In the last week or two the question of immigration has come to the attention of the chattering classes again. Said chattering classes are shocked, shocked that other people in developed nations are not enthralled with having lots of new neighbors from “shithole nations” (to coin a term). It might, I think, be worth examining the costs and benefits to different groups of people of immigration.

First there are the immigrants, they are in fact the sole clear beneficiary of migration. Even in a case where they end up in an MS-13 controlled neighborhood, things are likely better than in the places they fled from.

The other people who benefit are the chattering classes (CCs) – the upper middle classes that is. They benefit because immigrants tend to be willing to do low paying jobs and do them for less than non-migrants. This means that the chattering classes can afford things that they otherwise would not be able to. And of course the CCs also get to virtue signal like mad because they don’t see any of the downside.

The people that don’t benefit from migrants are everyone else in the destination country. This particularly applies to migrants who are either illegal or claim asylum on spurious grounds but to a certain degree it applies to all migrants even “skilled” ones unless these migrants are also already rich. Rich migrants probably make it worse for the CCs because they compete with the CCs for high quality housing and other goods/services etc. and that might explain why the CCs get worked up about Russian Billionaires and the criminal origins of their wealth but rather less worked up about petty thieves, rapists, and worse who immigrate and then ply their criminal trades in their new country.

So lets look at how the poorer sorts fail to benefit from migration, and particularly illegal migration.

First migrants compete directly with them for jobs and housing. They particularly compete with the poorest locals for government assisted housing. This raises the price of housing – which is typically between a quarter and a half of a poorer family’s budget – and in cases where the direct cost in not raised, it likely raises indirect costs because of the increased costs of commuting to jobs from more distant, but affordable, housing. The competition for jobs is obvious and is a key difference between the state of affairs in the early 21st century and the state of affairs in the mid to late 20th. In the latter the economies of developed nations were growing at annual rates of 5% or more which meant that there was more demand for workers than there was ready supply from native-born residents. In the 21st century developed economies are growing at far slower rates (2% is usually considered good) and a lot of the growth is via automation and other things that increase productivity without out increasing demand for labor. In particular real wage growth has stagnated for the last decade.

Secondly migrants compete for use of government services/benefits. In different ways every developed nation has a welfare state of some sort that provides aid to residents in need, healthcare to those that can’t afford it and so on. All these state provided services have limited budgets and those budgetary limitations apply both the the amount of money that can be spent helping and on the number of government workers (contractors etc.) that can be employed to provide the services. This means that schools have larger class-sizes and fewer amenities, hospitals have fewer resources to devote to “non-urgent” care and so on.

The evidence is mixed as to whether migrants – and particularly illegal ones – commit more crimes per capita or lead to an increase in the crime rate, but there is no doubt that they commit a number of crimes. Since the majority of those crimes will be committed in poorer areas (because richer ones have gated communities, private security etc.) this affects poor people more than rich ones (see MS13 link above). The evidence is mixed because, in large part, the research to try and figure it out has mostly failed to account for whether the basic statistics are accurate. I’m fairly sure that are not.

There is no doubt in my mind that official crimes statistics regarding immigrant related crimes are understated due to a number of factors. The first is the desire by law enforcement people to not appear racist, thus they will either ignore reports of criminal activity by immigrants (see the numerous UK Pakistani Gang Rape cases) or not indicate that the criminal is a migrant. The second is that, based on perceived official disinterest, victims will stop reporting the crimes – indeed they may feel that if they report the crime they will be investigated for “hate crimes” or “racisrm”. The third is that in cases of burglary, theft and other property crimes it may not be clear that the criminal is in fact a migrant until/unless he is arrested. A little searching on the internet will find examples of all three although there is little or no research that I can see that tries to determine to what extent these various reasons for under-reporting exist and to what extent they also apply to non-migrant crime.

Related to who is harmed, there’s the question of fairness. Humans hate hate hate it when they perceive things as unfair. This most definitely applies when it looks like people from “outside” are getting benefits that people the “inside” are not. This particularly applies to “outside” people who are scamming the system and not getting caught. Migrants get coddled, the feeling is, while natives in similar situations don’t get the same sympathy, understanding and assistance. The CCs – because they aren’t directly affected by migrants – don’t see migrants, and particularly illegal ones or ones pretending they have suffered political persecution, as a problem, but a lot of others do. I suspect this particularly applies to people who jumped through all the hoops to properly enter the country.

Based on all this it should not be a surprise that voters all over the developed world are getting increasingly fed up with their CC governments that want more migrants. The sympathy card has been/is being over-played by the CCs in the media and it is failing because when the media shows pictures of cute little children (say) being held in detention centers there are now enough people to explain that many of the “children” are teenagers and many seem to be older than their claimed ages.

In the USA, President Trump was elected in part because he wanted to stop illegal immigration. The current brouhaha about migrant “families” being split up is an attempt to garner sympathy and votes. Like I say I suspect it will backfire. [Sidenote: these days DNA tests to determine paternity etc. are cheap (<$200 according to this page that I found by picking the top search result), quick and only require a cheek swab to gather the sample. I wonder whether immigration authorities should not routinely check claimed relatives to check if they are true. Plus having that DNA data would also make it easy to check whether someone was denied entry before.] In Europe we have anti-migration political parties surging at the polls in almost every country. In Italy, Hungary and some others they are part of the government. In Germany they are the largest opposition party (and the governing coalition has the CSU in it which is not exactly keen on them either). And so on. The CCs moan about the fraying of democracy and the rise of nationalism and populism, but they seem to lack the awareness that in a democracy even the poor have the right to vote and they will vote for their interests. Frequently the only politicians who make any attempt to help these poorer sorts are the populists.

Perhaps if CCs paid attention to the actual needs of their own poorer citizens they wouldn’t see upsets as their preferred candidates lose to “populists”. Indeed it is quite possible that, eventually, the people who will lose the most to the current migration crisis are the current ruling elites. If so it will be utterly Schadenbonerlicious.