Thursday, 26 July 2007

The case for opening Europe’s borders wide to migrant workers

by Philippe Legrain

Efforts to tighten immigration controls and even bring them into line across Europe are short-sighted and unworkable, argues Philippe Legrain. He explains why the EU's growing hunger for even unskilled labour means they are also economically flawed

It's time Europe's politicians came clear about immigration with voters and with themselves. Governments cannot stop people moving across borders, and even if Europe became a police state its borders would still be permeable. Over a million foreigners illegally swell Europe's population every year; some enter covertly but most just overstay their visas and then work illicitly. Draconian policies can make migration harder and curb it somewhat, but mostly they drive it underground and thus create huge problems elsewhere.

Far from protecting society from the perceived threat of immigration, Europe's border controls actually undermine law and order, just as Prohibition did more damage to America than drinking ever has. Surely, then, European governments would do better to legalise and regulate migration instead? [Read more]

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