Neither Open Nor Closed

With the recent attack on the Christmas Market in Berlin, there has been, not unreasonably, a lot of discussion about Angela Merkel’s open door policy to immigrants. As ever seems to be the case, irrationality rules as many people surge to the extreme of demanding a complete closure of the borders, while out-of-touch ‘liberals’ claim that shutting the borders to immigrants is either impossible or will prove an economic disaster and the terrorist threat be damned.

The simple fact is that Europe should neither be seeking to completely close its borders nor leaving them open to any and all to stroll through. There will always be those who genuinely need our shelter (especially from the disasters the West has helped create, such as the war in Syria and the mess that is much of sub-Saharan Africa), and those who have useful skills and a genuine desire to become part of European society should be welcome where host nations can provide them with homes and jobs. But, immigration and the reception of refugees needs to be carefully managed both to protect against the infiltration of terrorists and criminals and to ensure that host nations can cope with the influx in terms of jobs, housing and other infrastructure. People need to be properly vetted to ensure they are not a threat and numbers must be kept within sustainable levels: ironically, if Britain’s infrastructure were being properly managed and improved, the country would not only be able to cope with immigration, but would probably be creating jobs for them, in addition to native Britons.

Mismanaged immigration and a refugee policy that seems not to extend beyond ‘shove as many in as you can’ do little to benefit those who are genuinely in search of work or refuge, while stirring up hatred from those already living in the countries that suffer as a result of the mess the politicians are creating (which, naturally, gets aimed at the visible manifestation of the mess rather than those whose incompetence created it).

Careful management would benefit everyone. Staying with the current system or a lurch towards a complete bar on immigrants and refugees will do nobody any good.

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