. Immigration policies should be designed to ensure that the bargaining power of workers is not significantly imperiled. This is especially true in times of wage stagnation, weak unions, and massive inequality.

With respect to illegal immigration, the Left should support efforts to make E-Verify mandatory and push for stiff penalties on employers who fail to comply. Employers, not immigrants, should be the primary focus of enforcement efforts. These employers take advantage of immigrants who lack ordinary legal protections in order to perpetuate a race to the bottom in wages while also evading payroll taxes and the provision of other benefits. Such incentives must be eliminated if any workers are to be treated fairly.

Trump infamously complained about people coming from third-world “shithole countries” and suggested Norwegians as an example of ideal immigrants. But Norwegians did once come to America in large numbers—when they were desperate and poor. Now that they have a prosperous and relatively egalitarian social democracy, built on public ownership of natural resources, they no longer want to.17 Ultimately, the motivation for mass migration will persist as long as the structural problems underlying it remain in place.

Reducing the tensions of mass migration thus requires improving the prospects of the world’s poor. Mass migration itself will not accomplish this: it creates a race to the bottom for workers in wealthy countries and a brain drain in poor ones. The only real solution is to correct the imbalances in the global economy, and radically restructure a system of globalization that was designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. This involves, to start with, structural changes to trade policies that prevent necessary, state-led development in emerging economies. Anti-labor trade deals like nafta must also be opposed. It is equally necessary to take on a financial system that funnels capital away from the developing world and into inequality-heightening asset bubbles in rich countries. Finally, although the reckless foreign policies of the George W. Bush administration have been discredited, the temptation to engage in military crusades seems to live on. This should be opposed. U.S.-led foreign invasions have killed millions in the Middle East, created millions of refugees and migrants, and devastated fundamental infrastructure.

Marx’s argument that the English working class should see Irish nationhood as a potential compliment to their struggle, rather than as a threat to their identity, should resonate today, as we witness the rise of various identity movements around the world. The comforting delusion that immigrants come here because they love America is incredibly naïve—as naïve as suggesting that the nineteenth-century Irish immigrants Marx described loved England. Most migrants emigrate out of economic necessity, and the vast majority would prefer to have better opportunities at home, among their own family and friends. But such opportunities are impossible within the current shape of globalization.

Just like the situation Marx described in the England of his day, politicians like Trump rally their base by stirring up anti-immigration sentiment, but they rarely if ever address the structural exploitation—whether at home or abroad—that is the root cause of mass migration. Often, they make these problems worse, expanding the power of employers and capital against labor, while turning the rage of their supporters—often the victims of these forces—against other victims, immigrants. But for all Trump’s anti-immigration bluster, his administration has done virtually nothing to expand the implementation of E-Verify, preferring instead to boast about a border wall that never seems to materialize.18 While families are separated at the border, the administration has turned a blind eye toward employers who use immigrants as pawns in a game of labor arbitrage.

Meanwhile, members of the open-borders Left may try to convince themselves that they are adopting a radical position. But in practice they are just replacing the pursuit of economic equality with the politics of big business, masquerading as a virtuous identitarianism. America, still one of the richest countries in the world, should be able to provide not just full employment but a living wage for all of its people, including in jobs which open borders advocates claim “Americans won’t do.” Employers who exploit migrants for cheap labor illegally—at great risk to the migrants themselves—should be blamed, not the migrants who are simply doing what people have always done when facing economic adversity. By providing inadvertent cover for the ruling elite’s business interests, the Left risks a significant existential crisis, as more and more ordinary people defect to far-right parties. At this moment of crisis, the stakes are too high to keep getting it wrong.

https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/11/the-left-case-against-open-borders/

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On FB John V was truly astonished to discover that I and some others from these forums were not at all opposed to asylum seekers being individually vetted. I pointed out that it's the normal process under the UN refugee treaty - asylum seekers are allowed entry into the host country while their claims are processed, but if they are found not to have a well founded fear of persecution they are sent home. Also, if they are found to have a substantial record of serious criminal activity, or they commit serious crimes in the host country while being processed, the treaty even allows them to be refouled, i.e. sent back home even if they DO have a well founded fear of persecution. Obviously that decision can never be made lightly. 

