Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Poll shows immigration views in U.S., Europe

The U.S and Europe coincide and differ in their notions over immigration according to a recently conducted poll. The survey conducted by the non-partisan German Marshall Fund found some interesting revelations on immigration on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • 50 percent of Americans and 47 percent of Europeans view immigration as more of a problem than an overall benefit for society.
  • Concerns about illegal immigration are very important though most in the U.S. view it as an economic problem while most Europeans are anxious about crime.
  • Barely over a quarter of those surveyed backed temporary worker programs while most agreed with granting legal immigrants the same political rights and social benefits as citizens.
  • In terms of notable differences, respondents in the U.S. and Europe disagreed on the meaning of citizenship as well as how much cooperation should be done with immigrants' countries of origin.
What can we conclude from the poll? For one, politicos cannot continue burying their heads in the sand and pretend that the immigration debate doesn’t exist. The issue of illegal immigration is of special importance and must be tackled in a fair manner beyond the tired platitudes of racism and name-calling. (In other words, quit being scared of compromising if it’s for the greater good). Lastly, the line between legal immigration and citizenship appear to be blurred in this increasingly globalized world.

Obviously, the above personal analysis is oversimplified. Do you have anything else to add?

Image- boston.com (The aftermath of a U.S. citizenship ceremony).
mysanantonio.com, Foreign Policy, German Marshall Fund

1 comment:

gullett187 said...

most in the U.S. view it as an economic problem while most Europeans are anxious about crime.

Haven't read the whole report so I may be speaking prematurely, but I've always had the sense that xenophobia ran deeper in Europe than in the US due to the US' unique historical experience with high immigration and civic (as opposed to ethnic) nationalism.

The fact that Americans who are skeptical of immigration are leery of its economic impact while Europeans its criminal impact seems to strengthen this point.

Given that immigration does push down wages for low-skill workers (regardless of the overarching positive impact), there's something more understandable about saying: 'I wish you weren't here b/c you might be bad for my bottom line' as opposed to 'I wish you weren't here because I think you're going to rob me.'