Economy and Security Eat Up Space of Democracy


It is long since the discussion on immigration has been considered a problem that mainly has to do with security, and not only in the US. 

In the current outline of the upcoming immigration overhaul this established method to address the problem is essentially confirmed , despite inadequate. Immigration is seen as subordinated to the necessity of having a secure border, and particular standards have been specified: but we have no clear ideas where they come from. Is the percentage of apprehensions and turn backs related to the present data of border crossing, or is this “effectiveness rate” only an abstract goal that has been established during some armchair disputations? The question is all the more urgent since this is for the moment the first principle of the “new” system, and one that can posit restraints on the application of the rest.


The second relevant aspect, that has been indicated as the most innovative tool to control immigration and adjust it to the needs of the country, is the eminence of economic calculations. The caps for H-1B visas and W visas will be directly connected to the high and low of unemployment rate and to the market demand. It was an old evidence that the flow of immigrants is related to the availability of jobs. But now this matter of fact is recognized, legitimized, strengthened, together with the repeated stressing of the DREAMER’s and STEM’s privileges.


The depoliticisation of politics is going on. As the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argues in his book After Virtue, and as many scholars of globalization as Comaroff and Comaroff confirm, true or pretended expertise is replacing ideals, ideology and moral in writing the political agenda. The representatives are more and more considered mere functionaries, and their attitude towards vital problems like immigration doesn’t change that much from a party to the other. It is a matter of technical direction. Beside protests and polls, immigration is almost never checked through official public scrutiny.


But with the benevolent, demagogic approval of the elites or not, the people will still have its part to play. The system that’s being employed will reactivate the contradiction between invitations to provisional workers and the desire for an almost complete border control. With many sudden accelerations, like the one that occurred under Reagan’s administration or the one that is occurring today, millions of migrants, after years of maltreatements and fear of deportations, will continue to be recognized as a part of the community, at least to some extent.

And in the long run, I hope, it will help not only to renew the openness of the US, but even to build the super-national integration between them, Mexico, and Canada that will in turn be part of the path toward a global, interconnected society.


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