Thursday, May 25, 2006

Europe rethinks its immigration policies

Sarah Wildman:

The night air in Vienna has finally turned warm, filling the city's trams with visitors. On the Ringstrasse, tourists take in the city, pointing out the City Hall and the parliament.

"Did you see that one girl - so young! And wearing a veil," a woman clucks in lightly accented English, staring out the window of tram D. "They will form a separate culture."

The sentiment isn't isolated. Earlier this month, Austria's Interior Minister Liese Prokop announced that 45 percent of Muslim immigrants were "unintegratable," and suggested that those people should "choose another country."

In the Netherlands, one of Europe's most integrated refugees and a critic of radical Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, resigned her seat in parliament in the wake of criticism that she faked details on her asylum application to the Netherlands in 1992. And France's lower house of parliament last week passed a strict new immigration law, now awaiting Senate approval.

Indeed, recent rumblings from the top echelons of governments across Europe suggest that the continent is rethinking its once-vaunted status as a haven for refugees as it becomes more suspicious that many immigrants are coming to exploit its social benefits and democratic principles.

"The trend today more and more in Europe is to try to control immigration flow," says Philippe De Bruycker, founder of the Odysseus Network, an academic consortium on immigration and asylum in Europe. "At the same time we still say we want to respect the right of asylum and the possibility of applying for asylum. But of course along the way we create obstacles for asylum seekers," he acknowledges.

A day after Ms. Prokop made her controversial statement on May 15, Ms. Hirsi Ali - a Somalian immigrant elected to parliament in 2003 - was informed by her own political party that her Dutch citizenship was in question. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, a former prison warden dubbed "Iron Rita" who has long promised a tough stance on immigration, said "the preliminary assumption must be that - in line with case law of the Dutch Supreme Court - [Hirsi Ali] is considered not to have obtained Dutch nationality."

At issue were inconsistencies in Hirsi Ali's application for asylum in 1992 - giving a false name and age, and saying she was fleeing from Somalia's civil war, not a forced marriage. Though she had publically admitted to the falsities in 2002, a recent TV documentary heightened public scrutiny of the controversial parliamentarian, who has been under 24-hour protection from death threats since the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the director of a film she wrote. Hirsi Ali's case, heatedly debated across Europe in the days since Ms. Verdonk's announcement, was seen as particularly ironic. But it also highlights the dramatic change in Europe since the turn of this century.

In the years following the World War II, a chagrined US and Europe vowed to follow the Geneva Conventions and create safe havens for refugees. Yet such lofty ideals were hard to uphold after massive influxes of workers in the 1960s and early 1970s were halted during an economic downturn.

Those immigrant populations - often Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East - swelled with family reunification, yet often remained economically and socially distinct from the societies that had adopted. The image of the immigrant began to change, and distinctions between those who came for work and those who came for safety began to blur.

Now, says Jean-Pierre Cassarino, a researcher at the European-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration in Florence, Italy, "asylum seekers are viewed as potential cheaters."

Today, in once-homogenous Europe, tensions between immigrants and native Europeans appear to be increasing. The perception that an ever increasing number of newcomers - who neither speak the language of their adopted country nor accept its cultural mores - are changing the culture has increased support for ideas once only advanced by far-right political parties.

"France, Austria, and the Netherlands all have had very significant electoral success of the far-right parties," says Michael Collyer, a research fellow in European migration policy at the University of Sussex.

Collier points to the success in France - also this past week - of a strict new immigration law proposed by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy's proposal would institutionalize "selective" immigration, giving an advantage to privileged immigrants of better economic and education status who are more "integratable."

It would also change the rights of family reunification for workers already in the country; speed up the expulsion of undocumented immigrants who are discovered or whose applications for asylum are rejected; lengthen the amount of time it takes to apply for permanent residency status for married couples; and toughen visa requirements. Most controversial, Sarkozy announced deportations for undocumented immigrant school children.

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At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Sir Miles said...

It's good to see that Continental Europe at least, is finally waking up to the crisis. Unfortunately, neither the US nor the UK (or Australia or Canada for that matter) has managed to do the same. I am a British emigre-- I left my home country for good and am now living in Italy, raising my children there as Italians. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of my compatriots have done the same.

Why? Because we are trapped in a bureaucratic mess beyond all repair in the UK. It does not matter which party runs the country, whether "Sir Gordon" of the Labourites or David Cameron's Tories or the Liberals in all their lunacy take power-- the ultimate levers of power, the possessors of money and control of the media are in the hands of the Atlanticist, open-border elite who despise the Whites of Britain and the US.

If you are a White Briton, there is no future for you in the UK, I am sad to say. You and your children will be discriminated against at every turn, made to hate yourselves and your identity, and gradually see all your hard-earned gains taken from your hands while you respond with impotent bitterness. Do not contribute your value, your wealth, and your hard work to such a regime. There are many places on the Continent where you will be greatly respected for the White Germano-Celtic European that you are, and your contributions will be valued and your children given opportunities they could never dream of in the UK.

Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden are all wonderful places to consider moving to. While I once disdained France, it appears from this article that they have finally learned their lesson as well, and you can put your French studies to use if you decide to move there and enjoy the wonders of a city like Paris.

But do not stay in Britain. For that matter, if you are a White American (worked in the USA for many years), Australian, or Canadian, there is little future for you in your home countries there, either. Your countries are in the grip of the same Western-hating, Atlanticist menace as Britain. You will have to learn a new language but this is no more than a minor nuisance-- you will quickly adjust and find yourself in a far more satisfying place than the Third World dens you left behind. Places such as Italy and Austria are also much better nations in which to raise your children.

At 5:08 AM, Blogger FranceSucks said...

I am a legal immigrant in the Netherlands. Most Dutch do not understand how badly their immigration process is broken. The only ways you can legally immigrate here are:

1) Obtain a post in the University
2) Marry a Dutch national
3) Asylum
4) Family unification bullshit
5) inter company transfer

None of these really involve the free exchange of skills and labor and preference is given to 2 and 3. Dutch people really need to understand the problem before they attempt a solution.

At 5:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the end I think any 'rethinking' will be limited, i.e. little in the way of concrete action (e.g. restricting immigration) is to be expected, because this would 1) stand in conflict with current racially sensitive politically correct dogma, and 2) involve acknowledging the validity of arguments that rest on group differences, many of which are not only cultural but are also increasingly shown to be genetic. And I don't have the feeling the 'Atlanticist' establishment is ready to make this step.


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