5 thoughts on “Human Migration – two views

  1. Both Germany and France have considerable traditions and a great deal of experience with receiving and admitting immigrants in both the 19th and very much the 20th century. This is why Germany is the second most popular destination for migrants in the world, as well as the European country with the largest number of foreign-born residents, with France being #2. Italy is less so, on all counts, and also has a serious geographic disadvantage in relation to the current influx. As a result, Italy is threatening to simply start issuing temporary visas to everybody coming to their borders (if Europe doesn’t come up with some sustainable equitable solutions), which, as I understand it, would mean refugees can move freely from and beyond Italy, where they technically would not be able to otherwise because of the Dublin accord stipulation that they must remain in the country where they arrived (??? – I think I have that right…).

    Further, Germany is in absolutely desperate need of immigrants for economic reasons – and the number is well over the impressive number that they’ve agreed to admit thus far (1.5 million a year is the amount generally quoted as the desirable number, versus the current agreed upon 800,000 of the crisis influx). This is why they’ve agreed to take so many more than anybody else (except for Turkey, who’ve taken (or rather been swamped by) closer to 2 million, etc. But, yes, knowing you need them and admitting is hardly the same thing as being able to acommodate them all but all at once, that is for sure….

    • For a contrarian view, see Daniel Stelter’s excellent essays on German immigration in “The Globalist.” His first essay (http://www.theglobalist.com/germany-immigration-refugees-economy/) is the only attempt I’ve seen to look at the benefits AND the costs of accepting this number of immigrants (as he makes clear, the benefits are real [as you point out] but the costs may well swamp the benefits). While I agree that both France and Germany have had experience with immigration (though not on this scale), it is unclear whether they’ve done a very good job of it (again, see Stelter’s first essay). And in both countries, there is a rising opposition to taking in any more. The issue may well propel Marine LePen in France (a fierce nationalist and opponent of immigration – probably a racist) into forming the next government (her National Front is already the largest single political party). Similarly in Germany, Chancellor Merkel has been forced to waffle on her initial pseudo-commitment to take in 800,000 immigrants per year due to opposition by right wing parties that are part of her governing coalition.

      • I read the article you cited and wanted to add a point, based on something I read this am. Now that one of the biggest employers in the country, VW, is in big trouble, I think the demand/need for workers will be affected.

  2. This is a highly complex issue that will test the ties that bind the EU together. The EU “government” in Brussels is acting as if it has superseded the sovereignty of its member states. The smaller Eastern European states rightly recognize the difficulties of assimilating (and caring for) a vast horde of strangers who have no linguistic or cultural affinities with the host country.

    We in this country do not appreciate the magnitude of the problem. The impacts of the 800,000 immigrants Germany has said it will accept are similar to what we in the US would have to face if we had to accept 3.1 million immigrants EACH YEAR. Where do we put them all? How do we feed and cloth them? How do we incorporate them into our economy? More importantly for the long term, how do we assimilate them into our culture so that they become Americans (hyphenated perhaps, but still Americans). It is relatively easy for us as Americans to do this; after all, we are a nation of immigrants (Donald Trump be damned!). For a nation like Germany or France or Italy – more homogeneous nations without a long tradition of dealing with immigration – the flood of immigrants may well become a national nightmare.

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