Virginia, US

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace...

John Lennon, Imagine, 1971
In another blog I wrote on Why I Love Global Immigration, I expressed that one of the reasons I loved immigration was its politically charged nature.  I noted that no matter the country, immigration always seems to be a major issue in election campaign cycles and in party politics. Governments have a need to strike a balance between enacting immigration controls and attracting foreign investment and top talent into their economies.  It occurs to me that in this polarized world we live in, we often find ourselves painting the opposition into the extremes and this idea of “balance” is lost.
John Lennon’s idea of a world without borders where people are all people – not citizens of any country but rather citizens of the world – might be considered one extreme. Now imagine the opposite extreme. Imagine a world without any immigration, where borders are hard and fast and people do not move across them. All business and all work would be conducted internally regardless of resources available and everyone would stay put. Maybe some walls could be built, maybe some watch towers. This may not sound as poetic as John Lennon’s vision, but it’s a direction many would have us move toward.
All of us as individuals will usually fall somewhere on the spectrum of beliefs between these two extremes and yet when arguing with political opponents, we tend to posit that they have just espoused the most extreme version of immigration worldviews. The truth is that most of us, as will our governments, find that a balance of viewpoints is needed. Depending on our value system and our understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of immigration, we will find that balance differently. In truth, there are very few people who would ever suggest we end immigration entirely no more than there are people who would suggest we end it entirely by removing all our borders.
As a matter of personal disclosure, I am a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom. I was born and raised in the U.S. and emigrated to the U.K. over a decade ago. I find it both fascinating and horrifying at once that both countries are mired in debates over immigration, with both countries’ political parties moving further and further to the extremes. My hope is that as we move past this moment in history where extremes seem to be pushing us apart that we will all find a way to move back to the table with ideas in mind that can bring us together. We need practical solutions that address people’s understandable fears about high levels of immigration and demands on resources. We also need solutions that would acknowledge that people coming together and moving across borders have been a major factor in making the world’s economies stronger and more balanced. I believe we need leaders who won’t pander to fear but will help to educate and bring people to the table.
Somewhere between the world where there’s no countries and a world where border walls dot our landscape, there’s a place for a reasonable immigration policy that most of us can accept.