A recent op-ed published in the New York Times by Paul Collier, a professor of economics and public policy at the Blavantnik School of Government at Oxford Universityin England, says that the migration of individuals from poorer countries can help the countries they came from if they return, but it hurts if they never return. Collier directs his op-ed at Facebook and FWD.us founder Mark Zuckerberg and his claim that America is losing out because of our immigration policy.
Collier refers to studies that show what sort of migration is beneficial both to the home country of the migrant and the country the migrant is going to.
The migration that research shows is unambiguously beneficial is the kind in which young people travel to democracies like America for higher education and then go home. Not only do these young people bring back valuable skills directly learned in the classroom; they bring back political and social attitudes that they have assimilated from their classmates. Their skills raise the productivity of the unskilled majority, and their attitudes accelerate democratization.
Collier says that research of migration during the 1950s has revelaed that migrants from poorer countries who studied in richer countries, and returned to their home countries has resulted in the Democratization of those home countries. Further, the research has shown that when migrants don't return to their home countries, there is a brain drain for the home country.
"[S]mall developing countries have high emigration rates, even if their economies are doing well: Ghana, for instance, has a rate of skilled emigration 12 times that of China. If, in addition, their economies are in trouble, they suffer an educational hemorrhage. The top rankings for skilled emigration are a roll call of the bottom billion. Haiti loses around 85 percent of its educated youth, a rate that is debilitating. Emigrants send money back, but it is palliative rather than transformative."
Collier concludes that the open door immigration policy that Mark Zuckerberg supports helps his company's bottom line, but hurts the countries that indivividuals would be leaving.
Read the full op-ed at NYTimes.com.
Updated: Mon, Oct 2nd 2017 @ 3:00pm EDT