The Reason for Statist Immigration

The Reason for Statist Immigration
Profile photo of Caleb McMillan

immigrationFor a variety of reasons, statist immigration doesn’t work. 

One example: the unemployment rate among new immigrants is double that of Canadian-born workers.

And so, immigration is “public policy” that should be returned to the actual public, through voluntary trade. 

But that’s unlikely to happen since the federal government has expressed a desire to increase immigration over the next seven years. They intend to fill in the gap left by retiring baby boomers.

That’s about 2.2 million people. 

Canada’s Immigration Minister John McCallum holds the position that: “Canada is an aging country, so we are in need of new blood… Canadians aren’t having enough babies and so the labour force growth depends very much on the entrance of immigrants.”

But if the labour force depends on migrating workers, then why not leave immigration to a free market? 

When a capitalist needs a skilled worker and there is no one to choose from domestically, he or she can inquire into an international temp agency, as it were.

Maybe for cultural enrichment purposes, a church or community may sponsor a family’s migration to Canada to live a more fulfilling life.

I suspect, because the government must fund the Canadian Pension Plan, the Old Age Security pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, disability benefits, Employment Insurance, and other social services Canadians are taxed for, the desire for new immigrants is less about market labour and more about a larger pool of taxpayers and sympathetic voters.

Of course, that pushes the problem back one step. While you have new contributors to the pension and welfare schemes, the newcomers also expect to collect when they reach their senior years.

And so, another rationale is that immigrants increase GDP. Perhaps by their retirement years, the economy will have grown because of the net benefits immigration has on the economy, and so the government can afford to pay out its promised welfare.

But as I’ve written about before (as have many others) GDP is a pseudoscientific term for an economic worldview that is fundamentally flawed. 

Arbitrarily replacing two million people doesn’t necessarily grow the economy. Other factors imposing restrictions on entrepreneurs are the problem.

Just as states miscalculate monetary and fiscal policy, immigration also lacks the proper accounting controls.

Perhaps, this is why Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman once wrote,

“Immigration is a particularly difficult subject. There is no doubt that free and open immigration is the right policy in a libertarian state, but in a welfare state it is a different story: the supply of immigrants will become infinite. Your proposal that someone only be able to come for employment is a good one but it would not solve the problem completely. The real hitch is in denying social benefits to the immigrants who are here. That is very hard to do.”


Profile photo of Caleb McMillan

Caleb McMillan is a writer that lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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