Wealthy Qatar Rejects Refugees Caused by its Policies, Scolds Europe

Al-Jazeera, the international news agency (owned by Qatar, an absolute monarchy), posted an article titled: 'If these images don't change Europe, what will?' containing  images of drowned Syrian refugee children. It begins:

 Heart-rending pictures of a toddler's lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach sparked horror as the cost of Europe's burgeoning refugee crisis hit home.

The images of a child lying face down in the surf at one of Turkey's main tourist resorts has once more put a human face on the dangers faced by tens of thousands of desperate people who risk life and limb to seek a new life in Europe.

Effrontery on this scale can only be met with a loud, long 'fuck you and the horse you rode in on, al-Jazeera'.

Permit me to elaborate.

Al-Jazeera is "owned by the government of Qatar". Qatar is lavishly funding Sunni militants in Syria. Wikipedia notes that "The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated that Qatar had sent the most weapons to Syria, with over 70 weapons cargo flights into Turkey between April 2012 and March 2013." That aid is going to Sunni extremist militias, mainly the al-Nusra front, a Sunni militia responsible for suicide bombings and massacres:

The incident happened in the Druze village of Qalb Lawzeh in the Jabal al-Summaq region, a place where al-Nusra fighters have dug up historic graves and destroyed shrines in recent months, according to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It says Nusra first tried to confiscate the house of a Druze government official and shot one villager dead. Another villager then seized a fighter’s weapon and killed him. Nusra then sent reinforcements into the village and they opened fire.

Qatar wants al-Nusra to win the Syrian civil war outright and establish an Islamic state, although it would prefer them to be somewhat less bloodthirsty.

And what is Qatar -- which has sent billions to militias in the Syrian civil war -- doing to help with the refugee crisis its policies have helped create?

Well, it's certainly not opening its borders to them, that's for sure:

As the crisis brews over Syrian refugees trying to enter European countries, questions have been raised over why they are not heading to wealthy Gulf states closer to home.

Although those fleeing the Syrian crisis have for several years been crossing into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey in huge numbers, entering other Arab states - especially in the Gulf - is far less straightforward.

Officially, Syrians can apply for a tourist visa or work permit in order to enter a Gulf state.

But the process is costly, and there is a widespread perception that many Gulf states have unwritten restrictions in place that make it hard for Syrians to be granted a visa in practice.

...

Without a visa, Syrians are not currently allowed to enter Arab countries except for Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.

The relative wealth and proximity to Syria of the states has led many - in both social and as well as traditional media - to question whether these states have more of a duty than Europe towards Syrians suffering from over four years of conflict and the emergence of jihadist groups in the country.

Here's a cartoon recently published in Saudi Arabia:

_85329681_saudi_cartoon

So, does Qatar have the resources to host any of the hundreds of thousands of refugees it helped create? Funny you should ask. Qatar just happens to be literally the richest country in the world. It will spend over $200 billion to host the 2022 World Cup. It's currently employing tens of thousands of workers building those massive stadiums. But instead of offering those jobs to desperate Arab brethren, it's bringing in workers from half the world away.

So, the article with heart-rending photos appears in a news organization run by the richest country in the world. A country that is actively prolonging the Syrian civil war by delivering arms to religious extremists. And which has turned away the refugees fleeing the chaos it helped create.

This news organization is scolding Europe for failing to open its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees. Qatar, Earth's richest nation, thinks Europe is demonstrating moral cowardice and selfishness.

The mind boggles.


Watching Germany Get Real

For a long while, the discussion about migration into Germany was dominated by abstract principles, so beloved of German commentators: "Dignity", "Humanity", "Fairness", "Justice", "Compassion" and the like. It sounded like a theological seminar. These abstract notions, like Olympian Gods, demanded various concrete policies in the real-world, such as accommodating all migrants who make it to Germany, helping migrant boats across the Mediterranean, rejecting any distinction between refugees and economic migrants, etc. The absolute nature of these moral injunctions made trade-offs, constraints, and distinctions -- the Three Graces of real-world policy debates -- seem positively demonic.

What a difference a few hundred thousand people and some spectacularly acrid and volatile European summits make!