I've never heard of anyone on the left wanting to allow asylum seekers into a country en masse with no processing. Sometimes this is necessary in the case of large populations being displaced by war, but they can still be deported if they're found to be a threat to the host country. I've never seen anyone advocate for this approach under normal circumstances. 

There's a disinformation campaign on where the right are trying to create the impression that the left don't even want to follow the processes of the refugee convention. That's bullshit. The left just want the convention followed, as it has been for decades. The far right want to throw it out completely. 

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From your article:

6 hours ago, Beltaine fox said:

To begin with, the Left must stop citing the latest Cato Institute propaganda in order to ignore the effects of immigration on domestic labor, especially the working poor who are likely to suffer disproportionately from expanding the labor pool. Immigration policies should be designed to ensure that the bargaining power of workers is not significantly imperiled. This is especially true in times of wage stagnation, weak unions, and massive inequality.

 The "lump of labour fallacy" doesn't stop being true if you're a socialist. If you believe in "from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs", you can see that there's a balance between what people produce and what they need. When you add workers to a country, you add people with both needs and abilities. Needs create jobs. Abilities allow you to be employed to do those jobs. 

In a capitalist economy, new people create new demands, which create new jobs. 

In a socialist economy, new people create new needs, which create new jobs. 

This is true whether the new people are immigrants or native born babies. 

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6 hours ago, Beltaine fox said:

The importation of low-paid labor is a tool of oppression that divides workers and benefits those in power. The proper response, therefore, is not abstract moralism about welcoming all migrants as an imagined act of charity, but rather addressing the root causes of migration in the relationship between large and powerful economies and the smaller or developing economies from which people migrate.

There's no either/or. We do BOTH, and we overcome the superficial divisions between native born and immigrant labour to become one, unified labour movement. I can't understand why anyone on the left would argue anything other than increased solidarity in this situation. More workers and greater unity adds up to a more powerful movement. 

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7 hours ago, Beltaine fox said:

As the child of migrants, and someone who has spent most of my life in a country with persistently high levels of emigration—Ireland—I have always viewed the migration question differently than my well-intentioned friends on the left in large, world-dominating economies. When austerity and unemployment hit Ireland—after billions in public money was used to bail out the financial sector in 2008—I watched my entire peer group leave and never return. This isn’t just a technical matter. It touches the heart and soul of a nation, like a war. It means the constant hemorrhaging of idealistic and energetic young generations, who normally rejuvenate and reimagine a society. In Ireland, as in every high-emigration country, there have always been anti-emigration campaigns and movements, led by the Left, demanding full employment in times of recession. But they’re rarely strong enough to withstand the forces of the global market. Meanwhile, the guilty and nervous elites in office during a period of popular anger are only too happy to see a potentially radical generation scatter across the world.

I’m always amazed at the arrogance and the strangely imperial mentality of British and American pro–open borders progressives who believe that they are performing an act of enlightened charity when they “welcome” PhDs from eastern Europe or Central America driving them around and serving them food.

This author has not looked at the large body of research into remittances - the money that immigrants send home to their families and communities. Remittances are a way for people in developing countries to siphon off money from wealthy countries and redistribute it where it's needed. Research has found that remittances amount to a larger amount of money than governmental foreign aid programs and they are far better targeted to where the aid is needed,  largely bypassing corruption and bureaucracies to get there. Research has also found that immigrants tend to transfer knowledge and skills back to their home countries. I looked all this up during an argument in Twitter and can pull out the articles I linked to when I get a chance. 

Yes, there is a brain drain in the home countries. We suffer from that in Australia as well, since there are various fields and industries that just don't exist here. But a lot of the people who move overseas for a time come back, and we get the benefit of their expertise from then on. The same is true for developing countries. Migration is never a one-way street. 

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Something the author doesn't address is the question of what do we do in the meantime, while we're advocating and working towards greater global equality and better opportunities and labour protections in the developing countries? What do we do for migrants while they are still compelled to move to wealthier countries in pursuit of a better life? The author says that employers should not employ them if they're undocumented. Where does that leave them?

