Shares

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) got itself in some Twitter troubles over the past few days, when it sent out a video and tweet saying:

With 244 million people on the move, migration is inevitable, necessary, and desirable.

It is, of course, a somewhat curious statement to begin with. One could argue that movement of people is necessary for migration. But to call migration inevitable? For whom? And necessary? Again, for whom? Desirable? Once more, for whom?

Pretty soon after placing the tweet, IOM’s Twitter feed was inundated with exactly those kind of questions and remarks.

When confronted by a Tweet claiming that over 90% of immigrants in the Netherlands are on welfare benefits the reply is most curious. Whoever is behind the IOM account did not think it was necessary to actually read the information linked to. If they had, they would find the – official government – numbers only pertain to two groups of asylum seekers, not all immigrants in the Netherlands. Countering with that information would have been legitimate. Instead, the IOM invites critics to: “please get your facts here“, referring to a report by McKinsey.

The problem with the McKinsey report, however, is that even a cursory glance at the content of the report signals a strong focus on presenting immigration as something inherently positive. To that end, the report lumps different kinds of migration together and proceeds to discuss this meta-migration as the only kind of migration. What is even more problematic, is the political tone the McKinsey report takes on, by calling on policymakers to “change the narrative” (page 16, executive summary) about migration altogether.

Change the narrative by thinking of immigration as an opportunity to gain long-term dividends despite short-term challenges.

The presence of migrants—and of refugees in particular—has often been referred to as a burden or a responsibility for destination countries. But it is important to shift the narrative in a new direction: toward accepting migration as a given in a globalized world and focusing on how improved integration can yield bigger dividends.

To invite people to ‘get their facts’ from such a political report is, at best, rather dubious.

Furthermore, Dr. Jan van Beek deftly explains in a series of tweets why the McKinsey report’s conclusions are not true for Europe or the USA. He goes as far as calling the report “part of the propaganda narrative“.