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[Translated from Aftenposten.no, Migrasjonens umuligheter, June 3, 2013]
Norway needs a new immigration policy. But the dilemmas of global migration ensure that no matter which direction we choose to go in, somebody will be paying a heavy price for it – with their money, health or conscience.
Norway is now an immigration country. We have been one for a while, but have failed to acknowledge the scale of it. We currently have one of the fastest growing populations in Europe. It increased by 1.31% in 2012, which along with 2011 saw Norway’s fastest population growth since 1920. Immigration accounts for 72% of this growth. It passed 50% in the mid-2000s, and has stayed there ever since.
This is a lot of immigration by Norwegian standards, which was basically homogenous until the 1970s. It is also a lot by European standards. It is even a lot compared to the country most of us think of as a typical “immigration country”, the United States in the decades around 1900. At that time, the American population grew faster, at about 2% a year, but immigration accounted for only 30% of this growth, compared to our 72%. In fact, only in the 1850s did the U.S. have a higher net immigration rate than Norway does today: 10 immigrants annually per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to our 9.4.
Most of the immigrants we receive are labor migrants: 50,000 in 2012. 6,000 refugees were also granted residency, as well as 24,000 through family reunions, half of them from outside the EU. Poland is the largest source of migrants to Norway, with 11,000 in 2012. Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark and Somalia are next at the top of the list.
Such figures can be hard to grasp. It’s easier if you translate them into towns you are familiar with. I grew up in Halden, a typical small town in south-east Norway, with 30,000 inhabitants. Norway received 47,000 net immigrants (in minus out) in 2012 alone, or 1.5 Haldens. By comparison, Norway’s total population is only 5 million, or 169 Haldens. Immigration has been at this level since 2007.
It is difficult for a country to grow this fast. Even if we did everything right, there would still be growing pains in the forms of investments in infrastructure and public services. But there are strong indications that we’re not doing everything right, and that we have created an immigration system that is economically unsustainable. The Norwegian welfare state, one of the most expansive in the world, is designed to transfer wealth from those who have much to those who have little. Most immigrants fall in the latter group, and many fail to find their way out of it. According to the newspaper Finansavisen, Statistics Norway estimates that each additional non-Western immigrant adds a “cost” of 4.1 million NOK (€537,000) to society over the 2013-2100 period, as measured in expected tax revenues minus public spending. Even Eastern European migrant workers end up in minus: 0.8 million NOK (€105,000).
The problem is the labor force participation rate, which is lower, and slopes off earlier. Some immigrant groups do quite well. Men from Sri Lanka work more than Norwegians. But only 23% of Somali women are employed. Both of these groups consist primarily of refugees, but Somali refugees seem to end up on the outside of the labor market. They are not alone. There are 122,000 immigrants in what Statistics Norway calls the “problem group” that have greatest difficulties in entering the labor market, with a participation rate of only 41%. True, it’s not easy getting native Norwegians to work either. Arguably our entire economic model is unsustainable, because people vote themselves more welfare entitlements while simultaneously growing too old to pay for them. But immigration, as we do it today, isn’t helping.
There’s also the problem of ethnic segregation. The government insists that Norway is not becoming a segregated country, but white Norwegians behave as if they disagree, and continue to abandon what they consider immigrant areas. Immigration is all well in principle, they seem to be saying, but I’m not going to send my children to a school where most of the children come from foreign-language homes. If this process continues, segregation will eventually be a fact in Oslo, whether we admit it or not.
Am I painting an excessively bleak picture? Possibly. The last word has not been spoken on the fate of Norway’s immigrants. The strange thing, though, is that while Norway’s immigration pessimists were long dismissed as being irrational, anecdote-driven xenophobes, while the optimists supposedly had facts and science on their side, today it’s increasingly the other way around. It’s pessimists like Christian Skaug and Nina Hjerpset-Østlie at Document, and Rita Karlsen at Human Rights Service, who have full mastery of the statistics of immigration, while the optimists get carried away by hopeful anecdotes, and offer dubious figures that do not stand up to scrutiny. The optimists will have to make a real effort if they intend to become relevant again.
