Not Much of a Debate

By Mark Krikorian on September 9, 2009
The Economist

's website is hosting a "debate" on the following proposition: "This house believes there is too much international migration." Arguing against the proposition is one Dr. Danny Sriskandarajah, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, saying all the usual tranzi stuff. But what's curious is the person selected to speak in support of the proposition: Demetri Papademetriou, head of the Migration Policy Institute, which is basically CIS's counterpart on the high-immigration side of the debate. His opening paragraph:

There is little doubt that legal, organised and well-managed migration can bring great economic benefits to receiving societies, immigrants and their families, both at origin and destination. And in an increasingly interdependent world, migration's benefits that are not directly economic, such as greater cultural, social and even political understanding, cannot be ignored, though typically they are.

Mind you, this is the defense of the proposition that "there is too much international migration." True, Demetri points out that immigration is sometimes managed badly and receiving countries should do a better job of integration, blah, blah, blah, but the bottom line is that the post-national Economist's idea of a "debate" over immigration is premised on the fact that large-scale immigration is a great thing for all concerned. Sure, they'll permit "guests" who are actual critics of mass immigration — I have a piece up today and on Friday there will be one from the formidable Sir Andrew Green of MigrationwatchUK. But even when the proposition to be debated is "there is too much international migration," there's no chance a xenophile institution like The Economist could ever select a participant who actually believes there is too much international migration.