I read an article in school about the need to rethink our immigration policies here in Europe.
Illegal immigration is a real issue in Europe as it is in America.
We have many points of entry into Europe, e. g. south-east coast of Italy or the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. So we are supposed to react.
Europes first reaction after WWII was the Geneva refugee convention of 1951. It was originally a cold war instrument on the grounds of economic persecution. The convention gave us an ideological advantage during the cold war, because we supported refugees of the former Soviet Union.
After the break-up of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of Yugoslavia we faced the issue of hundreds of thousands asylum seekers who applied to immigrate. The turmoil of the 1990s, when more than 4m people asked for asylum in western Europe, has raised beyond an acceptable level.
Europes governments don`t like this development. So they implemented restrictive immigration policies. Germany ended long-term labour intakes from Turkey in the early 1970s and GB was in the countdown to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962, which stopped the first wave of immigration in the UK.
But unintendend effects occured. In Germany more immigrants from Turkey immigrated to Germany -family reunions-. The figures of immigration in Britain doubled.
I think that the european governments didn`t keep in mind that we need immigration. Why?
1. Economic need for immigration:
Firstly EU-countries could save on development aid. Secondly our population projections aren`t very well. There is an aging population and an continuing fall in our birth-rates. Consequence: Immigration is needed to keep the ratio of working to non-working population constant. Furthermore we need immigration to solve our crisis in pension fundings.
2. Moral case for immigration:
2.1. Remittances from asylum seekers to their families hit the mark better and are less likely to be plundered by corrupt governments than development aid.
2.2. We have a free-flow of capital and goods. Human beings should be allowed to follow.
2.3. Outside the wealthy economies there is a feeling that there`s a global economic apartheid. The poor regarded the borders of wealthy states as obstacles to safety and prosperity.
In addition Europe has similiar to America two choices:
The first option is a massive and costly entrenchment of Europe`s borders as it is in America or we have to implement more liberal immigration policies.
I believe that if America would rethink their immigration policies they will benefit in many forms:
more innovation, prosperity, knowledge and multi-cultural understandings.
More liberal immigration policies are needed in order to preserve our economic prosperity and the prosperity of knowledge.
What do you think? Are the western ways of handling immigration issues obsolete?