SAIS Next Europe

Immigration



October 17, 2008 1:59 PM

Has the EU Been Watching Lou Dobbs?

Immigrants detained indefinitely, fingerprinting racially-profiled populations, mass deportations: this may sound like a typical European's justification for prosecuting President Bush at the International Criminal Court, but these disturbing developments are, in fact, part of a wave of anti-immigration policies taking hold in the European Union. The sentiment is likely a result of slowing economic growth and increased pressure on highly regulated labor markets, but such pressures are testing the limits of one of the EU's founding principles, the free movement of labor.

What began as a debate over undocumented immigration is turning into a debate over the merits of immigration, both legal and illegal, and leading to calls of preserving national identity

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October 29, 2008 3:18 PM

'Super-Immigrants' and Denmark's Welfare State

"The Achilles' heel of the welfare state" read a recent headline in a Danish newspaper, alluding to the economic toll immigration is taking on the country.

"...Unrestricted immigration is a death threat against our welfare," echoed Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the right wing party Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People's Party), defending her fight for a selective approach to immigration.

The comments come at a time when Denmark has had to accept new rulings by the EU that ease its own relatively strict immigration policies. The conclusion that non-EU citizens no longer need to be legal residents in an EU country to be allowed family reunification in another EU country is against Denmark's own law. But as Denmark has to follow common policy laws on immigration regardless of national laws, the government has had little choice but to concede to the ruling.

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November 4, 2008 12:50 PM

October a Tough Month for Italian Immigrants

A young Bangladeshi man working at the convenience store pointed to a plastic bag in his hand. "What do you call this?" he asked me in Italian.

"Bag," I responded in English.

"No, in Italiano?"

"Uhm borsa?" Wrong again. He rolled his eyes at me. At the time, I assumed he was simply correcting my facile grasp of his second language; but in retrospect, he may also have been expressing frustration that, unlike me-- a privileged foreign student-- his children may have to pass a language test to attend Italian schools.

Indeed, October was a tough month for immigrants. On October 15th, the lower house of Italy's parliament approved a plan to require immigrant children to pass a special test before being admitted to school. If students failed, they would be required to take special classes on Italian language and culture. The Senate must still approve the legislation for it to become law. Critics call it xenophobic, bordering on fascist while supporters say it is necessary for proper integration.

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June 12, 2009 4:10 PM

Europe Swings Sharply to the Right

In his much-anticipated Cairo speech, President Obama rebuked the "negative stereotypes of Islam" and faced the Muslim world with a call for "mutual respect." Yet at the same moment, European sentiment seemed to be moving in the opposite direction.

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