Aurelia Segatti helps illuminate what, borrowing from Stanford University political scientist Stephen Krasner, may be called the "organised hypocrisy" of immigration or border control in the name of national security or national economic interest (Conflict over role of migrant labour in economy, June 26).
The "organised hypocrisy" is that the national border is not impenetrable and that migration is as old as humanity itself and is therefore unstoppable, let alone effectively manageable. Second, every country requires cheap and exploitable labour to perform its dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs, which is why some businesses will employ undocumented migrant labour.
While Segatti is right to dispel the xenophobic myth that migrants essentially represent a threat to national security, it is important to accept that the migrant transnational communities are an eclecticism of sought-after professionals, organised criminal syndicates and those in genuine need of humanitarian assistance. Therefore, national security agencies need to be alert, without victimising migrants.
Also, Segatti does not fully pre-empt two important queries that need explanation. First, Segatti does not help the readers understand why, for the past two decades, business and labour have been conspicuously silent on the immigration debate. Is this because business regards migrant labour as affordable labour? Could labour's silence be due to the fact that it does not draw its membership fees from the migrant labour pool? If the answer is yes, it means business and labour are not sufficiently "patriotic" to contribute to a fair labour market and a transparent and accountable labour regime in the country.
It also means that labour and business may be in dereliction of their duty not to contribute to the violation of the human rights.
Second, Segatti does not provide any evidence that migrant labour does have economic benefits. Evidence showing that migrants have a positive economic effect will go a long way towards addressing economic angst and anger directed at foreigners by poor, unemployed tuck-shop owners.
Migrant labour, skilled and unskilled, will remain a target of xenophobic derision and policy division in any country until the global economic system grows in an inclusive and egalitarian manner. Yet, because migration brings with it gain and drain, migration will continue to enrich the human experience and cultural interactions. Not everything is about the economy.
Bhobhoyi Ward 23