European immigration in its current context is a recent phenomenon that has grown in size since World War II. The process of European integration has made Europe an attractive destination for the immigrants.
There have been many illegal immigrants entering Europe in recent years, and as in all such cases their life is one of hardship. For instance, France is facing illegal immigrant issues in spite of its high domestic unemployment and difficulties in immigrating immigrant population. Diaby Gandega is an illegal immigrant to France who sneaked in from Mali four years ago and is now a dish washer. He justifies his presence in France by claiming that he does the menial job of working long hours in a hot kitchen that French don’t want. While hosts see immigrants as a threat to their culture and law and order, Gandega claims that he and the other workers are paying into the French social security without getting the right and benefits.
Europe especially attracts immigrants from North Africa and Turkey because it can be reached without air travel unlike from the U.S.A, Canada, and Australia. The other added attraction is the freedom to travel within Europe so that the immigrants arrive at an easy destination followed by the actual destination, as for instance, the asylum seekers first arrive in Greece or Italy from where they attempt to move to easier destinations like Sweden or Norway.
The enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty the European immigration policy has become fairer and the European Commission has presented a set of directives for the fair and equal treatment of migrant and ethnic minority workers in Europe. The Confederation favors EU wide approach to managing flow of people by dismantling human trafficking networks and penalizing unscrupulous employers.
While the nations like the U.S.A and some of the Latin American nations have a large immigrant component in their populations as commitment to values and ideas rather than ethnicity is central to citizenship, it is quite different in the case of Europe. There, nation is defined in cultural terms like language, tradition and ethnicity raising concerns for those nations that do not have long traditions of immigration. In consequence of the recent trend of immigration in European nations, opposition to the immigration policy is the central issue in recent elections in nations like Britain, Sweden, Italy and Denmark. Fear and distrust of immigrant population in several European nations have led to formation of political parties with the central goal of anti-immigration policies. Sarkozy’s initiative in the EU makes immigrant entry into Europe more selective and difficult with the focus on acceptance of only highly skilled workers while repealing amnesties and unconditional asylum for illegal immigrants. Some of the European nations have also been at the center of controversy for violence against the immigrant population. Some of the other nations have initiated programs to learn language and culture of the nation as a condition of citizenship, for example, the policy of “[i]inburgering[/i]” initiated by the Dutch government.
However, despite acknowledging immigration as conducive to national economic growth, the process of immigration has been marred by ambivalence and resistance. One of the major concerns among European nations in context of immigration has been its adverse impact on national culture, identities and law and order.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com