Friday, March 18, 2005

More Dutch Immigrants Unemployed

Another tart rejoinder to those European politicians who claim that immigration from non-Western nations provides new workers desperately needed by European economies comes from the Netherlands where the most recent statistics indicate that immigrants in general, and non-Western immigrants in particular, remain unemployed at several times the rate of native Dutch.

Unemployment among people with a non-western background increased to 16 percent in 2004. The unemployment rate in 2003 was over 14 percent. Nevertheless the unemployment growth rate among foreigners is now slowing down. Unemployment among the indigenous population grew from 4.2 percent in 2003 to 5.2 percent in 2004. Unemployment has not been this high since 1997. Unemployment among Moroccans in particular rose dramatically.

Moroccan immigrants pose a particular problem, according to the statistics.
In 2004 unemployment did not increase equally among the various non-western groups. Among Moroccans unemployment has more than doubled since 2001, whereas unemployment growth was far less substantial among all other non-western ethnic groups. Because unemployment among Moroccans is rising at such a fast rate, it was the highest figure in 2004, if all groups with a foreign background are taken into account
Recall that Mohammed Bouyeri, the Muslim who viciously murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street last fall for critizing Islamic treatment of women, was the son of Moroccan immigrants and held dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship even though he was raised and educated in Amsterdam.

Immigrants in the Netherlands are hardly alone in their plight; unemployment rates among native and immigrant populations remain high across most of Europe. This begs the question: why is Europe admitting so many non-Western immigrants when European economies cannot employ them?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Foreign Gang Terrorizes Americans at Home

Mara Salvatrucha - also known as MS-13 - is one of the most violent gangs in Central America, the cause of much crime and mayhem in Honduras and El Salvador. But thanks of the US's lax immigration enforcement, it has begun to spread to US cities as well, following the influx of so many Central Americans into the US.
[Hector Alfonso, a gang analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department] said his department began encountering MS-13 members in 2002. So far, the department has documented about 100 MS-13 members in Miami-Dade. He said members of smaller and loosely affiliated gangs from California such as Sur-13 have been seen in Miami-Dade but have been misidentified as MS-13 members.

All together, the U.S. Department of Justice estimated there might be as many as 10,000 confirmed MS-13 members throughout the country.

About two-dozen MS-13 gang members have been arrested in South Florida since last summer, including one man in Palm Beach County. Most of their alleged crimes locally have been assaults and robberies, police said.

Ed DeVelasco, a noted gang expert who first began monitoring MS-13 as a police officer in Los Angeles and now is a special agent supervisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said most members migrate to Florida as fugitives and are seeking jobs with relatives.

'They go where the population is. We can't say anymore that they're only from El Salvador or Honduras,' said DeVelasco. 'We've seen them from Cuba and Nicaragua. They blend in easy in South Florida because of the large mix of Hispanic population.'
Despite their presence, Mr. Alfonso believes that MS-13 has yet to lay down solid roots in Miami.
'This gang is in its infancy here,' said Hector Alfonso, a gang analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department. 'They haven't been able to establish themselves. Having a small gang in Miami, in a county of 3 million, that's not something to be too concerned about.'
But MS-13's reputation is such that the mere presence of its members should be cause for alarm. In its Central American homelands, MS-13 "has carried out beheadings and grenade attacks in Central America and is known to hack their enemies with machetes." For this reason, US federal law enforcement officials show more concern than Mr. Alfonso over the growing presence of MS-13 in the US.
They characterize the gang as an army of killers who have gone to war with political groups in Central America and other notorious gangs in California. Immigration authorities who have arrested more than 100 members of the gang over the past month have linked members to drugs, arms and alien smuggling, as well as prostitution, robberies and murders.
MS-13's infiltration of the US is not confined only to border states or even the South; gang members have been arrested on Long Island in New York.
Hempstead Village police arrested Julio Canas as a member of the MS-13 gang and for being in the country illegally. Eighteen months later, he remains in detention awaiting resolution of his case.