This latest interview with Manfred Schmidt, the head of Germany's federal Office for Migration and Refugees, allows us to see the discussion about mass migration in Germany rapidly becoming much, much more realistic. Among the proposals Schmidt puts forward:

  • Don't forget that all the Syrians who have so far been granted some form of residency in Germany (usually asylum), will be bringing about 200,000 family members with them in the next few years.
  • Immigrants from Africa can be divided into those fleeing genuine oppression in Somalia, Eritrea or Boko Haram parts of Nigeria and the rest, who are economic migrants.
  • Although some of these latter migrants may be needed in Germany, it's neither realistic or sensible to invite 'the entire workforce of Africa' to Germany.
  • As for economic migrants from the Balkans, we need to go further in reducing their numbers. We need to quickly process their asylum applications and once rejected, quickly deport them. This will work: after large numbers of Kosovars were deported, the number of new migrants has plummeted from 1600 to 60.
  • It may sound 'cruel' to prevent children of economic migrants from going to school while their hopeless asylum applications are denied, but it's even more cruel to dangle a false hope of permanent resettlement in front of their eyes.
  • Cash transfer payments to economic migrants from the West Balkans should be stopped entirely. Since all their necessities are already given to them for free in migrant hostels, the €140 per month each family member gets adds up to € 1600 if they are allowed to stay three months before deportation. This is enough for the entire family to live on in rural Albania (average monthly wage €200) for an entire year. So yes, some of these migrants are coming for the money, and that should be stopped.

About the only concession to abstract principles is Schmidt saying that there should be no upper limit on the number of refugees accepted. But in general, the discussion is rapidly taking on a much more pragmatic turn. Proposals that were denounced as Draconian and crypto-fascist a few weeks ago are now firmly in the mainstream. This is healthy, in my view. 

In one part of the interview, Schmidt notes that many migrants tell him want to make it to Germany because its economy is booming, and because it is a 'safe and orderly' society in which people 'actually stop at red lights'. 'Our reputation is better than we think', Schmidt says. Never underestimate how enormous an achievement an orderly society is.


What I'd Do To/With/For the Immigrants

So, I've been rather hard on Germany's immigration policies lately. But it's not sporting to criticize the authorities without suggesting a workable alternative -- no magic pixie dust. Here's a rough sketch of one, off the top of my head. Let me know what you think in comments.

First, the pragmatic (or, to skeptics, cynical) principles and/or real-world constraints on which the policy is based:

  1. Immigration policy should put the interests of that country's citizens first. Other interests come into play, but in any democratic country, the will of the people should rule, as long as it is consistent with basic human-rights principles. There is no human-rights principle that says a national of one country has a right to live abroad simply because he or she wishes to. Uncontrolled free migration has never been and will never be a human right.
  2. Every country has a tolerance limit on the number of people from foreign cultures which it can accommodate without negative consequences. The more remote the culture from which the immigrant comes, the bigger the potential for problems. 
  3. The only successful, permanent solutions to the problems behind current refugee flows must come from within the affected countries, through a process of reconciliation and economic development. Germany should support these processes, and does so right now, however imperfectly and inconsistently. Germany's policies under the Nazi era were repugnant, and Germany has historical responsibilities growing out of them. Allowing uncontrolled mass migration is not one of those responsibilities. The difficulties of foreign countries thousands of miles away cannot be solved by German immigration policy, and can be made worse, for instance by brain drain.
  4. Germany cannot fix the root causes of current migration. Germany has no influence on the civil war in Syria. None of the state parties who are supporting proxies in Iraq or Syria (Iran, Russia, Gulf Arab States, etc.) cares about Germany's opinion, or the opinion of the EU. Conditions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the West Balkans cannot be remedied by any German or EU policy short of military intervention, which should not and will not occur.
  5. Those who are permitted to resettle temporarily in Germany for humanitarian reasons should be selected, to the greatest extent possible, on the basis of greatest objective need and/or danger, as determined by current international human-rights law.