Since Norway has no experience with this level of immigration, it should surprise no one that we’re bad at it. It would be nice if we had someone to learn from, a country that does immigration right, and can teach us how to get the best of everything: Immigration that is economically sustainable, does not cause segregation, allows us to keep our welfare state and economic equality, holds the door open for people in great need, and sends those we cannot receive away in a humane manner.
But I have found no such model country to learn from. This is not because immigration is rare. 3% of the world’s people are immigrants. Everyone has an immigration policy. But none of them are without a dark side. Whether you go for a strict immigration policy or a liberal one, there is always a depressing price to pay – for the immigration country, for the immigrants, or for both.
Some immigration skeptics argue that Norway should learn from Asian countries, which tend to have immigration policies that are the exact reverse of our own. They reject all forms of permanent immigration. They have no interest in new citizens who expand their cultural diversity. They feel they have enough diversity as it is. All they want it guests who stay for a while, and then return home to where they came from.
This applies even to refugees. Pakistan has the largest refugee population in the world. Somewhere between 1.7 and 2.7 million Afghans live in refugee camps, many since the 1980s. But integrating them as permanent members of Pakistani society, the way refugees are in Europe, is unthinkable. They are only temporary guests, and nothing more. Similarly, 1.4 million Palestinians still live in refugee camps in the Middle East, three generations after the 1948 war with Israel. Jordan has granted citizenship to many, but in Lebanon they face systematic discrimination.
Migrant workers too are treated as temporary guests in Asian countries, and may stay no longer than their job requires them to. They’re to come when they are needed, offer their labor, and return home. This is easier said than done. The guest worker who actually returns home afterwards is the Holy Grail of immigration policy – many have searched for it, but given up in disappointment. West Germany invited several hundred thousand Turkish guest workers in the 1950s and 60s, and thought they would return home by themselves. They didn’t. Instead, they invited their families over, and became a permanent part of German society.
Germany’s “mistake” was to treat the guest workers as human beings who had rights like anyone else. Migrant workers are not robots, but people. They want their families to live with them, and the longer they stay, the more they grow attached to their new society. Asia has learned from this “mistake”. Their migrant workers may not bring their families with them. Their residency depends on their employment, and they have few or no rights. If your boss fires you, you’re out. Employers take advantage of the power this gives them. Horror stories about mistreated servants abound.
Should we grant Norwegian employers similar power? It would take great faith in their benevolence to think that they would not abuse it. And what effect does it have on a society when it treats migrant workers as harshly as they apparently must be, if you wish to ensure that they return home later? What does this to do the self-image of the native master race?
Norway has already taken steps in this direction. Like everywhere else, our immigrants tend to get jobs with low pay and low status, and Norwegians are now acquiring the habit of speaking dismissively about hiring a “Pole” or a “Filipino” to do our menial tasks. When some immigrant groups in addition are poorly integrated, this exacerbates the problem, and if we were to import an underclass of guest workers who would never be allowed to rise above their station, we would be taking a big leap towards the master mentality. What will we think of future generations of white Norwegians who have grown up in a country where class and skin color are the same thing? Will we like them?
No, I don’t believe Asia has the immigration policy we’re looking for. If we are to have immigration, then give us citizens, not servants.
The United States has had more success in turning immigrants into citizens, but at the price of a smaller welfare state, economic inequality, and a constant pressure from below against native low-wage workers. Personally I find this acceptable, but most Norwegians are quite proud and happy with their welfare programs, and would like to keep them intact. You’ll sometimes hear immigration liberals on the right who argue that immigration is not a problem, because all we need to do is to dismantle the welfare state. But they have no credible plan for how to do this, against the wishes of an overwhelming majority. In any case, it’s dishonest to use immigration to force this on a society that does not want it.
And although the U.S. is a successful and experienced immigration country, there too immigration is marked by brutality and suffering. The reason is the same as everywhere else: There are more people who want to live in the U.S. than they want to receive. So they sneak in, to an uncertain existence as illegal immigrants. There may be 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., most of them from Latin America. They live in hope of another amnesty, like the ones that gave legal residency to 2.8 million people in 1986, and 1 million in 1997. But the U.S. is not, and does not want to be, a country with unrestricted immigration. They want control over their own borders – particularly after September 11.
