What Happens When You Don't Accept Immigrants?

There are plenty of countries who choose to shut their borders down to immigrants and refugees alike but what harm does that do them?

Related on TestTube:
Do We Have The Right To Exclude Migrants?
Why Borders Are Crimes Against Geography

Each week on TestTubePlus, we pick one topic and cover it from multiple angles. This week's subject is immigration. Over the course of this series, we're going to dig super-deep into the idea of immigration and how it affects basically everything. So far, Trace has explored where the concept of citizenship came from, and what the difference between migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are. Today's episode focuses on what happens when countries are hostile towards immigrants, a problem that many Syrian refugees are facing around the world right now.

Immigration is a subject in the forefront of the news right now because of the crisis in Syria, but it's a subject of frequent controversy in world politics. For example, in October 2008, a North Korean was caught and detained as an "economic migrant" trying to emigrate into Russia, where border crossing is considered a serious crime. He was forced to serve six months in Russian prison before being deported back to North Korea where he probably faced even more prosecution. Italians passed a law in 2009 that penalizes illegal immigrants with a fine of around $12,000 and allows immigration officials to detain them for up to six months. In China, whistleblowers are incentivized to who report illegals to the government with a cash reward when their information "leads to an expulsion." The Iranian government has been forcibly deporting between 250,000 to 300,000 Afghans per year since 2007. Some of which were documented workers who've been living in the country for decades. In North America, Mexico tightened their immigration laws in 2008, and has been actively deporting mass numbers of Central American and Cuban refugees.

World-wide, these examples of anti-immigration laws imply that immigrants somehow cause harm, however, there aren't really any studies that definitively show any long-term negative effects of a country accepting immigrants. In the U.S. conservatives often accuse immigrants of "taking our jobs", when in reality they are an exploited source of cheap labor with little to no rights or workplace protections. Undocumented workers aren't eligible to receive government assistance in the form of welfare or food-stamps. If they do get a fake Social Security number, they just end up paying into a system for which they'll never be able to withdraw from. Undocumented immigrants paid and estimated $10.6 billion to state and local governments in 2010 according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). What options do immigrants have when seemingly more and more countries are clamping down on them? Trace explores the costs--and many common misconceptions--of immigration.

TestTube Plus is built for enthusiastic science fans seeking out comprehensive conversations on the geeky topics they love. Each week, host Trace Dominguez probes deep to unearth the details, latest developments, and opinions on big topics like porn, exercise, stereotypes, fear, terrorism, survival, black holes, dreams, space travel, and many more.

TestTube Plus is now available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

Learn More:

US immigration legislation online (library.uwb.edu/)
"This act helped those individuals who were victims of persecution by the Nazi government or who were fleeing persecution, and someone who could not go back to their country because of fear of persecution based on race, religion or political opinions. This act dealt directly with Germany, Austria, and Italy, the French sector of either Berlin or Vienna or the American or British Zone and a native of Czechoslovakia."

Citizenship (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
"A citizen is a member of a political community who enjoys the rights and assumes the duties of membership. This broad definition is discernible, with minor variations, in the works of contemporary authors as well as in the entry "citoyen" in Diderot's and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie."

Thomas Hobbes Biography (Biography.com)
"Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher in the 17th century, was best known for his book Leviathan (1651) and his political views on society."