First World first

1

CRISPIN R. ARANDA

FIRST in, last out.

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It is not an accounting principle but a country’s rule in accepting or removing immigrants.

People move from the countryside to the cities for a variety of reasons, mostly economic: then as in-country opportunities dwindle, migrants seek other shores.

The four countries with permanent migration programs are the most popular destination for immigrants: the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in that order.

As of 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide stood at almost 244 million, or 3.3 percent of the world’s population, according to UN Population Division estimates.

Then in the last two years, migration opportunities have opened and closed, lately initially in the United States, more closed than open, fueled by a fear of mass migration: hordes of skilled migrants that take away jobs from citizens, the deluge of foreigners who do not share a country’s values, hungry migrants and competitor countries raping America.

Hence, hail Trump.

The American voters empowered Donald Trump to the White House and where before gray areas abound, now everything is either black or white.

As America goes, so does the world. And where the world’s spotlight goes, America has to be out front even as it means shoving a duly elected Prime Minister of Montenegro.

Indeed, Mr. Trump is putting the world on notice that his administration will put ‘America First.”

Trump may not like to emerge as second best (and technically a loser in the keep-immigrants-out mantra) but it was the UK that was first to act against large-scale migration and institutionalized an official program of reducing migration.

On July 24, 2016, approximately four months before the Electoral College allowed Trump to set up an autocratic presidency in the White House, Britain elected to leave the European Union: 51.9 percent voted in favor of leaving the European Union while 48.1 percent voted in favor of remaining.

The Leavers led by the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) with Nigel Farage promising on the campaign trail to stop immigration, hirie Britons first and buy British first. Sounds familiar?

Britain did not build a wall, but lifted the bridge to keep citizens of poorer European members out.

Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes but won the Electoral College race on the twin promise of putting America First with the shrill cry of building a wall, deporting “criminal and rapist immigrants” from Mexico and keeping them out by erecting a “beautiful” wall.

Then Kim Jung-un entered the fray.

Realizing that America cannot go it alone to control the North Korean’s trumper-tantrum, President Trump suddenly discovered that China is not a currency manipulator.

Unable to control the flow of leaks that the Trump campaign had contacted Russia for quid pro quo arrangements, and that the US cannot wrestle the Great Bear alone, NATO suddenly became relevant, not obsolete.

Knowing that his loyal base of supporters need assurance that Candidate Trump is still inside the presidential body, the Donald chastised European leaders in a G7 summit, berating them in public that NATO members have to pay up for defending the Union.

Across the Pacific, Oceania politicians saw the signs of how to keep their political base satisfied by using ‘hate of Islam’ as a front for xenophobia.

The banner of anti-immigration espoused by Australian Sen. Pauline Hanston of One Nation found support from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

On April 18, 2017, Turnbull announced an overhaul of the way skilled migrants can come into Australia, abolishing the 457 temporary work visas and the list of occupations eligible for temporary and permanent residency.

Hanson first came to the national spotlight in 1996 by warning that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians. After Hanson’s triumphant return to politics in 2016, the new enemies threatening to swamp Australia are now Muslims regardless of whether they are coming from Asia, Europe or the Middle East.

Trump, Turnbull and Hanson are united in their desire to keep immigrants out, even empowering supporters to taunt lawful residents to go back where they came from. The sweeping generalization applies even to children of immigrants who are citizens and have been productive members of society.

A day after Australia’s announcement, New Zealand’s immigration minister Michael Woodhouse declared the country off limits to migrants seeking jobs and residency saying, “The government has a Kiwis-first approach to immigration.”

After announcing an increase in the minimum points required to be invited to apply for permanent residency (from 140 to 160), New Zealand raised the income threshold to be classed as a skilled migrant to “nearly NZ$50,000 a year, classifying anyone earning NZ$73,000 and above as high-skilled and restricting work visas to low-skilled workers to three years, after which a mandatory stand-down period will be enforced before workers can re-apply.”

The Philippines is among the countries with the largest number of migrants to New Zealand.

The immigration pendulum in the First World has swung in the other direction as technology exposes the vulnerability of those without the new skill sets required to the ranks of unemployed, subsequently becoming brutally intolerant to newcomers, temporary or otherwise.

After Asians in general, Muslims in particular have been warned to get out and stay away.

Who’s next?

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1 Comment

  1. I find this opinion very alarming with many misconstrued details. I am a dual citizen of New Zealand and Philippines, permanently residing in Australia. The new immigration policy of Australia is almost a carbon copy of New Zealand when it was introduced in 2009, back when I was still an Immigration Officer. This policy has shown itself to stand the test of time in pursuit of the country’s best interest. Together with Philippines’ new BPO industry, is well designed to keep Filipinos in Philippines but with jobs as opposed to leaving the country to find jobs. Good sir, the issue is not black and white.

    USA, Canada, Australia and NZ are countries driven by immigration. You would be well to research the birth rate of a country needs to be a certain level if to keep up with economical development or otherwise rely on immigration to increase population so not to enter recession. So with all due respect, this opinion piece needs a bit more research and analysis before being spoken. If you care about Philippines, perhaps its better to discuss how best to ensure there are jobs (official not under the table) the population is willing and able to do, not by means of migration to foreign soil.