by Sam Bowman
"I doubt this will change anybody’s mind, though, because anti-immigration types have a very annoying tendency to employ motte and bailey arguments about immigration: they make strong, testable claims that immigrants hurt the poor, are a drain on the state, etc, but when you show them that they’re wrong they retreat to woolly arguments about the social impact of immigration.
Those social impacts are very important too, but if those are what anti-immigration people care about, then they should stop making false claims about the economics! As it is I can only assume that they don’t care about the truth and see themselves as fighting a war where dirty tricks are acceptable.
Many also seem to conflate the social problems we have with, say, Eritrean refugees with the social costs of EU immigration. As Ed West reminds us, that’s silly. And although most people imagine that Eastern European immigrants dominate EU immigration, they actually account for less than half of EU immigrants in the UK; and around half of current inflows from the EU. Your social case against EU immigrants had better be as much about the harm caused by Spanish university graduates as by Polish builders.
As for the people saying that we simply need ‘control over our borders’ in principle, that would preclude us from ever signing any free movement treaty with any country, and tearing up the ones we have with Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in order to protect this principle."