A year ago I blogged about the opportunity to create political parties made of immigrants joined by native citizens who felt that to them humanity was a stronger concept than nationalism. Well, it´s happening!

I am an entrepreneur, not a politician, but I guess that in politics, as in business, there are “empty niches” ready to be occupied and in that sense politics is like business. Immigration was one of them. To me leaving enormous masses of people without political participation while doing legal work for illegal pay was an unfairness that was bound to explode sooner or later. And it did. Citizens of the United States and Europe can´t continue seeing immigrants as people who take advantage of them when the reverse is mostly true. While it is the case that a few immigrants take advantage of the welfare systems of rich nations most contribute much more than what they take. As the May 1st walkout is proving, America would suffer very badly without the hispanic participation. And when all the other immigrants join in, Asians, Eastern Europeans, Africans, it will be time for mainstream political parties that something must be done to end the tremendous unfairness of people working every day who are treated as criminals. Spain declared a huge amnesty and increased its legal population by over 1% in a few months increasing its working pool and its tax base. That was a very good move. Personally I think that immigration should be open to all of those with working contracts but clearly with some tests. I would recommend a 3 year testing period during which immigrant status can be ended if the immigrant ends unemployed. But if a worker is able to sustain a job for 3 years they should be allowed to become permanent immigrants and in 2 more years nationals of the countries to which they immigrated. What Europe does, namely growing ever larger populations of citizens who can´t vote, is tremendously unfair, especially since in Europe even people who are born in a European country and live their all their lives are considered permanent immigrants. This is not sustainable nor fair. The current status quo is too unfair and what immigrants want is reasonable…and most will get it. The ultimate remedy to the immigrant problem however, will not be immigration but investment in education, political reform, family planning, and businesses in the countries that are exporters of people. Some immigration is positive, massive flight of economic refugees is not.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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techbee on May 2, 2006  · 

Count me in.

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Lutful Khan on May 2, 2006  · 

Many employers will exploit immigrants if there is a 3-year “test” period where they could lose their status just getting fired.

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Martín Varsavsky on May 3, 2006  · 

Less than today. In many European countries you can work for 10 years and lose your immigrant status if you are unemployed.


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Niels on May 3, 2006  · 

try “The Coming White Minority: California, Multiculturalism, and America’s Future” by Dale Maharidge or Mexifornia . a state of becoming by Victor Davis Hanson. Both are conservative biased books which try to describe the impact of todays immigration on their future society. To my knowledge there are no similiar books on Europe, where we still look at our immigrants to do cheap labour and raise the birth rate and not at the enrichment of our culture and economic impact. I agree with your previous comment that no contracts and illegal work result in more conflicts than in a legalized, timely limited environment.

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Olaf on May 3, 2006  · 

Martin, I agree with you: for most European countries (and probably also for the US) contribution of immigrants rather results in sustained wealth than in cost or increase of unemployment. 10 years ago, in Business School, we learned that Germany needs some ten thousands of new immigrants per year to fill in the gap that the decreasing birth rate creates. With regards to your idea of uniting immigrants and form a party, I doubt this will happen any time soon as I feel many immigrants have a tendency to discriminate against other immigrant groups rather than unite. Here in the US, immigration is the root of the whole society and it is very sad to say the least that immigration policy has suffered so much under “9/11”. Our office shares the space with the Asian American Arts Centre and there is an interesting exhibition here raising these issues (26 Bowery in NYC, if someone is interested). BTW, I am German, married to a Vietnamese, who’s born in the Czech Republic and we now live in NY, so I know a little bit about it, too.

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Dabis Camero on May 4, 2006  · 

I believe one of the fundamental problems of humanity is the concept of nationality. The concept of nationality vanishes when we (Human Beings – HBs) realize we always depend on each other and that we HBs are not inflatable. For example, if a natural tragedy happen to pass all around the world our concept of nationality will not help us or save us, the only effective thing on the evolved side is cooperation, understanding, and communication and on the primitive side, the survival instinct through violence.

Let’s work to make the evolved side more advanced, more efficient, more responsible so less of the primitive side may manifest.

– Dabis Camero

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cornelis heesbeen on May 5, 2006  · 


I fully agree that remedy to the immigrant problem need to be investment in education, political reform, and businesses in the countries but that is easy said if you are in a Western contry.
Did you ever thought how that has to be resolved in let’s the middle of Congo or Nigeria. Immigrants and refugees are losing 20% of the money they send home, worldbank and UN have made this one of the priorities to resolve before 2008.
If the Diaspora could send the extra 20% home they could develop a lot of business, education and bring these countries to the net. A little money and access to information will make huge diffrences in these countries.
I believe that micropayments should be moving around the world for free like emails. I have made this a social project of my company that we subsidize and deliver. If Politic allow and we combine some technology we can solve this in a short period.

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