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Focusing on limiting immigration to improve the lives of workers in 2018 is like focusing on thunder snow to reduce climate change. Immigrants - undocumented or nah - are not the lowest paid or most coveted or largest growing worker base at the moment. Prisoners are.

Stop trying to distract people with this nonsense. If you are racist enough to enjoy tear gassing babies, you’ll love this shit. Otherwise, you rightfully see it as a racist hustle or you’re just dumb. Either way, no one in 2018 with two brain cells in their heads believes combatting immigration is a worthwhile goal for the Left.

Good Job agreeing with Hillary, tho. Guess we see the real neoliberal here is today. 

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For the present, we need to allow those seeking refuge and asylum to enter the country.

For the future, we need to stop allowing/creating the conditions that force people to leave their homes and extended family.

Neoliberals guising as liberals tacitly approve of the "Third-Worldisation" of developed countries, as Parenti calls it, that has been carried out since Carter & Thatcher.

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The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have all had a massive influx of (mostly white) foreigners over the past 2-3 centuries. They are all first world countries. They got that way via stealing indigenous land, committing genocide, slavery and white supremacy. 

Allowing new brown people into these countries is not going to undo that development. But it will end white supremacy. That will be a very positive outcome. 

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Allowing new brown people into these countries is not going to undo that development. But it will end white supremacy. That will be a very positive outcome.

No it won't, it will ensure that states established by white supremacy will continue to suck up the weath of predominantly brown countries like a vampire and dominate them by forcing comprador govts on them. While within these more developed economies the owners will be able to divide and rule the groups forced to compete with each other in the hierarchy, just like the mill owners and industrialists in Glasgow used Irish immigration to encourage sectarianism and thus undermine organised labour. Further that elite will still be predominantly white, even in the US, because they are the ones with the established assets to pass on.

One of the things I detest about the current mainstream left's approach to the issue is the idea people from the global south only matter once they get near Western borders, America bombing these countries back to the stone age is "just America being America" (as Gringo once put it), Yemen gets a shrug, but once they flee to Europe or US, they suddeny become worthy of care, no longer just a statistic! 

Letting in immigrants is somehow supposed to make up for hundreds of years of imperialism and colonial exploitation. Even your narrative above is about how the West can benefit from people having to leave their own countries to make the West more diverse, which is supposed to make it more creative and productive too, as the CATO institute argues. 

There is a huge contradiction between arguments that immigration is beneficial to the host country and at the same time that it compensates for past crimes. Indeed there is a strange racist implication in your argument in particular, that somehow taking in any old "brown" person from anywhere in the world somehow makes up for the genocide and dispossesion of native  Americans, or slavery (of people now already in America). Do native Americans really benefit from yet more migrants from outside the America's so long as they have a particular skin colour? Does it make their interests more powerful? As if all non-white people are interchangable and equate to each other, rather than being a whole panopoly of different and distinct cultures in their own right, as such you reduce them to merely their skin colour, which is what white supremacy did in the first place. 

Instead the left should be stressing that it's in the interests of western proles to end the exploitation of the developing world, canceling third world debt, encourging development and opposing interventions is a vital interest for even most people in predominantly native white European countries because it will take away a weapon used by the owners to undermine them.

Mass immigration is exploitation, the left not the right has the only real answer to this, help the developing world become richer and more powerful, make the entire world more equal, stop the unfair exploitation of third world resources and labour in countries of origin and at home. Building walls and mistreating immigrants will never do anything to stop mass immigration, it's a con trick designed to fool ignorant people, but dumbly responding to these people by arguing immigration is an entirely good thing is bound to fail.

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This author has not looked at the large body of research into remittances

It's a pitance, the migrants are not well paid, they have to support themselves, what they send back absolutely does not siphon off western wealth, it makes a bit of difference only to individual families because exchange value, a dollar  might be worth at lot of the local currency and therefore the family with it more wealthy, but it makes no difference to the west. 

