The Legionnaire’s Perspective on Immigration: Part Two

As I mentioned in Part One, I believe that immigration policy in the West throws any sense of prudence, pragmatism, and self-preservation out of the window. We throw open our borders with no real idea of what we are doing and why we are doing it, driven on by vague ideas of “human rights” and “equality” and “freedom”.

It goes without saying I am skeptical of these actions, so I am interested in hypothesizing as to wiser means of facilitating immigration. Part of this is pragmatic in nature, for immigration is a reality that must be dealt with, being a constant in human history. Part of this also derives from the fact that while I frequently run across Reactionaries voicing opposition to immigration, I rarely see anyone put forth more sensible solutions (other than “close the borders”, a position I tend to agree with but I think lacks nuance). Finally, it must be said that part of this stems from how I consider the matter to be a fun intellectual exercise. It is most whimsical to muse on these things!

How much immigration does a society need? None. A healthy society should not need to bring in foreigners in order to accomplish basic functions. Yet, a healthy society with some idea of what to do with foreign immigrants will also be able to accommodate them and benefit from their labor and capabilities. Immigration can be a boon if done in the right way, drawing in the right people in the right numbers (consider the contributions of German scientists to the Manhattan Project and the Space Race).

So should countries open up their borders? It depends. States with more ethno-nationalist leanings (like Israel in a de facto sense or Japan in a more de jure one) would ideally keep the percentage of foreign immigrants at 0%. Still, immigration happens, and it might be more realistic to keep the number of immigrants at 2-3% maximum. States with the flexibility to be more cosmopolitan in nature can probably accommodate immigrant populations of perhaps 5-10% with no (or minimal) ill effects. Beyond that, you run the risk of becoming “multicultural”, complete with all the delights that such a status entails

This is not a certainty though, and history has demonstrated exceptions (The US has historically been incredibly open to foreign immigration, though the argument can be made that it was more beneficial in the past than it is now). Still, multiculturalism is contingent on integrating foreigners into ones culture, creating distinct pockets of culture within a larger cultural framework.  This is not a good thing, however. What some call a patchwork nation is often better understood as a patchwork of nations, tiny and insular thedes thrown together under a common governing body. A hundred flowers bloom indeed, and the rifts among them offer ample space for weeds to take root.

No, integration is not sufficient to ensure the stability of your country. Immigrants must not be integrated, they must be assimilated. Yet, this is often a difficult process. People have a tendency to be opposed to cutting ties with their birth country and removing from themselves the culture in which they were born and raised and which forms a significant portion of their identity. This is by no means a bad thing, indeed it is right and proper, but it is also something that must be dealt with if you plan on letting immigrants in.

So how to make assimilation easier? For one, don’t fight an uphill battle. You should already only be letting in people of high intelligence possessing tangible skills, but these should not be the only qualifications for a green card. You also need to be screening for people who will be easily assimilated into your society.

This can and will entail a lot of different things, depend on the particulars and cultural norms of your society. There are a few underlying principles that can be followed, though. Only let in people who would be willing to be assimilated. Making them give up loyalty to their former country and culture will be far easier if they are willing to work at giving up their former national and cultural loyalties. This one’s another no-brainer.

Intelligence and tangible skills is another factor I keep hammering home, so I trust you realize it’s another key factor here. I would also like to add to this category though, sufficient skill in your native language. Language is a key marker (perhaps the biggest marker) of ingroup-outgroup distinctions. If you want to be part of the ingroup, you have to speak the language of the ingroup. I would demand fluency from any potential immigrants (with possible exceptions allowed for speakers of intermediate proficiency if they possess other desirable attributes and demonstrate a capacity to quickly learn the rest of the language).

Cultural similarity is also an important factor to consider. An Englishman will have an easier time assimilating into American culture than a German, who will have an easier time assimilating than a Japanese person, who will have an easier time assimilating than a !Kung tribesman. This isn’t to say you should only bring in people from similar cultures (though that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea), but it is something that needs to be screened for and assessed when deciding who to let into your county.

One of the most important things I can recommend if you wish to effectively assimilate immigrants is to have a strong, unified culture into which to assimilate them. Admittedly, there is only so much official policy can do to dictate cultural norms, but one could take steps like declaring an official national language. You’re also going to want to punish all deviations from the norm above a certain degree (I put forth this caveat because healthy societies benefit from allowing room for innovation and creative destruction, but you still don’t want your society deciding it wants to innovate into existence ideologies like feminism). I would suggest allowing The Natural Aristocracy a high degree of freedom, and mostly withholding it from those with less capacity to handle it (though I would hope that your society is only taking in immigrants of such capabilities as to be deemed “Aristocratic”).