With those in mind, here's my 11-point sketched-on-a-cocktail-napkin plan:

  1. International bodies should drastically increase funding for refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other areas near war zones. Funding is beginning to dwindle, causing conditions in those camps to deteriorate. For humanitarian and practical reasons, this must be reversed. No matter how many refugees the EU accepts, as a practical matter, most refugees are going to stay in those camps, and conditions need to be improved there.
  2. The EU should build a high-tech fence around its external borders with non-EU nations. The 'dream' of a borderless Europe cannot survive a reality in which large disparities in the standard of living exist. And in fact it is now dead. Sooner or later, fences will be built and patrols increased. Better sooner than later. And when I talk about disparities in standard of living, I am talking about northwest Europe. No MENA migrant is saying to herself: 'If only I could get to Moldova, Albania, or Serbia!' They don't even want to get to Greece, Italy, or Spain. They all want to get to places that have relatively sophisticated and tolerant societies and strong economies. Eastern European states are on the frontline, but they are not the destination. Routine traffic and train checks within the Schengen borders should be increased based on algorithmic modeling of human-smuggling routes.
  3. The punishment for someone convicted of human smuggling will be a minimum of 5 years in prison, followed by deportation, if applicable. If serious injury occurs to migrants, minimum 7 years. If death, minimum 10 years. No exceptions, unless you testify against the other members of the smuggling ring. These harsh penalties should be used as bargaining chips against small fry to get them to inform on higher-ups. Surveillance, sting operations and undercover informants should be used liberally to infiltrate smuggler groups. If these sound like harshly repressive methods, that's because they are. Governments can and should use severe methods against harmful, dangerous exploitation. And these methods work: they decimated the American mafia, which was once thought to be invulnerable. I bet a lot of cops currently enforcing pointless marijuana laws would prefer to fight human smuggling.
  4. None of these measures will stop migration, of course, but they will reduce it substantially, and will gather data for better interdiction strategies. To have controlled, humane, rational, fair system of migration, there is no alternative to a strong, secure border. In the era of drones, satellites, and GPS, this is actually not an insurmountable problem. Where will the funding come from? Some will come from reduced numbers of migrants. Other funding will have to be found. But since there will be overwhelming support for this project in places like Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria, I suspect the funding will be found. If you go to Hungary and say: 'Here's €100 million -- now please take tens of thousands of new immigrants from Africa and the Middle East', Hungary will say -- and has said -- no way. Never. Over my dead body. Not in a million years. Hungary will not change its mind on its own, and there is no way to force it to change its policy. If you go to Hungary and say: 'The EU wants to give you €100 million to build a secure, reliable, modern border fence so that you can better control who enters your country', the response will be 'Yes, please!'
  5. All states within Europe, perhaps with the exception of Belarus, should be declared safe countries of origin. All migrants from Albania, Kosovo, etc. should be swiftly deported unless they can qualify for refugee status, meaning they fear for their lives because of war, or other grave threats specifically directed at them personally. Relative poverty does not justify refugee status. Nor do allegations of discrimination, unless they directly threaten life. The stupid code of blood revenge in Albania is definitely not Germany's problem, and not a reason to grant refugee status. The tiny fraction of rural Albanians still involved in this foolish and illegal practice should be encouraged to abandon it, as their fellow citizens already have.
  6. All migrants who arrive in any Western European country should be fingerprinted and have a DNA analysis performed and stored in a secure EU-wide database. They're already fingerprinted, of course, but DNA analysis is cheap and much more reliable.
  7. Germany should set up stations in refugee camps near the Syrian border and at embassies and consulates in other problem areas. Applications will be processed there, at the site. If refugee status is granted, the person will be granted an entry visa into Germany and permitted to travel normally. They will be met at the airport and taken to housing and set up with benefits. They will be permitted to stay as long as the situation in their country of origin justifies. Once the situation stabilizes, they will be returned to their home country. Refugee status was never meant to be permanent. If they have spent a long time in Germany and made a successful transition to German society, they may apply for residency status or citizenship.
  8. Migrants who arrive in Germany without refugee status will be housed in humane detention centers. Their movements will be monitored with ankle bracelets to ensure they do not disappear into the illegal underground. If they do any serious lawbreaking during the period of detention, they will be immediately deported -- no questions asked, no appeals. They will be given lawyers and permitted to make a case for refugee status or another argument for being granted residency. If that is denied, and their appeals fail, they will be deported within one month. They will also be warned that if they attempt to return, they will be imprisoned. If they go underground, they will be subject to immediate deportation upon discovery -- no questions asked, no appeals.
  9. In consultation with other EU member states, Germany will set an annual upper limit on the number of humanitarian migrants, including refugees, which it will harbor. I'd suggest something like 250,000 per year. A million refugees a year is not sustainable for Germany. Some of those will be allocated for urgent humanitarian cases, such as people with medical conditions that can't be treated in their country, or people who are faced with immediate, deadly threats because of severe, government-sponsored persecution or war. Grants of refugee or humanitarian status should be based on selection for greatest need/threat. They should be rationed out so that the yearly maximum is not exceeded. The willingness of other EU countries to accept refugees will surely increase once secure borders exist and they know that they will be expected only to accommodate a set number of refugees known in advance.
  10. This will mean that thousands of people who do qualify as refugees under international law will be rejected by Germany because Germany has hit its yearly limit. This is unfortunate, but the number of refugees that Germany can handle should and must be determined by Germany, not by the number of refugees out there. Germany will debate about how many refugees it should accept per year, and those who get the most votes for their number limit should win. Those refugees who are rejected by Germany should be encouraged to apply for refugee status in another country, with a notice that Germany found their claims justified, but has no room under the quota.
  11. As for non-humanitarian policy, German should institute a points system to attract immigrants who have shown a specific interest in migrating to Germany and have relevant job and language skills. There should be quotas to ensure that this immigration is spread out among numerous countries, to avoid (excessive) brain-drain effects. If you want to foster a harmonious and welcoming attitude toward immigrants, the best thing you can do is make sure most of the ones you let in are well-educated, employed and productive, bringing ideas and skills that will make them an immediate benefit to everyone, including members of the native population.