Capitalism functions by exploiting labour, what a worker is paid is always less than the market value of what he produces, so whatever a migrant sends home is always only a tiny fraction of the value of what he makes, so his labour benefits who he is working for more than what he can send home after expenses.

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Something the author doesn't address is the question of what do we do in the meantime

Yes it does, it argues the burden of dealing with illegal immigrants should be placed on employers, not on walls or mistreating migrants. Further when confronted by anti-immigration sentiment the left shouldn't knee jerk into arguing immigration is good (borrowing from CATO) but agree it's problematic and point to the real culprates, business owners, not the migrants themselves. 

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48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

No it won't, it will ensure that states established by white supremacy will continue to suck up the weath of predominantly brown countries like a vampire and dominate them by forcing comprador govts on them. While within these more developed economies the owners will be able to divide and rule the groups forced to compete with each other in the hierarchy, just like the mill owners and industrialists in Glasgow used Irish immigration to encourage sectarianism and thus undermine organised labour. Further that elite will still be predominantly white, even in the US, because they are the ones with the established assets to pass on.

The vast majority of the migrants to Australia have always come from the UK. Are we sucking up the wealth of your country by accepting all these immigrants? Of course we're not, because that's not how it works. We, New Zealand, Canada and the US have never sucked up your country's wealth, despite the HUGE numbers of immigrants we've accepted from there.

It's not immigration that does ANY of these things. And it's the choice of the workers whether they want to be divided by race or country of origin. It's not the bosses' choice. The whole idea of people uniting across racial or cultural boundaries seems to zoom over your head.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

One of the things I detest about the current mainstream left's approach to the issue is the idea people from the global south only matter once they get near Western borders, America bombing these countries back to the stone age is "just America being America" (as Gringo once put it), Yemen gets a shrug, but once they flee to Europe or US, they suddeny become worthy of care, no longer just a statistic! 

Absolutely appalling bullshit! In my opinion, any country that bombs the shit out of another country is MORALLY OBLIGATED to take the refugees that they've created. You don't agree, obviously.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Letting in immigrants is somehow supposed to make up for hundreds of years of imperialism and colonial exploitation. Even your narrative above is about how the West can benefit from people having to leave their own countries to make the West more diverse, which is supposed to make it more creative and productive too, as the CATO institute argues. 

Fuck off with the CATO institute. I want white supremacy and capitalism overthrown. I want a united labour movement to do that. It's to ALL our benefit globally if this happens, not just "the West". The sooner white supremacy is destroyed, the better it is for the entire world.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

There is a huge contradiction between arguments that immigration is beneficial to the host country and at the same time that it compensates for past crimes.

It doesn't compensate for past crimes. It prevents future white supremacist crimes.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Indeed there is a strange racist implication in your argument in particular, that somehow taking in any old "brown" person from anywhere in the world somehow makes up for the genocide and dispossesion of native  Americans, or slavery (of people now already in America).

What a bizarre fairy tale you've constructed there!

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Do native Americans really benefit from yet more migrants from outside the America's so long as they have a particular skin colour? Does it make their interests more powerful?

Absolutely it does. The sooner racist white people are eradicated from all positions in power in the US, the better positioned First Nations people are to get their old treaties recognised again, and improve their rights over their own land and resources. White supremacy is the problem. Racist white people in positions of power perpetuate it.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

As if all non-white people are interchangable and equate to each other, rather than being a whole panopoly of different and distinct cultures in their own right, as such you reduce them to merely their skin colour, which is what white supremacy did in the first place. 

It's not about the non-white people, it's about the racist white people. We want to make them into a tiny minority and get them out of power.

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Instead the left should be stressing that it's in the interests of western proles to end the exploitation of the developing world, canceling third world debt, encourging development and opposing interventions is a vital interest for even most people in predominantly native white European countries because it will take away a weapon used by the owners to undermine them.

Why do you use the word "instead"? Why do you pit good things against each other, as if they have to compete?

 

48 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Mass immigration is exploitation, the left not the right has the only real answer to this, help the developing world become richer and more powerful, make the entire world more equal, stop the unfair exploitation of third world resources and labour in countries of origin and at home. Building walls and mistreating immigrants will never do anything to stop mass immigration, it's a con trick designed to fool ignorant people, but dumbly responding to these people by arguing immigration is an entirely good thing is bound to fail.

