Them and Us

How immigrants and locals can thrive together

What do we really know about immigration?

The defining issue in the world right now is immigration. Keeping them out. Taking back control. Building that wall. It's the only thing politicians seem to agree on: immigration is a bad thing and that there should be less of it. The trouble is, that isn’t really true.

In fact, immigration is good for you. Not just for the urban elites in their luxury flats, but for everyone. Immigrants benefit us all in a number of ways. The latest research suggests that immigrants don't scrounge off the locals; instead they subsidise them. They take jobs locals don't want, and in doing so create more jobs. Newcomers are less likely to commit crimes than locals. Young immigrants care for our ageing population, they start new businesses and they breathe new life into old ones.

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.

On European Spring

‘A blueprint for a brighter future and how to achieve it’

– George Soros