The Deeper Problems Behind Immigration | The Antiplanner
. . . US versus Europe Smackdown.
The primary areas of difference are government benefits, and availability of work. The US limits illegal immigrants access to most government benefits. While these workers do have access to medical care, and even free medical care in emergencies, this is not a government benefit in the US, this is a forced charity.
Most immigrants who choose to stay, and live in the US, assimilate into the larger culture, and integrate into the economy. This is in part due to the fact that the US is willing to employ them, and offer the same housing arrangements as the rest of the population. Economically, the US is far more egalitarian than Europe.
10 Myths About Immigration | Teaching Tolerance - Diversity, Equity and Justice
The US has 41 million immigrants, 30 million of which are legal, of the 11 million who are illegal about 4.5 million entered the country legally and remained on an expired visa. The remaining 6.5 million illegally entered the US.
While the US has always been a nation of high immigration, Europe has not.
"Until the late 1960s and 1970s, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom were primarily sources of emigration, sending large numbers of emigrants to the Americas and Australia. A number also went to other European countries (notably France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium). As living standards in these countries have risen, the trend has reversed and they were a magnet for immigration (most notably from Morocco, Somalia, Egypt to Italy and Greece; from Morocco, Algeria and Latin America to Spain and Portugal; and from Ireland, India, Pakistan, Germany, the United States, Bangladesh, and Jamaica to the United Kingdom)."
This is a very big difference, with the US having a long and successful history of immigration, while Europe had a long and successful history of emigration, and a recent, short, and unsuccessful history of immigration.
In Europe, immigrants are frequently balkanized into ghettos. While early on in the 1960s-1980s they were often brought into Europe as laborers, those labor jobs have mostly disappeared today. These immigrants, many now 2nd and 3rd generation natives are frequently not allowed access to work in better than labor professions.
"Assimilation, for a Belgian with non-European roots, is a near-impossible task. For a nation that runs on compromise — where government is formed by complicated alliances of north and south, where complex issues are resolved by conceding something to every political party, where the largest party in Flanders favors secession — this is not only ironic but tragic.
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In 1964, Belgium made agreements with Morocco and Turkey to attract migrant workers to the coal mines of Wallonia; Turkish and Moroccan immigrants began to populate Brussels. Soon after these conventions were signed, though, the demand for mine workers fell. The economy deteriorated, mines shut, unemployment rose and very little was done to help the new arrivals assimilate."
The Near-Impossibility of Assimilation in Belgium
"The North Africans, many of whom lacked formal education, found the process of assimilation to be very difficult, if not impossible. For the most part, they lived in the suburbs of France’s big cities (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, for example) in developments called “les HLMs” (habitation à loyer modéré) or low-income housing. As Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, two Canadians journalist who spent two years in France researching their book on contemporary culture, explain in their chapter on France’s immigration problem, “Cités stated out as giant housing projects built throughout suburban France to answer urgent housing needs in the post-war period. The government meant well, but many of the projects quickly fell into decay thanks to poor design, poor building standards, and poor management.”4 Today, the cités, like La Courneuve in Paris, or La Bricarde in Marseille, have become completely lawless areas (zones de non droit) full of crime and violence.5 French authorities often renounce their responsibility for this problem and defend their apathy by saying that enforcing the law in these neighborhoods is too dangerous. In this way, the cites have become a constant and vivid reminder of the problem of immigrants in France and “have made a lost generation out of children of France’s first wave of Muslim immigration.”6"
Racism, Assimilation, and Immigration: A New Culture in France?
The obvious answer is NO! There is no new culture in France. One is either French or foreign. If white, and European, one can be accepted, if not, well, there is no assimilation.
It is much the same throughout the rest of Europe, when workers are needed, they are brought in from a place with cheap labor, but unless they look like the locals, there will be no attempt to assimilate them into the culture. And even if they assimilate, they will always be the "other."
Combine these problems with nationalism, parochialism, an aristocratic paternalism, and an economy slowly strangling under protectionist rules, regulations, and stultifying employment for life rules, and there is no possibility for assimilation. The "other" will simply be relegated to the arrondissement, the ghetto, placed on welfare, and ignored. As if they will simply disappear. But, of course, they don't.
To the contrary, Europe's mechanism to address the problem is precisely the same as the optimized mechanism to create the potential converts to a mass movement, mass movements like the various Islamist mass movements.
Eric Hoffer, in the True Believer, points out that these converts occurs in a number of different '"flavors." They come in the poor, including the new poor, the abjectly poor, the free poor, the creative poor, and the unified poor; the misfits; the inordinately selfish; the ambitious facing unlimited opportunities; the bored; and the sinners.
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) by Eric Hoffer This is a must read book to understand the problems facing us here at the End of History in the 21st century.
Europe's problem here is likely within the categories of the new poor, and the free poor. The people who immigrated frequently lived a subsistence or better lifestyle, and many were middle class in their countries of origin. Once in Europe, they had work and opportunity, until the manual labor jobs were automate, or eliminated, and then they become the new poor, or the free poor. This freedom is irksome, it places all of the responsibility directly on the shoulders of the individual. There is no sharing of this burden. Failure, frustration, all point out the weakness, incompetence, and failures of the self.
Unless these persons are provided the palliatives of action, movement, change, and protest, they will have only two stark choices, either accept the self as failure, or join a mass movement, and subsume the self.
Where the US and Europe differ is in offering these individuals palliatives which can divert the individual from the frustrations of freedom, of being the newly poor. The US does this well, it disallows these individuals nothing. They have the same opportunities as anyone. Europe does not allow this, these people are balkanized, and their employments are strictly limited, their ability to become French, Belgian, Spanish are all virtually nil.
The US also allows immigrants to live apart, if they wish. Little Italy, Chinatown, among myriad other name list these voluntary separations, but by the time the first generation of their children are adult, they speak english fluently, and are mostly culturally indistinguishable from long term Americans.
Why the U.S. Is So Good at Turning Immigrants Into Americans
It's what we do, and we do it really well. Europe needs to think long, and hard about what they are doing, and make changes which will allow their immigrant surge to successfully assimilate.
The next step for the US is to reform or welfare arrangements, our work laws, including minimum wage laws, to allow us to more broadly open the border and allow immigration within the framework of a legal process. We need not only highly educated immigrants but the less well educated as well. Ultimately, immigration like trade creates wealth for the recipient nation, and the sending nation as well. This is a value we cannot afford to turn away.