You know what helps to make the world more equal and stop the unfair exploitation of third world resources and labour? Ending white supremacy.

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58 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

It's a pitance, the migrants are not well paid, they have to support themselves, what they send back absolutely does not siphon off western wealth, it makes a bit of difference only to individual families because exchange value, a dollar  might be worth at lot of the local currency and therefore the family with it more wealthy, but it makes no difference to the west. 

Nearly half a trillion dollars globally is not a pittance.

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/04/23/record-high-remittances-to-low-and-middle-income-countries-in-2017

 

58 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Capitalism functions by exploiting labour, what a worker is paid is always less than the market value of what he produces, so whatever a migrant sends home is always only a tiny fraction of the value of what he makes, so his labour benefits who he is working for more than what he can send home after expenses.

Absolutely. But while this is the system we live with, I'm happy for migrants to be sending money from first world countries to developing countries.

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28 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Yes it does, it argues the burden of dealing with illegal immigrants should be placed on employers, not on walls or mistreating migrants. Further when confronted by anti-immigration sentiment the left shouldn't knee jerk into arguing immigration is good (borrowing from CATO) but agree it's problematic and point to the real culprates, business owners, not the migrants themselves. 

"The burden" you refer to is the responsibility to ensure that undocumented migrants can't get work and end up homeless and starving.

And again, fuck off with CATO. The benefits of immigration are real, they don't depend on your ideology.

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The vast majority of the migrants to Australia have always come from the UK. Are we sucking up the wealth of your country by accepting all these immigrants?

They were establishing colonial rule and exploitation of Australia's resources, thus setting up industrial capitalism where it didn't exist. The resources where then exploited by the colonial power. You are confusing colonial settlement with immigration, a profoundly foolish thing to do because by implication in reverse it would equate modern migrants into the west with conquest, which is what the far right do.

Absolutely appalling bullshit! In my opinion, any country that bombs the shit out of another country is MORALLY OBLIGATED to take the refugees that they've created. You don't agree, obviously.

So, so long as we take in refugees we can feel better about destroying what they have, thus only those who flee matter, and fuck those who stay in their own country, probably deserve it anyway since they chosen to stay in a regime we disapprove of ... I have actually encountered centrists making that argument specifically about Syrians.

We shouldn't bomb in the first place and the subsequent obligation is to stop and then help rebuild, not just exploit the labour of those who flee. Taking in refugees is no compensation for fucking them up in the first place.

Fuck off with the CATO institute

But I have seen you repeating all the arguments on immigrstion promoted by the CATO institute about how beneficial immigration is for the economy. You might think this is all about overthrowing capitalism and white supremacy, but maybe you haven't been thinking hard enough. Maybe it's just become an orthodox dogma.

It doesn't compensate for past crimes. It prevents future white supremacist crimes.

Has it stopped the first world exploiting the third to any degree? The exploitation is produced by capitalist economic needs, not by racism, racism is only an excuse used to justify that exploitation, even if racism disappears these crimes will continue, people invent exceptions when they need to.

What a bizarre fairy tale you've constructed there!

I'm just pointing out your own rhetoric has racist implications you apparently haven't examined, I'm not saying these are intentional on your behalf.

Absolutely it does. The sooner racist white people are eradicated from all positions in power in the US, the better positioned First Nations people are to get their old treaties recognised again

Oh bollocks, newly arrived immigrants from wherever have no reason to respect smaller minorites territorial claims if it goes against their economic interests (presuming they are in position to make such descisions). Besides, the 1% are not going to change, they have established assets, they have been white histrocially and will continue to be overwhelmingly white so long as we have capitalist ownership, but that doesn't matter, the few non-whites who make it to that level will act in exactly the same way the whites do, because economic interests determine their actions.

Why do you use the word "instead"? Why do you pit good things against each other, as if they have to compete?

