Immigration is one of the most controversial issues these days. Keeping them out. Taking back control. Building that wall. Whether the debate centres on economics or identity, it is often framed as ‘Them’ (bad immigrants) against ‘Us’ (good locals). But immigrants aren’t a burden or a threat – and if we make the right choices we all can thrive together.
Drawing on first-hand reporting, compelling stories and the latest research and evidence from around the world, Philippe Legrain explains how immigration benefits us all in many ways. Immigrants start new businesses, bring different skills and help spark valuable new ideas. They help save lives – including Boris Johnson’s. As key workers, they keep coronavirus-stricken societies going, while young newcomers care – and help pay – for our ageing population.
For sure, learning to live together can be tough. The book also addresses tricky issues such as ‘illegal’ immigration, what immigration entails for national identity, what newcomers need to do to fit in, and how societies ought to adapt. And it suggests new ideas for how to persuade moderate sceptics about the merits of immigration.
If patriotism means wanting the best for your country, we should be welcoming immigrants with open arms. It is time to close the gap between myth and reality – and, in the process, close the gap between ‘Them’ and ‘Us’.
The beauty of diversity is that innovation often comes about by serendipity. One day in 1904, at the World Fair in St Louis, the ice cream vendor ran out of cups. Ernest Hami, a Syrian waffle vendor in the booth next door, rolled up some waffles to make cones – and the rest is history. Just as waffles and ice cream combine to create something new and better, so do diverse populations.