Immigrants pay the price. In 1990 it was feasible for a Mexican to cross the U.S. border without aid. Then border control was tightened. Border guards increased in number and effectiveness, closing off the easiest and safest routes. This did not put an end to illegal immigration, it just made it more expensive and dangerous. 4-500 people die annually while attempting to cross the border. Hiring a smuggler can cost you $3-5,000 – a considerable sum to recoup down at the bottom of society.
This is the biggest unsolved problem in immigration policy: When the desire to migrate is strong enough, there is no humane way of controlling your borders. You must choose: Do you want a high volume of immigrants, or do you want heavily indebted immigrants who risk their lives? And you may end up with both.
Europe faces the same dilemma. One of the major migration routes into Europe runs from West Africa across the Sahara, to North Africa, and then on to Italy, Spain and Greece. There are many variations of this route. The most comfortable is to arrive “legally” on a tourist visa or false papers, before seeking asylum or disappearing into the informal economy. But the poorest Africans travel in small, overcrowded boats, often to the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and Libya.
This is a dangerous trip, but if you have come this far you already have months or years of toil behind you, and you do not scare easily. You have crossed the Sahara. You have paid off corrupt officials. You have taken odd jobs to finance the next step of your journey. If you get so far that you see the Mediterranean, you’re one of the lucky ones.
Many imagine that these routes are controlled by a kind of mafia of human traffickers who shovel boatloads of slave laborers into Europe, but this is rarely the case. Human smuggling is certainly organized, but usually only one step at a time. You jump from one place to the next, hoping to find a way forward. Most Africans do not, and fall off along the way.
And it’s not necessarily “organized crime” that organizes this, but a migration industry that is really as diverse as any other industry. It contains actors who sell papers, information, or transportation. And it contains rogue actors who will swindle you out of your money and labor, and give nothing in return.
A competent human smuggler may be a criminal in the eyes of the state, but in the eyes of the migrant they offer a valuable service, and will charge accordingly. Migrants often finance their journeys by going heavily into debt. This does not make them slaves, but it does make them vulnerable. Their creditors may use violence and intimidation to collect their money – often targeting their family in the home country.
The line between debt and slavery is a bit hazy. Nigerian women are not happy to end up selling sex on the streets of Oslo, while they repay their debt and hope for a better opportunity. But they would rather try than return home, and do not live up to the trafficking stereotype. Burmese women who end up in brothels in Thailand have it far worse. They too have a “debt” they must repay, but it’s the kind of debt that binds you to a life of exploitation.
Perhaps the border between debt and slavery goes by whether you choose or is chosen for, but in any case, at the bottom of society, outside the well-lit premises of civilized banks, debt is a deadly serious matter. It always has been.
Border control does work, but not in the way we wish it to. There are many myths about immigration to rich countries. One of them is that the migrants come to us like an unstoppable tsunami, fleeing from poverty. Another myth is that rich countries can choose exactly how much immigration they want.
To clear up these myths it can help to consider migration from an economic perspective. Imagine a global migration industry, where some people make money by facilitating migration, and others make money by controlling it. The industry feeds on the money of both those who would want to migrate, and those who would want to prevent them. It pits big dreams against powerful interests, and there is a lot of money in circulation. The money finds its way to illegal operators like smugglers and document forgers, but also to legal ones such as border guards and purveyors of labor migration.
As an entrepreneur in this industry you may one day see a new opportunity, one where you can make money by facilitating one step of a migration route. You succeed at this. Many migrants request your service, and your business grows. Competitors arrive, and start fighting you for market share.
In Lima, Peru, there is a street with hundreds of providers of fake documents of all kinds. They live in symbiosis with corrupt officials, and have long been the first stop on the journey for Peruvians who wish to migrate to Italy and Spain. False documents do not just spontaneously come into existence. Somebody has to create them. Likewise, the boats Africans travel to Lampedusa in are not created out of thin air. They are offered by Libyan fishermen. Migrants are no tsunami. They follow roads built by entrepreneurs, making economic decisions along the way.
These roads may be closed off, because on the receiving end, too, there are entrepreneurs, who look for creative ways to control migration. The result is an arms race between these two sides, where more effort and more money on one side puts pressure on the other to keep up. This drives up prices, but because so much is at stake, the willingness to pay is high – on both sides. A Chinese migrant may pay tens of thousands of dollars to be smuggled into the U.S. or Europe.
