One week before Christmas marked the 15th anniversary of “International Migrants Day,” a United Nations invention commemorating the “courageous expression” of migrants and refugees around the world “who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.” UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, used the occasion to call for a “global compact on human mobility” while chastising the West by dedicating the day to the “millions [who] have been made into scapegoats and become the targets of xenophobic policies and alarmist rhetoric.” He no doubt had Donald Trump in mind whose plan to temporarily halt adherents to Islam from immigrating to the U.S., Mr. Ban said earlier in the month was an idea that “relied on hate.”
For Ban, and others among the globalist elite, it’s the West that holds the monopoly on “xenophobic policies.” While he condemns Western leaders for refusing to “share responsibilities” and open its doors to the million Syrian, Pakistani and Afghan refugees/economic migrants pushing past its borders, it’s crickets when it comes to the more geographically and culturally compatible Gulf states. Ditto for nations like Kuwait and Israel who’ve had similar ‘hateful’ Trumpian restrictions in place for years.
Then there’s South Korea, Ban’s homeland. During the Cold War in the fifties and sixties, while Ban was being groomed as a career-diplomat, South Korea was completely closed off to its regional neighbors, most notably from the north. Such a policy was based on a well-founded fear of letting in migrants and refugees with incompatible ideologies. In other words, South Korea was simply keeping things tight before, in Trump’s words, it could “figure out what the hell was going on.”
Little’s actually changed in South Korea. Between 1994 and 2003, the amount of “courageous” refugees allowed to settle in Ban’s land came to a grand total of fourteen. As for this year’s refugee crisis, with Ban lecturing the terrorism-centers of Europe to “show compassion” for the swarms of mostly young, Middle Eastern males arriving at their door, South Korea has taken in approximately zero.
With regards to South Korea’s general immigration system, it basically doesn’t have one, or at least one that’d come close to passing muster with moralistic, Western elite. Immigration to South Korea is based almost entirely on a racial test wherein immigrant visas and work permits are generally allowed for overseas Koreans only. While the amount of registered foreign residents isn’t tiny (around 2 percent of the population), one-third are ethnic Koreans from abroad and only they will ever have a realistic hope of naturalizing. Those born in the country do not receive Korean nationality unless one of their parents is Korean and only recently were foreign spouses of Koreans allowed to obtain dual nationality. This privilege’s conditional on marriage, however; if the woman (it’s mostly wives) chooses or is forced to divorce, they have to “go home.” What’s Western feminists’ and immigration “rights” activists’ reaction to all this? Silence. For a change.
Racial tests in immigration policy and descent-based citizenship is not uncommon around the world. Korea’s neighbour, Japan, also restricts immigration to its overseas co-ethnics, known as the Nikkei. Meanwhile, guest-worker visas in Japan are largely limited to foreign workers in the mizu shobai: the “entertainment industry.”
Like Korea, Japan responds to its naturally cresting population by emphasizing innovation, not immigration. Although Japan experienced labor shortages in the fifties and sixties (the country did lose almost 2.5 million people during the war), the government made the conscious choice not to import foreign labor. Instead, they automated, moved production abroad, and tapped other sources of domestic labor like women, students, the elderly, and rural residents. As the saying goes, “Japan got robots while America got Mexicans.”
This apparently paid off for Korea. While globalists, business conservatives and the libertarian establishment push unregulated unskilled immigration as somehow being a magic pill for economic growth, “closed-door” Korea’s shot out of the Third World-fringes to now command the 12th largest economy on the planet. In 1963, Korean GDP per capita was a mere hundred dollars. It’s now almost 30,000. Not a bad return. Tight borders are apparently a cosy investment. And that comes with a background of having almost zero natural resources and forty years of brutal Japanese occupation at the beginning of the century which was then capped off with a bloody civil war killing around 600,000.
Given the inefficiencies of grinding, day-to-day racial tensions, ethno-politics and a giant grievance industry, features inevitable in multiculturalist “nation”-states, Korea’s quaint choice to remain Korean likely explains a lot of its economic outperformance. Income disparities are close to half what they are in the U.S. and anyone who’s visited the country (which I have) finds a society that’s breathtakingly clean, orderly, and absolutely bereft of violent crime. In other words, the place is civilized.
The more stress placed on the American people through mass immigration, the more craven open-borders globalists from within and without seem to become. As compassion addicts, they’re not easily appeased. Only in today’s discourse, for instance, can a journalist in the same breath refer to “undocumented migrants” in the West and “illegal aliens” in the East.
Where the West receives “immigrants,” Westerners abroad will always be “expatriates.” While the world’s supposed to be shared between East and West, the immigration- and refugee-waves are expected to only go one way. When does the constant drum beat of the West’s “xenophobia”, orchestrated by people like Ban Ki-moon, start to sound like “Europhobia?”
In an essay about the history of Asian immigration policy, one migration scholar has observed that Japan “achieved something that many Western governments and much of public opinion would have wanted to have: keeping out unqualified labor [and] controlling and even reducing the number of informal migrants through strict controls at the borders and in the country…” South Korea achieved this. And Ban apparently approves. Perhaps he and Trump can come to that “global compact on human mobility” after all.