So, once these immigrants are here, how is one to mold them into productive and loyal citizens? As it turns out, I am not the only one with an opinion on such matters. PUMPsix read my last immigration post and ran with the idea, laying out a few ideas he had. Here’s what he had to say:

“I would start with breaking all the immigrant’s ties to their homeland: Immigrants would have their duel citizenships revoked, they would be banned from sending money back home, and will be prohibited from establishing micro-cultures within the parent nation. Such methods will be unpopular, but necessary. Once immigrants have their ties to the homeland broken, they can then be moulded into ideal, productive citizens.”

He and I are on the same page here, but though we agree on underlying principles, there are a few points of departure I take.

I actually hadn’t thought about the dual-citizenship issue. Now that it’s been brought to my attention though, I must admit that I am less strict on the matter than PUMPsix. I would allow occasional exceptions for countries with very similar cultural and racial ties, and allow immigrants from said countries to hold dual-citizenship. If I was implementing this policy in the US, for example, I would allow for dual-citizenship with Canada and the UK, as well as perhaps a small handful of other European countries (this would be contingent on tangential factors like diplomatic relations and economic ties).

I would also allow immigrants to send small (emphasis on small) amounts of money back to family in their original countries. However, I would allow for temporal gradations in this limit. In other words, while first and second generation immigrants would be allowed a small stipend, third generation immigrants would be allowed a little more, and this would continue up until fifth or sixth generation, at which point integration would hopefully be sufficient as to ensure no loyalties and ties remain with the country of origin.

In fact, I would say this system of conditional, delayed benefits would be the major theme of my immigration policy. I say conditional because they would not be guaranteed. Immigrants would officially be second-class citizens up until fourth, fifth, or even sixth generation, at which point they would be allowed to apply for full citizenship.

So what would distinguish first-class citizens from second-class citizens? Access to public goods, mostly. If my country allowed for some form of elections, I would allow second-class citizens to be allowed to vote in local elections (though nothing of a higher level). There would also be strict limits on how much public welfare one would be allowed access to, if this is a society in which there is some form of social safety net (none for first or second generation immigrants, minor access for third-generation, a little more for fourth…etc).

This would be contingent on good behavior. Commit a crime? Not only would you be punished, but your family would also be forced to go another generation before being allowed to apply to full citizenship. If you want to live in my country, not only must you follow my laws, you must also (were I designing an entire system of laws, I would include various degrees of punishment based on different offenses, but since I am merely outlining a basic framework, I will not differentiate here between offenses like underage drinking as opposed to armed robbery).

I would allow for certain factors to expedite the nationalization process. Just as bad behavior must be punished, good behavior must be rewarded. Factors like local intermarriage have a tendency to expedite the cultural assimilation process and would have to be taken into account, and dedicated work in the public sector would also be weighed. These would not be the only factors considered, but they are the ones most germane to the discussion here.

My rationale behind the mechanisms I propose is mostly derived from my belief that citizenship ought to be defined by more than just a passport and that cultural investment and self-identity are more crucial factors in defining citizenship. They need to be stripped of their former loyalties and identities so that they may be molded into your citizens. You see this same principle at work in Marine Corps boot camp or the fraternity pledging process (the excesses that can occur in the latter when this principle is neglected in order to pursue outright sadism do not invalidate the importance of this process).

However, I would also hope that this system would (to at least some degree) incentivize low time-preference, disincentivize those hoping for a free-ride, and punish those who would erode societal stability, as well as filtering out all but the most dedicated to being assimilated and joining your nation.

So that’s it then? This comprises the whole of my immigration policy? Somewhat. There are a few other nuances I think merit discussion, and there are a few other non-policy aspects of immigration I think are also worth touching on. Looks like our migration through the troubles of immigration is set to continue!


UPDATE: Vox Day has a note on migration between US states that is somewhat relevant to the discussion here.


(Part Three Here)


3 thoughts on “The Legionnaire’s Perspective on Immigration: Part Two

  1. Wald 03/01/2014 / 7:33 PM

    I think you may have a third post on immigration in you yet; I look forward to it.

    I’m absorbing your ideas into the amalgam that is the ideas of how I’d create my country.


    • Legionnaire 03/01/2014 / 8:02 PM

      The plan right now is two more posts on the topic, but this is of course subject to change as I see fit.

  2. pumpsix 03/03/2014 / 10:07 AM

    I like the idea that it will take multiple generations to be granted full citizenship. I would, however, add that enlisting in the military will either: (a) grant you full citizenship upon honourable discharge; or (b), enable your children to become citizens.

    I would also scrap high-school and create a ‘citizens corps’ program, which would consist of teaching students a trade and volunteer work.

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