In Another Country

A vast, under-populated Western country.  A densely populated neighboring one and member of the quasi-Third World immediately south of the border.  Human labor in demand in the north, an overabundance of it in the south.  A lazy, somewhat dissipated and decadent, aging northern population facing an energetic, youthful, and entrepreneurial one southward across a riverine boundary.  The natives, spoiled by affluence, complain that they cannot keep up with the industrious immigrants (“They all work like mad,” according to one interviewee), from whom they have much to learn.  Determined immigrants, most of them illegal, though some of them operating within the law, pushing across the river to take jobs the natives won’t do, or to create new ones.  Accurate figures giving the number of immigrants, whether working full-time or seasonally, do not exist.  A conservative and nationalist northern party determined to keep them out (the region is experiencing a massive demographic transformation in the image of the sending nation); a corrupt, tyrannical government in the south eager to encourage an outlet for a restive population looking to improve its life, and the wherewithal to do so.  Flouted rules pertaining to immigration and official corruption obtain in the receiving country.  Fear of an irresistible tide and a consequent foreign takeover have taken root in “national mythmaking”...

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