His experience could be a road map for the cases against 30 people arrested on Long Island as undocumented immigrants in the past week in a controversial crackdown on alleged members of MS-13.

Canas remains in holding at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Elizabeth, N.J., even after winning an asylum claim that argued he would be persecuted by Salvadoran government policies and death squads targeting gang members in his homeland.

His victory in May 2004 was appealed by federal prosecutors, and it has yet to be ruled on because there are no time limits for swamped immigration appeal courts.
If the US cannot deport a single illegal alien - not to mention one with ties to a hyper-violent street gang - after eighteen months of legal wrangling, what does that say about the US legal system? Leftwing immigration lawyers have rendered the formerly sensible policy of granting asylum to people facing death or torture in their native lands into a legal artifice for to prevent deportation of any illegal immigrant. The US needs to immediate re-write its asylum laws so that asylum claims would only be considered from a limited number of named countries, and that asylum judgments could only receive one appeal.

Police departments nationwide are trying to crack down on MS-13's spread by arresting those who manifest the gang's telltale insignia, which include holding copies of gang rules, drawings, writings, video or jewelry, wearing gang tattoos, markings or branding, wearing gang colors, or using gang hand signs or symbols.
'There are people who actually tell us that' they're gang members, said Det. Lt. James Rooney, commanding officer of Suffolk's Criminal Intelligence section.

Beyond that, police use combinations of a dozen indicators to figure out who's in a gang. The signs include wearing gang colors, having a gang-related tattoo and being photographed with known gang members at least four times.

These criteria became the investigative backbone in the arrests this week of 103 members of the notorious Salvadoran gang by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Los Angeles, Newark, Miami and Dallas. Thirty of those members resided on Long Island.
The time has come for local governments to begin billing the federal government for the costs associated with arresting, trying and incarcerating illegal aliens. Such attemps have been legally blocked in the past, but a concerted, organized effort by a large number of such municipalities would at least draw dramatic attention to the problem. Especially, if backed by an equally large effort by individual American citizens. So long as American citizens sit by passively and tolerate Washington's policy of inaction with regard to illegal immigration, millions more illegal immigrants and the crime they bring with them will continue to swamp American cities and towns.

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Glimpse of the De-populated Future

In Policy Review, Stanley Kurtz ponders the cultural impact of declining birth rates in the industrialized world. Kurtz observes that the American birth rate has fallen from an average to eight births per woman during the Colonial period to just under 2.1 births per woman today, slightly below replacement level. But the US isn't unique; throughout Europe, birth rates have plummeted far below replacement levels. Unmentioned by Kurtz, Russia, devastated by seven decades of communism, shows the sharpest demographic decline, and will likely experience the Western world's fate well before the West does. Even in the "developing world" the birth rate has fallen from six births per woman in 1970 to just 2.7 today. Still, the developing world will continue to replace its population for some time, whilst the industrialized countries - Europe, the US, Japan, Canada and Australia, will see their populations decline significantly. This global trend, coupled with the life extending technologies of modern medicine, means that over the next few decades, the West will experience a demographic scenario unprecedented in human history - a time when the numbers of the elderly will vastly exceed the numbers of the young. The nature of this change is sufficiently dramatic to raise serious questions.
Can societies that old sustain themselves? That is the question inviting speculation. With fertility falling swiftly in the developing nations, immigration will not be able to ameliorate certain implications of a rapidly aging West. Even in the short or medium term, the aging imbalance cannot be rectified except through a level of immigration far above what Western countries would find politically acceptable. Alarmed by the problems of immigration and assimilation, even famously tolerant Holland has begun to turn away immigrants en masse — and this before the recent murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, which has subsequently forced the questions of immigration and demography to the center of the Dutch political stage.

