Immigration: The Greatest Government Failure of Our Times

Migration is a reality that concerns no more than 200 million people on earth now living outside their country of origin—that is, only three percent of the world’s population.  Why should we even talk about it?  The reason is simple: Global statistics are worthless; the whole phenomenon is concentrated in Europe and the United States.  One could argue that, at least in modern times, the story of immigration has always been a transatlantic or Western tale, but while it was once an internal affair, it is now between the West and the rest of the world.

Throughout the golden age of borders—roughly from the Franco-Prussian war to the end of the Cold War—some nations produced a surplus labor force, and others were relatively eager to welcome it, but the rules were such that the world was full of fences and boundaries that worked quite well.  During the Cold War, communist regimes did everything possible to keep their citizens from leaving.  While in theory the “free world” was ready to grant political asylum to all who could escape communism, in reality governments were rather happy to be dealing with only thousands of cases per year.

From the dawn of independence, intellectuals began to ponder what it meant to be an American.  “Here individuals of all races are melted into a new race of man, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in...

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