Monday, 26 November 2018

the new colossus

In a rather disturbing policy pivot that codifies and brings to the fore the uglier sentiments harboured along with calls for “merit-based” immigration and which does indeed have the undertones of the “social credit” scheme under development but not yet implemented in China, the US Department of Homeland Security—which oversees migration and border controls—is proposing to make eligibility for citizenship contingent on credit-worthiness.
Never mind the perpetuation of the myth that immigrants overburden state welfare systems or what the potential rules change signals to aspiring asylum-seekers about American hospitality and magnanimity, the metrics that credit rating agencies provide are notoriously fraught with problems and heavily skewed and biased—for both individuals and on national levels and would set up serious impositions to people already struggling to establish a new life (much less a history of good credit) for themselves. It seems rather inhumane to assess and pass judgment based on flawed data but it is also emblematic of broader trends that reduce our sphere of determination to a set of demographics.