Because mass immigration is not a before the fact good thing, it has merits and problems, it's unpopular and arguing it is always a good thing is not an intelegent way to take on anti-immigration sentiment, you will lose and that will only make things worse because the other side has on real solution.

You know what helps to make the world more equal and stop the unfair exploitation of third world resources and labour? Ending white supremacy.

That is the central  point in which you are dead wrong, the exploitation comes first, the white supremacy is just a symptom of it, not the cause. This can be demonstrated in the third world itself, where non-white comprador govts exploit and rip of their own people for both their personal and western businesses benefit.
 

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Nearly half a trillion dollars globally is not a pittance.

LOL "half a trillion" is a very "glass half full" way of putting $466 billion, it makes it sound like more than it is and of course the World Bank is completely unlike CATO and absolutely not an institution involved in third world debt enslavement. Besides not trusting the statistics, you are talking about the whole world here. and half a trillion is under 0.3% of total wealth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

Absolutely. But while this is the system we live with, I'm happy for migrants to be sending money from first world countries to developing countries.

I'm not against them sending money back, I'm saying it doesn't create a more equal playing feild, their countries would benefit more if they worked there.

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9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

They were establishing colonial rule and exploitation of Australia's resources, thus setting up industrial capitalism where it didn't exist. The resources where then exploited by the colonial power. You are confusing colonial settlement with immigration, a profoundly foolish thing to do because by implication in reverse it would equate modern migrants into the west with conquest, which is what the far right do.

I'm not talking about the colonial era. We have over a million residents and citizens who were born in the UK now, TODAY. We are taking in thousands and thousands of people from the UK NOW. Do you feel us draining your economy??

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

So, so long as we take in refugees we can feel better about destroying what they have

No, nothing should ever make us feel "better" about that. Ever. It's the other way around  - as long as we are destroying what they have, we must take them in.

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

 

, thus only those who flee matter, and fuck those who stay in their own country, probably deserve it anyway since they chosen to stay in a regime we disapprove of ... I have actually encountered centrists making that argument specifically about Syrians.

There are no centrists in this discussion. They're irrelevant.

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

We shouldn't bomb in the first place and the subsequent obligation is to stop and then help rebuild, not just exploit the labour of those who flee. Taking in refugees is no compensation for fucking them up in the first place.

Why do you keep bringing up this idea that taking in refugees is "compensation"? I haven't ever suggested that. I said it's a moral obligation. It's a duty.

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

But I have seen you repeating all the arguments on immigrstion promoted by the CATO institute about how beneficial immigration is for the economy. You might think this is all about overthrowing capitalism and white supremacy, but maybe you haven't been thinking hard enough. Maybe it's just become an orthodox dogma.

Here is an article from the Socialist Review making a pro-immigration argument - http://socialistreview.org.uk/389/do-migrants-lower-wages

The benefits that migrants bring are fact - not ideology, not dogma. You are simply wrong about the facts.

If wages are driven down by anyone who's willing to work for cheaper wages or by a surplus of labour, we should deport every unemployed person and every young, inexperience person. Not just immigrants.

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Has it stopped the first world exploiting the third to any degree? The exploitation is produced by capitalist economic needs, not by racism, racism is only an excuse used to justify that exploitation, even if racism disappears these crimes will continue, people invent exceptions when they need to.

Many countries that were previously developing are now considered to have graduated to "developed" or "advanced" economies - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developing_country#Countries_and_regions_that_are_graduated_developed_economies

The third world is shrinking over time, so there is less to exploit.

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

I'm just pointing out your own rhetoric has racist implications you apparently haven't examined, I'm not saying these are intentional on your behalf.

No, you're making up rhetoric that isn't mine. Of course your made up rhetoric has problems.

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Oh bollocks, newly arrived immigrants from wherever have no reason to respect smaller minorites territorial claims if it goes against their economic interests (presuming they are in position to make such descisions). Besides, the 1% are not going to change, they have established assets, they have been white histrocially and will continue to be overwhelmingly white so long as we have capitalist ownership, but that doesn't matter, the few non-whites who make it to that level will act in exactly the same way the whites do, because economic interests determine their actions.

