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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Danielle Beach-Oswald

Bloggings: Europeans Resistant to Immigration

In recent years, the increasing rate of large-scale immigration has altered
local communities all around the world, disrupting many countries’ notions of
national identity. In some cases, this has caused extreme anxiety and social
unrest in affected communities.

In many European nations, the local populations feel that globalization is
weakening their cultures, and are thus tightening their grip on their identity,
culture, language, and values. As a result, they shun the immigrants whose
cultures would diversify their own culture. Residency and citizenship
requirements have been made more harsh, so as to make the immigrants conform to
local norms and practices before being allowed to stay in their country.

Many European nationals feel that too much change is taking place too quickly.
They fear that this change will have negative impacts on their communities,
and that they will not be able to adapt quickly enough. The negative impacts
include overburdening the education, transportation, and public safety systems.
In addition, there is also concern that there will be unequal distribution of
public goods and resources.

In order to ease tensions and make the immigration process smooth for both
immigrants and local communities, there are ten steps that need to be taken by
political leaders:

1.Political leaders must listen to their constituents and show them that they
understand their concerns.

2.Political leaders must help citizens to build a sense of “ownership” in the
integration process by getting them all involved in building the future
generation of cultural norms. This will make them feel like they have
ownership over the immigration process.

3.Political leaders must emphasize that national identity should be in the
process of developing instead of remaining constant – that it needs to be
more inclusive instead of exclusive.

4.Policies should allow multiple identities to coexist in the same communities
instead of being separated.

5.Policy needs to be established that outlines specific and clear procedures
in obtaining permanent residence and citizenship. These policies must then
be implemented impartially.

6.States should offer practical, nonpunitive integration assistance to the
newly incoming immigrants.

7.Policy needs to be created that focuses integration efforts in workplaces
and schools, because those are the places where integration occurs most
naturally.

8.Political leaders should focus their efforts on assisting all populations
at risk, not just immigrants. Otherwise, disadvantaged citizens will be
angered that the government is helping immigrants instead of its own citizens.

9.States should legislate cultural practices as a last resort, not a first
impulse.

10.Political leaders should set an example when it comes to interacting with
immigrant populations. They should do so through both political language
and through their actions.

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