Georg Restle Has Magic Pixie Dust Solutions to Intractable Problems, but Won't Tell Us What They Are

Magic pixie dust

In this (unembeddable) video commentary (g) watched by millions on the nightly news, German journalist Georg Restle blames Germany for all the problems in the countries from which migrants are coming.

Let's look at his arguments.

First, instead of Germany 'trying to help Kosovo get a footing', it's supporting a 'corrupt regime that's driving people out of the country'. This is partially false, and partially silly. First, Germany, like many other nations, is trying to help Kosovo. Both bilaterally and as part of EU schemes, it's pouring billions (pdf) of dollars into Kosovo, and that effort is showing some slow progress. As for Germany supporting the corrupt regime in Kosovo, let's be realistic here. Kosovo's current government is the result of parliamentary elections held in 2014 under the close supervision of international agencies. The London School of Economics described them thus:

On Sunday, 8 June 2014 Kosovo went to the polls to elect a new government. Good news: the Serbian community has participated in a much higher number, and the elections were praised as relatively free and fair by local and international observers. Two days on, results are in and speculations on the formation of a new government can start. Kosovo electoral law makes it virtually impossible for a party to rule on their own – a coalition is needed. Who will team up?

What does Restle want? Should Kosovo be forced to dissolve its freely-elected Parliament? How, exactly? Or should Germany stop sending aid to Kosovo until that country stamps out corruption? Does Restle know that half of the aid flowing to Kosovo is actually intended to combat corruption? Does Restle know it has been somewhat effective, in that the 2014 elections were far superior to previous ones? How precisely does Restle think one nation, Germany, has the answer to political corruption by democratically-elected leaders of another country? Zauberhafter Feenstaub to the rescue!

Has Restle ever been outside of Germany? I have news for him: every country in that part of the world has problems with political corruption. So does, for example, India. Should German stop all development aid to India's 'highly corrupt' regime? How would that benefit Indians?

Second, he claims the current German government is supporting the Turkish government's policy in Syria, which is to 'deliver weapons to Islamist murder gangs.' Like a coy mistress, he doesn't even name these 'murder gangs', he just wants us to accept his characterization without question, like obedient subjects in a re-education seminar.

A few questions: How exactly is German supporting this (alleged) Turkish policy? What could Germany do to stop Turkey from acting in what it perceives to be its own national interests? Does Restle not understand that Turkey is a nation which elects its own leaders and makes its own policies? Is Restle aware that Turkey frequently does things of which Germany disapproves, and vice-versa? Does Restle know most Syrian refugees are fleeing ISIS? Is Restle suggesting that Turkey is supporting ISIS? 

The suggestion that there is one clear morally superior policy in the five-dimensional chess match that is the Syrian civil war is far beyond naïve. Which is probably why Restle never tells us what his preferred approach would be. Presumably it involves magic pixie dust.

Third, he claims the German foreign minister is currently negotiating a 'pact with the worst despots in Africa' in order to make sure none of the victims of these regimes can seek political asylum and that they are 'delivered helpless to their persecutors.' Funny, I don't remember Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's current foreign minister, promising any of these things. In any case, Restle the coy strumpet is back, flashing us just a bit of ankle. Restle refuses to name the country, ruler, or agreement he's talking about. In fact, he doesn't even name Steinmeier. So there is no way to verify the accuracy of these breathless accusations.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I wonder if so many flimsy arguments have ever been delivered in such a short time to so many Germans.


