Discuss the “best and worst timing” of immigration

“No one can leave alive.” Because the Italian authorities strictly guarded the port and injured many African immigrants in the sea, the school bus driver of a school in Milan held 51 students in the car as hostages, and after the police arrived, they poured gasoline and set fire to the car.

After the police took the risk and stopped all the students, the driver shouted to the police: “Prevent the death at sea, otherwise I will carry out the massacre.” According to the investigation, the driver of the crime was an Italian citizen of Senegal and had a criminal record.

This matter is only 5 days later than the New Zealand terrorist attack. On March 15th, an Australian white citizen shot and killed a crowd in the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people and shocking the world. According to the murderer’s self-report, it is intended to prove that “there is no place to be safe, and immigrants have invaded the territory of all white people all over the world”.

The root cause of the two security incidents is the issue of immigration. According to United Nations estimates, there were 68.5 million people who were forced to leave their hometowns to make a living elsewhere in 2018. Of these, 25.4 million people went to other countries, and about 3.1 million of them were identified as refugees. Most of them went to developed countries, mainly Europe.

Although in the long run, immigration is not only an inevitable phenomenon in human society, but also promotes the economy of immigration into the region. However, in the short term, the influx of large numbers of immigrants, especially refugees, poses great challenges to the public resources and social order of the immigrant areas. A deeper level is the bringing about cultural and religious conflicts.

The international community certainly wants to solve this problem. The Global Compact on Immigration adopted by the UN General Assembly at the end of 2018 is an example. Its full name is the Global Compact for Safe, Ordered and Normal Immigration. It has been formulated and discussed several times since September 2016. Until July 2018, except for the United States, 192 Member States of the United Nations agreed on the final text.

This contract is not binding and clearly stipulates that its effectiveness is lower than that of national laws. Even so, the debate about this contract is fierce. The United States, Israel, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland voted against it, and Austria, Australia, Italy and other countries that opposed the contract voted abstained. Belgium broke out of anti-government demonstrations because of the government’s support for the agreement. Prime Minister Michelle was forced to announce his resignation, but the king retained him as the caretaker’s prime minister until after the May 2019 election.

Why can a non-binding international contract also cause such a strong rebound? On the one hand, many countries believe that even if they are not binding, they will become a guide after signing the contract, and it is more likely to become a convention over time. For example, the New Zealand Office of Legal Affairs believes that the court can refer to this contract when deciding a case concerning immigration issues.

On the other hand, the issue of immigration has become an important political issue in Western countries today. For example, the US Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, the majority of the US population will be composed of ethnic minority populations. According to Pew’s survey, 46% of whites worry that this will weaken American culture.

Therefore, some people think that it is the best time and the worst time to discuss the adoption of the Global Compact on Immigration. The best time means that the immigration problem is outstanding and attracts enough attention. The worst time means that because the problem is outstanding, the rebound is fierce and the opposition is loud.

Originally, under the stimulus of immigrants, populism has risen rapidly, and the slogan “XX priority” and “sovereignty supreme” is very tempting. Nowadays, various security incidents are frequent, and even more fuel is on the fire. “White supremacism” is rising in the West. I am afraid it will not be a short-term phenomenon. Governments need to take it seriously.