The price is not only monetary. Migrants also pay with their lives and their health, and rich countries pay with their conscience. In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants suffocated in a truck that was headed for the U.K. Hundreds of Africans drown every year while crossing the Mediterranean. Every control measure comes with a dark price. The Friendship Treaty between Italy and Libya in 2008 reduced the number of boat migrants significantly. The conscience price for this was that Libya placed the migrants in internment camps. Europe outsourced its border control to Gaddafi.
Norway resides on a desolate fringe of Eurasia, and this save us from many of the brutal dilemmas faced by the U.S. and Italy. But we meet a variation of them in the form of asylum immigration, where we futilely search for a “fair” asylum policy that will distinguish between “true” and “false” refugees.
The Refugee Convention was created for a world that no longer exists. In 1951, Africa was ruled by European colonial powers, and the refugees the writers of the convention had in mind came from beneath the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. There were a million Eastern European refugees living in western refugee camps, refusing to return home. The Refugee Convention allowed them to be resettled, and afterwards the Communist’s own border controls restricted the flow of further refugees. Those who managed to escape were welcomed as defectors and dissidents.
Western immigration policy as this time discriminated openly. The U.S. accepted few immigrants from Latin America, Asia or Africa until 1965. Australia had a White Australia policy until 1973. Italy only accepted Europeans as refugees until 1990.
But the world changed. The Europeans left their colonies, leaving misery behind. Communism fell in the east, and racism in the west. New technology made it easier for the dreams of the West to captivate the Rest, and for the Rest to travel to the West. The stream of refugees increased throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and wherever they arrived, friendliness towards persecuted dissidents was quickly replaced with suspicion towards “fake” asylum seekers.
Our world is very different from the one in 1951. But we’re still using these words they made for us. Refugee: A person fleeing persecution in their home country. Asylum seeker: Someone who seeks recognition as a refugee. The words have frozen solid. We ask if our asylum policy is “fair”. We don’t ask if the concept even makes sense any more.
When a person flees war, persecution or poverty, they do not sit down on the first flight to Oslo. Most end up in a neighboring country. Europe’s “refugee problem” is nothing compared to that of the neighbors of war zones. 10,000 asylum seekers arrived in Norway in 2012, creating a headache for immigration authorities and for the municipalities that will have to resettle the half of them who were granted residence. By contrast, after the genocide in Rwanda, 1.5 million refugees arrived in Zaire / Congo. The chaos triggered a war that indirectly may have killed several million people.
Refugee crises do not usually end that badly, but many people will spend years under harsh conditions in the refugee camps of unwelcoming neighbors. The lucky ones may eventually be recognized as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which gives them a hope of being resettled. Most of them are resettled in the United States. Norway is one of the few other countries that accept resettled refugees, receiving 1,000 in 2012.
Becoming an asylum seeker require more effort. You must first make your way to the country you wish to stay in, and then report yourself to the authorities. It’s almost impossible to do this legally. Western countries require a visa for travelers from refugee-producing countries, and they require that you deliver your asylum application in the first safe country you arrive in. You won’t get far without forged papers or human smugglers.
This means that there is not necessarily a big difference between asylum migration and other kinds of migration. The method of travel is the same, and so are the risks and costs. The difference is whether you melt into the informal economy when you arrive, or apply as an asylum seeker.
The difference between “true” and “false” refugees can be equally unclear, causing absurdity when we attach significance to it. There is no doubt that many people all over the world are persecuted, and thus fulfill the criteria of the Refugee Convention. We live in a brutal world where functioning democracies are the exception. But how many of the world’s persecuted manage to become asylum seekers? How many of those who do become asylum seekers are actually persecuted? And what is it about persecution that means that those who experience this “deserve” a new life in a rich country, while those who have suffered other misfortunes do not? This all made sense in 1951. Does it still make sense today?
The African Union has tried to introduce a broader definition of refugees: Not just those who are persecuted, but anyone who flees their homeland as a result of war, aggression or serious unrest. This definition includes so many people that we couldn’t possibly use it as a criterion for asylum immigration. But at least it derives from the world we live in today, where these are the causes for refugee crises, not a Europe that no longer exists. It makes sense. It’s just that the sense it makes is useless.
