This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Argentina Wants to Keep Out Immigrants and Maybe Even Build a Wall

So, the xenophobic populism spreads...this time to Argentina, where the NYTimes reports that President Mauricio Macri has issued a decree to curb immigration, especially from poorer countries in Latin America. The argument is that they bring crime and so must be kept out. Hmm, we've heard that recently and this seems to be no coincidence.
Argentina’s president, the son of an immigrant [from Italy], has echoed some of Mr. Trump’s “America First” theme, making it clear that his “first concern” should be “caring for Argentines, caring for ourselves.”
“We cannot continue to allow criminals to keep choosing Argentina as a place to commit offenses,” Mr. Macri said during a news conference.
His decree has also rekindled criticism of his ties to the American president, whom he calls a friend. In the 1980s, Mr. Macri worked with his father, an Italian immigrant and industrial magnate, on a real estate project in New York that the family ended up selling to Mr. Trump.
And, not unlike in the U.S., despite the fact that Argentina as we know it (i.e., setting aside the indigenous population) is a nation of immigrants, there appears to be popular support for this idea:
But opinion polls in Argentina showed widespread support for limiting immigration, and some say the new decree does not go far enough. One right-wing congressman is even calling for a wall to be built on the border with Bolivia.
The article notes the inconsistencies that Macri apparently was a supporter of Hillary Clinton and has said no to the idea of a wall to keep out Bolivians. And it offers up the (probably correct) idea that this is all a smokescreen to take people's attention away from the many other issues that face Argentina. Having scapegoats is a time-honored tradition in human society, as The Onion recently reminded us. But that doesn't mean it's a good thing.

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