Open Borders Supporters Everywhere You Look: Katrin Göring-Eckhardt

There are millions of Germans who favor open borders, among them some of the most powerful people in the country. Case in point:

Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is one of the leading members of the German Green Party. It wins between 10-15% of the vote in national elections, which is a lot in a parliamentary system like Germany. Easily enough to make or break coalitions.  The Green Party has been in governing coalitions in many German states and was in the ruling coalition for all of Germany just recently.  She has said (g, my translation) "I really hope Chancellor Merkel decides to go to a refugee hostel sometime, listens to the stories the people tell, and then says: 'Yes, these are the new citizens of our country'."

She did not say "These are the migrants whom we will house humanely while their legal status is decided." Nor did she say: 'These are the refugees to whom we will provide temporary refuge to until conditions have improved in their home countries and they can return." Nor did she say: "These are the immigrants who may one day qualify for permanent residency status in Germany."

She said that Chancellor Merkel should expressly promise all the migrants she meets that they are already citizens of Germany, merely by virtue of arriving on its soil.

This is open borders, pure and simple. No country in modern history has ever implemented such a policy, for very good reasons.

I hope this settles the argument about whether 'open borders' is merely a straw-man argument. Real people with real power in Germany want it to happen, or at least claim they do.


Next Time The AK-47 Might Not Jam

Pixie dust

There are thousands of Islamic militants in Europe, but as the New York Times reports, no European country has the resources to monitor them:

The sheer number of militant suspects combined with a widening field of potential targets have presented European officials with what they concede is a nearly insurmountable surveillance task. The scale of the challenge, security experts fear, may leave the Continent entering a new climate of uncertainty, with added risk attached to seemingly mundane endeavors, like taking a train.

In fact, the authorities in at least two countries already knew quite a lot about Mr. Khazzani before he surged into notoriety on Friday afternoon: He was on a French list as a security threat, and Spanish officials told news media there that he had traveled to Syria — not in itself an offense, unless he went there for jihad. Had he been living in France, a tough new surveillance law, approved at the end of July by France’s constitutional council, would have likely turned up even more on him.

If your government can't even keep tabs on a known Islamic radical who went to Syria to fight, it's pretty much hopeless. And even if your government can, the suspect can just hop in a car or train and go to another country. The next attack is only a matter of time, and the death toll could be staggering.

It may be impossible to do much about the Islamists in Europe right now, but you might think that the events of recent months would lead Germany to reconsider a policy of importing hundreds of thousands more people from the most conflict-torn region in the world with no background checks. Three-quarters (g) of current asylum applicants arrive in Germany without papers, and some even claim they don't know which country they came from! (That's a tactic to hinder deportation). There are already anecdotal reports (g) of radical Islamists among the people in German migrant hostels. It would seem pretty urgent to follow up these reports, but the system is already so ridiculously overburdened that it won't happen. Besides, even if the authorities started an investigation, the targets could simply disappear into the undocumented underground, where 600,000 migrants already live.

Better hope the pixie dust works!


27.6% of Bulgarians Living in Germany are on Welfare

According to what I like to call the Magic Pixie Dust™ theory of mass immigration, Germany's booming economy is generating so many jobs that companies are searching desperately for qualified workers.* Therefore we should allow in large numbers of foreign migrants who are not refugees but simply looking for a better life. What could be simpler? Win-win! Anyone who disagrees must be a crytpo-fascist or worse.

So, let's see how this is working out. Since 2014 Bulgarians have been allowed to move to Germany and compete on an equal footing in the German job market. As it happens, I know a number of Bulgarians living in Germany who are hard-working, highly intelligent people with excellent language and job skills. But here's a surprising twist: it turns out that like all societies, Bulgaria has different social classes! According to this report (g) from the head of the Agency for Work, which administers welfare in Germany, 27.6% of the 203,000 Bulgarians in Germany are receiving subsistence welfare, and the proportion of unemployed Bulgarians is increasing.