Asylum seekers too see the asylum process as absurd and arbitrary. Many of them believe it is okay to lie, if they believe it will help. In the report Viewed from the other side, Kurds from Northern Iraq who have emigrated or tried to emigrate to Norway and Europe explain that in their view it is a basic human right to be free to live wherever they want to in the world. According to the report, it is a myth that asylum seekers understand the asylum rules of the country they arrive in. Kurds are as confused by our immigration policy as we are ourselves. What they do understand is that it helps to have the right sad story, and come from the right place in Iraq. So they lie, and tell immigration authorities what they believe they want to hear.
These claims do not come from immigration authorities, but from Kurdish asylum seekers themselves. In the report, several claim that not only they themselves but “everyone” they know who has applied for asylum in Norway has lied about something. If they are rejected, they blame bad luck, or that they didn’t lie well enough.
Kurds from Northern Iraq have a higher rejection rate of their asylum applications than most. Other groups have a larger share of “real” refugees, at least according to immigration authorities. But when so much is at stake, it is as absurd to assume that asylum seekers tell the truth as it is to blame them when they lie.
Merit Wager has conveyed many stories that illustrate this from anonymous case workers in the Swedish Migration Board, the organization whose mission statement is to “protect the possibilities of global migration”, and implements Europe’s most liberal asylum policy. The case workers tell of widespread lying, and a work load that prevents meaningful verification of the stories they are told. For instance, they claim that most asylum seekers who arrive in Sweden as unaccompanied minors, (and thus have an easier route to residency), do in fact have families. Once their application has been approved they “discover” that they do have a family after all, and bring them over through family reunion.
Sweden is not Norway. But it’s interesting to note that nearly a thousand unaccompanied minors arrived as asylum seekers in Norway in 2012, almost all of them boys, and half from Afghanistan. Most of them are allowed to stay. We do not live in a word where you can make that journey without somebody paying quite well for it.
The arms race between asylum seekers and recipient countries works a bit like the one between Mexicans and U.S. border guards. Prices go up, and so do the risks of migration. Even if you make it all the way to your destination country, you may face a long and meaningless stay in an asylum reception center, or, in some countries, an internment camp. Or you may be sent home in disgrace.
All who migrate from poor countries are ashamed of failure. They want to call home and tell their friends and family of how well they’re doing. They want to be the “rich uncle in America” Norwegians used to boast of having, back when we were an emigration country. But instead they may end up sleeping on the streets and taking odd jobs in Spain, or they may find themselves waiting to be forcibly returned from Norway after their asylum application was rejected.
Even if you are granted residency, if you built it all on a lie, then you are never truly safe. Khalid Ahmed was smuggled to Norway in 2002. He applied as an asylum seeker, was granted residence, and became a local politician for the Labor Party in Hamar. But in 2013 he was arrested for having given false statement to the police. He had told them he came from Somalia. He actually came from Djibouti. Now he’s going to jail. How many others walk around fearing that the same thing may happen to them? What does this fear do to them?
Global migration everywhere is marked by suffering and unsolved dilemmas. The great possibilities are balanced by great impossibilities, and perhaps they must be, when the inequality is so great, and the distances are so short. The ambitions of the poor and the suffering collide against the fears of the rich, and no matter how you resolve this there will be a price to pay – in money, health, or conscience. Migration pits my money against your money, my conscience against your health. Who is the highest bidder?
But all solutions are not equally bad. Is there a principle we could rely on to find the least bad way to do immigration? I can think of three candidates.
The first is the rights-based model, which says that migration should be controlled by inalienable human rights, such as the right to seek protection if you are persecuted. When we debate asylum policy it tends to be such rights we are thinking about. Asylum activists often propose that we solve the absurdities of the current asylum policies by introducing even more rights, for instance by involving the Human Rights Council in Strasbourg.
When immigration is an issue of rights, we give away some control over our borders, and must simply accept and make the best of the immigrants we end up with.
The second model is the ownership model, which says that citizens are the owners of their country, much like a family owns a home. The owners have a right to decide who may cross their borders, and on what terms. They are free to say no to types of immigration that they do not believe are working out, for instance if it leads to a large, segregated underclass.
This is not the same as saying that immigration must be profitable. The owners may choose to be charitable. It’s as if you have an unused room in your house. You may choose to rent it out, and make money from it, or you may choose to let somebody live there for free, because they need it, and you want to help. But the decision is yours. As the owner of your home, you have a right think about how charitable you can afford to be.