In short, the West is beginning to experience significant demographic changes, with substantial cultural consequences. Historically, the aged have made up only a small portion of society, and the rearing of children has been the chief concern. Now children will become a small minority, and society’s central problem will be caring for the elderly. Yet even this assumes that societies consisting of elderly citizens at levels of 20, 30, even 40 or more percent can sustain themselves at all. That is not obvious.

Population decline is also set to ramify geometrically. As population falls, the pool of potential mothers in each succeeding generation shrinks. So even if, well into the process, there comes a generation of women with a higher fertility rate than their mothers’, the momentum of population decline could still be locked in. Population decline may also be cemented into place by economics. To support the ever-growing numbers of elderly, governments may raise taxes on younger workers. That would make children even less affordable than they are today, decreasing the size of future generations still further.
Kurtz ponders the usual explanations offered for the fall in birth rates - rising educational and economic opportunities for women, the economics of urbanized, industrial societies, birth control technology - and wyrly observes: "And what demographic decline truly shows is that when childbearing has become a matter of sheer choice, it has become less frequent."

The consequence of the shift from young to old may cause the economic collapse of European welfare states and the US entitlement system (Social Security, Medicare). As the numbers of young workers dwindle, taxes will have to be raised or benefits cut to keep the systems going. Eventually, however, the number of elderly beneficiaries will so dwarf the number of workers that no amount of taxation will be able to keep the systems afloat.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the combined cost of Medicare and Medicaid alone will consume a larger share of the nation’s income in 2050 than the entire federal budget does today. By 2050, the combined cost of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt will rise to 47 percent of gross domestic product — more than double the level of expected federal revenues at the time. Without reform, all federal spending would eventually go to seniors. Obviously, the system will correct before we reach that point. But how?
Since the elderly vote more consistently than they young, it is unlikely that significant benefit cuts will ever be approved. As taxes rise precipitiously, economic activity will decline, accelerating the economic collapse. Beseiged by economic calamity, the West might turn to technology for a solution - a possibility, Kurtz notes, that has increasingly worried many conservative thinkers like Francis Fukayama.
That is a grave concern, yet there may still be others. The disruptive effects of biotechnology will play out in a depopulating world — perhaps a world shadowed by economic and cultural crisis. So the immediate challenge of biotechnology to human history is the prospect that the family might be replaced by a bioengineered breeding system. Artificial wombs, not the production of supermen, may soon be the foremost social challenge posed by advancing science. Certainly, there is a danger that genetic engineering may someday lead to class distinctions. But the pressure on the bioengineers of the future will be to generate population. If and when the prospect of building “better” human beings becomes real, it will play out in the context of a world under radical population pressure. That population crunch will likely shape the new genetics at every turn.
Feminists, unwilling to abandon the work place or contraception, might readily embrace such technologies, Kurtz speculates.
Thus, if faced with an ultimate choice between feminist hopes of workplace equality with men and society’s simultaneous need for more children, it is not hard to imagine that some on the cultural left would opt for technological outsourcing — surrogacy in various forms — as a way out. To some extent, this phenomenon has already begun: Consider the small but growing numbers of older, usually career women who choose and pay younger women to carry babies for them. As with Sanger and Firestone, eugenics may be seen by some as the “logical” alternative to pressure to restore the traditional family.

Christine Rosen, who has usefully thought through the prospects and implications of “ectogenesis,” suggests that objections to the human exploitation inherent in surrogacy could actually propel a shift toward artificial wombs. Of course, that would only complete the commodification of childbirth itself — weakening if not eliminating the parent-child bond. And if artificial wombs one day become “safer” than human gestation, insurers might begin to insist on our not giving birth the old-fashioned way.
Contrary to Kurtz, an articifical womb - should one be successfully developed - would not require the pressure of economic depression or even radical depopulation to become an attractive and popular alternative to natural means. Were such a device to become available tomorrow, many women - particularly older career-driven women now facing the strictures of the biological clock - would likely jump at the chance to use it now. As genetic engineering technology advances, and the options for embryonic manipulation proliferate, artificial wombs might eventually be seen as superior means of bringing children to term than the natural method.