I'm not talking about newly arrived immigrants respecting anyone's territorial claims. I'm talking about them becoming a larger and larger bloc of voters, a larger proportion of people running for office, and a larger proportion of people in positions of power. They ARE taking on the 1%. This is happening. And they won't behave in exactly the same way as racist white people, because they don't have the same kind of remnant privilege to protect.

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

Because mass immigration is not a before the fact good thing, it has merits and problems, it's unpopular and arguing it is always a good thing is not an intelegent way to take on anti-immigration sentiment, you will lose and that will only make things worse because the other side has on real solution.

Oh, I love this argument - you can't fight the racists, so you'll just have to join them!

 

9 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

That is the central  point in which you are dead wrong, the exploitation comes first, the white supremacy is just a symptom of it, not the cause. This can be demonstrated in the third world itself, where non-white comprador govts exploit and rip of their own people for both their personal and western businesses benefit.
 

Many of these unequal political systems in the third world were instituted or exacerbated via divide and conquer strategies by white supremacist colonists. You know this.

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11 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

LOL "half a trillion" is a very "glass half full" way of putting $466 billion, it makes it sound like more than it is and of course the World Bank is completely unlike CATO and absolutely not an institution involved in third world debt enslavement. Besides not trusting the statistics, you are talking about the whole world here. and half a trillion is under 0.3% of total wealth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

That's not a pittance at all. You're trivialising a very large amount of money. I don't think you had any idea how much it actually was.

 

Quote

I'm not against them sending money back, I'm saying it doesn't create a more equal playing feild, their countries would benefit more if they worked there.

You need to provide evidence for that claim. Under an exploitative, unequal global capitalist system, I don't think this is self evident at all.

Edited by lisae

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That's not a pittance at all. You're trivialising a very large amount of money. I don't think you had any idea how much it actually was.

It's an unimaginable amount to you or me, it's pittance of global wealth, less than 0.3%. It's less than the US annual defence budget of $681 billion, Jeff Bezos is worth $150 billion alone, that's one man having the wealth of one third of all the remittances in the entire world paid by billions of people. It's significantly less than the global tourist industry which is worth $7,6 trillion.

Quote

You need to provide evidence for that claim

No I don't, you have already agreed a worker in the US produces more wealth within the US than he is paid, therefore once expenses are also taken of, whatever he sends home can only be less than the worth of his labour in the US.If he was working in his country of origin it would benefit from his labour more.

Edited by Beltaine fox

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12 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

It's an unimaginable amount to you or me, it's pittance of global wealth, less than 0.3%. It's less than the US annual defence budget of $681 billion, Jeff Bezos is worth $150 billion alone, that's one man having the wealth of one third of all the remittances in the entire world paid by billions of people. It's significantly less than the global tourist industry which is worth $7,6 trillion.

The fact that it's a similar order of magnitude to the US annual defence budget shows how LARGE it is.

 

12 minutes ago, Beltaine fox said:

No I don't, you have already agreed a worker in the US produces more wealth within the US than he is paid, therefore once expenses are also taken of, whatever he sends home can only be less than the worth of his labour in the US.If he was working in his country of origin it would benefit from his labour more.

The benefit the worker gets from the value of his own labour depends on the level to which he is exploited. In developing countries, workers are more exploited and they contribute more to multinational companies and less to their own family and community. That's why there's an incentive to move to a wealthier country with better pay and conditions.

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The fact that it's a similar order of magnitude to the US annual defence budget shows how LARGE it is.

The US defence budget is one part of federal expendature (16% of the entire federal budget and 3% of total US GDP) from one country, remittances are a global figure paid from every country to every country but mostly wealthier to poorer. The value of total global remittances is thus equivilent to about 2% of US GDP. 

 

 

The benefit the worker gets from the value of his own labour depends on the level to which he is exploited. In developing countries, workers are more exploited and they contribute more to multinational companies and less to their own family and community.

If he is working in his own country, he spends everything me makes in his own country, he contributes to his own countries GDP by working, even if the profits are taken abroad by a multinational. This is espacially the case if he's a skilled worker, and many immigrants are skilled.

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