Immigration in Europe — страница 4

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corporate welfare, where business is indirectly subsidized by government expenditure to promote the immigration and the assimilation of the immigrants. A more common criticism is that the immigrant employees are almost always paid less than a non-immigrant worker in the same job, and that the immigration depresses wages, especially as immigrants are usually not unionized. Other groups feel that the focus should be not on immigration control, but on equal rights for the immigrants, to avoid their exploitation. Nationalistic arguments Non-economic opposition to immigration is closely associated with nationalism, in Europe a 'nationalist party' is almost a synonym for 'anti-immigration party'. The primary argument of some nationalist opponents in Europe is that immigrants simply do

not belong in a nation-state which is by definition intended for another ethnic group. France, therefore, is for the French, Germany is for the Germans, and so on. Immigration is seen as altering the ethnic and cultural composition of the national population, and consequently the national character. From a nationalist perspective, high-volume immigration potentially distorts or dilutes their national culture more than is desired or even necessary. Germany, for example, was indeed intended as a state for Germans: the state's policy of mass immigration was not foreseen by the 19th-century nationalist movements. Immigration has forced Germany and other western European states to re-examine their national identity: part of the population is not prepared to redefine it to include

immigrants. It is this type of opposition to immigration which generated support for anti-immigration parties such as Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the British National Party in Britain, the Lega Nord in Italy, the Front National in France, and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands. One of the responses of nation-states to mass immigration is to promote the cultural assimilation of immigrants into the national community, and their integration into the political, social, and economic structures. In Europe, where nation-states have a tradition of national unification by cultural and linguistic policies, variants of these policies have been proposed to accelerate the assimilation of immigrants. The introduction of citizenship tests for immigrants is the most visible form of

state-promoted assimilation. The test usually include some form of language exam, and some countries have reintroduced forms of language prohibition. Environmentalist arguments Most European countries do not have the high population growth of the United States, and some experience population decline. In such circumstances, the effect of immigration is to reduce decline, or delay its onset, rather than substantially increase the population. The Republic of Ireland is one of the only EU countries comparable to the United States in this respect, since large-scale immigration contributed to substantial population growth. Spain has also witnessed a recent boost in population due to high immigration. 1.6. As political issue The political debate about immigration is now a feature of

most developed countries. Some countries such as Italy, and especially the Republic of Ireland and Spain, have shifted within a generation, from traditional labor emigration, to mass immigration, and this has become a political issue. Some European countries, such as the United Kingdom and Germany, have seen major immigration since the 1960's and immigration has already been a political issue for decades. Political debates about immigration typically focus on statistics, the immigration law and policy, and the implementation of existing restrictions. In some European countries the debate in the 1990's was focused on asylum seekers, but restrictive policies within the European Union have sharply reduced asylum seekers. In Western Europe the debate focuses on immigration from the

Enlargement of the European Union and new member states of the EU, especially from Poland. The politics of immigration have become increasingly associated with others issues, such as national security, terrorism, and in western Europe especially, with the presence of Islam as a new major religion. Some components of conservative movements see an unassimilated, economically deprived, and generally hostile immigrant population as a threat to national stability; other elements of conservative movements welcome immigrant labor. Those with security concerns cite the 2005 civil unrest in France that point to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy as an example of the value conflicts arising from immigration of Muslims in Western Europe. Because of all these associations,