Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Figh Dar Visa OK?

Oh, goody, it's time for a "debate" about immigration policy. Which in my hands will turn into an ill-formed and incoherent rant against the civil servants responsible for enforcing it. Or, more accurately, the use of some isolated instances of poor behaviour in support of a much more lofty thesis.

I read this column by noted public intellectual and green card holder Fareed Zakaria with more than a little interest. Zakaria's main point, and it's a goodie, is that Europeans view immigration as a way to get their hands on a small, fixed pool of talented workers from abroad without offering them a shot at citizenship in return. Which is true, and is probably an advantage for the US, even though many migrants in the US return to their home countries after a time either by choice or by law.

I'd offer one more modification to what Zakaria says about the European approach, and here I can just talk from the point of view from the UK, and that is that in the UK residence confers a much broader sets of rights on the holder, including, I believe the right to vote, than the US equivalent. Again, such nuances might be lost on the average migrant, but then I suspect that other factors - family, opportunities, distances - are also important factors.

As well as, yes, the immigration enforcement people. I was not aware for instance, that for a detained asylum seeker to be granted bail in the UK they will need to demonstrate that they intend to leave the country, and not make any kind of fuss at all. Or that the processing fees for at least one kind of UK visa is $500, or that technical support for the UK's visa service is $2.10 per minute to an outsourcing specialist known as ABTRAN. Nice.

So, Freddy's has switched from Brooklyn Lager to Labatt's. Ow. I had hoped that they could have brought in Six Points, but either the stuff is too finickity, or too expensive, or the owners of the small brewery are keeping their heads down. Indeed, it's testament to Mr. Hindy's unique product that replacing it as a result of his demolition fever is so difficult. And I'm impressed by his feistiness, although he is still missing the point.

"Dropping Brooklyn Lager in favor in Labatt will have absolutely no impact on the future of the Atlantic Yards project."

To not understand, as such a savvy marketer should, the power of framing in these debates is perplexing. When the beer boycott is all that people can recall about the project, you would probably have a public relations problem on your hands.


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