The third model focuses on democratic values. It says that migration should be assessed according to whether it moves us closer to, or further away from, a world where all people live in liberal, tolerant, prosperous democracies.
This means that immigration is bad when it creates a society marked by distrust and an underclass of segregated immigrant communities, because this undermines democracy. But profitable labor immigration can be bad too, if it creates a native master race who enjoy lording over the migrants so much that they forget their democratic values.
If immigration creates new citizens who embrace democratic values, it is a good thing. We will need the help of such immigrants if our values are to survive in a world where the U.S. and Europe are just two out of many global powers. But when immigrants bring with them the same polarization, fanaticism and corruption that made the countries they’re leaving so miserable in the first place, then it’s a bad thing.
It all depends on the effect.
In Norway, the rights-based model is very popular with asylum activists. But I think it has failed, and that some of its supporters have become fanatics, because they only think about fundamental principles, and not about the consequences of following them blindly. I like the democratic model better. It provides idealists with a vision to believe in, without deteriorating into literalist pietism.
But the most interesting model is the ownership model, because it’s the model that lives in the minds of most of us, even when we don’t acknowledge it. I believe that much of what we today call xenophobia is actually about something else: People feeling that their ownership rights are not taken seriously.
One useful way to look at immigration skepticism is as the host’s frustration with what they perceive as ungrateful guests. This frustration is not always justified, of course, but I believe it’s that particular role many Norwegians enter into when they object to immigration: The offended host. You can’t understand their feelings if the only thing you have in your head is last generation’s anti-racism and the Refugee Convention of 1951.
It’s easier to understand what it means to be a bad guest if we turn it around. In the town Torrevieja in Spain there’s a large community of Norwegians. Every May 17 they celebrate Norway’s Constitution Day with a big parade, just like Norwegians have been doing since the 19th century. But in 2009, several Norwegians complained because the municipality had refused to sponsor their parade with free band music. They demanded a public apology.
Now, most of us realize that it’s rude to behave this way. Marching loudly through the streets of a Spanish city with Norwegian flags is already stretching hospitality a bit, but complaining about not receiving this for free is just offensive. This is not how you treat the hosts who permit you to live in your dream community by the Mediterranean. I would understand perfectly if some Spaniards were insulted by this.
In the same way, it is okay to feel insulted when others exploit Norway’s own hospitality. When it turns out that someone who claimed they were persecuted, and needed protection, actually lied. When those who escape countries ravaged by religious fanaticism help the same ideas strike roots here. When the shrinking number of ethnic Norwegians who remain in immigrant neighborhoods experience bullying. When large groups of immigrants seem to stretch their welfare rights as far as possible, instead of stretching themselves not to be a burden.
The hosts sometimes feel insulted without reason. Earlier this year, there was much irritation in Norway over a story claiming that children would be waving foreign flags in the Constitution Day parade. The story was blown out of all proportion, but in order to understand the controversy it created, you must use words like “host” and “guest”. You must talk about the host who feels a growing frustration that they’re not able to put into word, and end up exploding in anger over minor annoyances. They then end up being bad hosts towards good guests. This is an insult too.
Even integration can be understood in terms of hosts and guests: How do you turn the guests into full and equal members of the host? This is about more than having a job and being a citizen.
But Norwegians know very little about such things. Nor do we understand much about the patterns of global migration, in which we are just one of many end stations. We have become an immigration country now, but we’re not a particularly competent one. All we have on our side is luck, over-confidence, and a handful of outdated ideas. And perhaps that is how it must be. We have been an immigration country even shorter than we have been an oil country. Of course we don’t know what we are doing.
I propose that we move away from the rights-based model of immigration, towards a more selective one where we think about how much, and which types of, immigration we want and can afford. It will never be “profitable” to receive refugees and their families, nor should we aim to make it so. But the higher the cost is, the less we can afford. Those who wish us to continue receiving a high number of refugees should thus work towards reducing that cost.
I also propose that we begin to use segregation as a measure of how skilled we are at receiving immigrants. If Oslo continues to split in two, then we are not doing a good job, and should reduce the volume of immigration until we get better at it. The implication, then, is clear for immigration supporters who want to make a personal contribution to the cause they believe in: Move to an immigrant neighborhood.