Three recommendations. First, for those of you with a casual interest in the topic, there is a very brief review paper by Joseph Ferrie (Northwestern) and Timothy Hatton (Essex) on the last two centuries of international migration. (The paper actually covers the last four centuries, although it moves quickly over the 17th and 18th centuries.)
Second, Paul Collier’s new book, Exodus. It is a very well-written and thought-provoking brief in favor of immigration restrictions. If you click the link, it will take you to multiple reviews of the book. Most of the negative ones are tendentious and a little strange. This fellow here argues that countries should abandon all income redistribution in order to facilitate open borders. In that, he concedes Collier’s main argument, which is precisely that unlimited immigration could destroy the national sentiments that underpin liberal democracies. (Collier has a fascinating discussion of the theoretical circumstances under which this might happen; it is not a blanket argument. A blanket argument would obviously be stupid.) Nathan Smith at Open Borders starts by conceding Collier’s main point and calling for countries to impose special taxes on migrants instead of preventing their entry. (As an American, I recoil at that idea: differential taxation based on birthplace is contrary to the 14th Amendment. It is an odd suggestion for a proponent of open borders.) He follows up by saying that democracy is bad as part of an attack on Why Nations Fail, by Jim Robinson and Daron Acemoglu.To be fair, I am not sure that he realizes that he is arguing that democracy is bad. (I should mention that Jim Robinson is a friend.) Kenan Malik argues against a caricature of the book. One of the best parts about Exodus is how Collier lays down the conditions under which a diaspora will grow indefinitely and those under which it will not. Malik, however, writes, “A key argument in Exodus is that the levels both of migration and of problems created by it are linked to the size of diasporas.” Well, sometimes! But not always. I was left unclear what troubled Malik, other than that Collier is wrong about Great Britain. (Not being British, I can’t say, although Collier explicitly gives large shout-outs to the U.S. and Canada for our ability to assimilate immigrants.)
Finally, here is an incredible bit of investigative reporting into a Nigerian human trafficking ring. It is horrifying ... and quite amazing how the reporters made their escape.