Now that number doesn't paint the full picture, since some Bulgarians on welfare may have part-time employment, and not all Bulgarians are eligible for welfare. But still, this means a large number of recent Bulgarian immigrants are not finding jobs, even in booming Germany. The head of the agency lists the reasons: they have no language skills and left school before their education was complete. As anyone with access to Google knows, many of the people in this last category are Roma. He advises that local government will need lots of assistance in helping these people learn German, finish their educations, learn some kind of job skill, and fit into the job market. This is apparently Germany's responsibility. This assumes, of course, that the people currently receiving welfare actually want to do these things. I'm sure most of them do, but I'm equally sure many of them don't.

Which raises a few questions: Why should Germany spend millions of Euros providing social welfare, social services, and remedial education to citizens of another EU member state? Is the transfer of tens of thousands of unemployable welfare cases from one EU country to another what the framers of the EU had in mind when they created the policy of free movement? Is this state of affairs likely to increase trust in EU policy?

Continue reading "27.6% of Bulgarians Living in Germany are on Welfare" »


Anti-Gay Sentiment, ISIS Members, and Religious Lynch Mobs In Migrant Hostels

If there is one fundamental constant of human society, it's this: if a large number of diverse people migrates from one country to another, that group of people will bring its own customs and attitudes with it. This includes ethnic, personal, and religious rivalries. Import the people, import the conflicts. Often makes for interesting movies.

And now to the latest sobering dispatch from the slow-motion train wreck that is German immigration policy. Die Welt reports (g) that at an overcrowded migrant hostel in Suhl, in Thuringia, one migrant ripped pages from a Koran, apparently as a protest. He was immediately surrounded by a group of 50 other migrants who threatened to kill him. The police had to intervene and take the Koran-ripper into protective custody. 125 police were required to get the situation under control. 15 people were injured, 4 of them police. Six police cars were damaged, also many walls and windows, and the private security firm's office completely demolished:

Streit-in-Suhler-Fluechtlingsunterkunft

 

Local officials are now debating whether to house separate ethnic groups separately. In other news, gay migrants often face homophobic insults (g) in packed migrant hostels, and migrants are reporting that some of their fellow migrants have ties to ISIS.

Germany is expecting 800,000 migrants this year alone, and something like half-a-million have yet to arrive.


Open Borders Advocates Are Everywhere You Look

Tumblr_nn3x4nymfv1slixf5o1_1280
Some commenters here have accused me of setting up straw-men. Nobody except cray-cray black-bloc nutcases really advocates open borders. You're simply making up this silly argument to taint advocates of more liberal migration with the extremist brush.

The problem is all those dozens of commentaries and interviews in the German press outlets in which people explicitly advocate open borders.

Here's the latest in an endless succession of them: an interview (g) in the German magazine Stern (weekly circulation 700,000 copies (g)) with 'migration researcher' François Gemenne. For convenience's sake, I have bolded the parts of the interview in which Mr. Gemenne ... advocates open borders (my translation):

Nobody leaves their home country jut because Germany, for example, opens its borders. Nobody stays home because those borders are closed. Open or closed borders have no influence on whether people try to migrate or not.

...It's naive to think the situation can be solved by closed borders. The very idea that migration can be controlled or limited is absurd.

...So I say again: Open the Borders! This would essentially eliminate illegal migration. This would also be a significant step toward solving the problem of misery among migrants.

...We have not yet fully accepted that migration is a part of our reality and a fundamental right of every person. The right to go where living conditions are better. To try and prevent migration is like preventing the sun from rising: completely senseless.

I rest my case.

Gemenne's first point is something you hear a lot, and it's a howler. The same logic could be used to scrap laws against theft: 'Hey man, people are always going to steal, out of greed, need, or whatever. Putting locks on your doors and passing laws won't get rid of the problem.'

And yet every society has such laws, and you have locks on your doors and bicycles. Why? Because of a little thing called 'marginal deterrent effect'. Humans balance their desire to take other peoples' stuff against (1) how easy it is to take the stuff; and (2) not get punished. Add a few extra barriers to taking your stuff and you increase the amount of time needed to take it and therefore the chance of getting caught. You may not deter an experienced burglar who has targeted you, but you certainly will deter dozens of casual opportunistic thieves who will move on, looking for an easier target.

Case in point: Israel recently constructed a new fence on its border to Egypt to control illegal immigration from Africa. The results: "While 9,570 citizens of various African countries entered Israel illegally in the first half of 2012, only 34 did the same in the first six months of 2013, after construction of the main section of the barrier was completed."