Immigration Issues in Western Europe

Topics: Immigration to the United States, Germany, Immigration Pages: 19 (5176 words) Published: April 21, 2014

Sophia Haddadin
Professor Adolino
POSC 345 Western European Politics

A leading issue in today’s world politics that has and still is affecting several countries is the topic of immigration. Immigration defined simply is when a person comes to a foreign country and takes up permanent residence. This act may result due to unstable economic conditions in ones homeland, war, poor working as well as living conditions, or even just a lack of national pride and identity. Some situate themselves legally in a country, attend school or work as a legal immigrant or potential citizen and pay taxes. Then, there those who enter a country illegally, work “under the counter” and choose to not pay any state taxes. Both legal and illegal immigrants are issues that many countries have to face and deal with. Further, immigrant integration can be a touchy subject for some. There remains to be a wide variation of views as well as potential solutions for this specific problem. The final sub-area concerning immigration issues deals with discrimination or racism towards a particular immigration population within a country. I will be discussing immigration-related challenges particularly in the country of Germany. Germany has a population size of roughly 80 million citizens of which 15 million of those are people who have migrated to Germany or have at least one immigrant parent. Concern about immigration in the country has been an ongoing issue for years now. Some background information on the topic as well as current data will be introduced in the paper. Further, I will discuss the government’s response to the problem and touch on any current or past policies or regulations that have been set. I will conclude with any implications that Germany has had and/or is facing as a result of immigration. Moreover, I will compare Germany to the United States in this topic and will deliberate on any lessons to be learned after having observed Germany’s implications. Current Dimensions of the Problem

Germany, at the moment, is one of the strongest countries economically in Europe. It provides copious social welfare programs that are well known around the world, its universities count as some of the most exceptional schools in Europe, and it is the second largest exporter of the world. Further, Germany’s firms and companies represent innovation, quality, and cutting-edge technology that have even started reaching out internationally to emerging economies, such as China. These positive attributes have been attracting foreigners to Germany for decades. The problem that currently exists is that there are not enough skilled immigrants to take on positions in the German work force. Since the 1950’s after the fall of the iron curtain and post-war events, the German economy has been dependent on immigrant workers. These workers were known as “Gastarbeiter”, which translated means “guest workers”. Though many have stayed in Germany since that time, a majority of them have returned to their home countries in South and Southeast Europe, leaving Germany with a less and less qualified as well as skilled labor force. Another issue being raised and publicized in Germany concerning immigration has to deal with the access of gaining rights and privileges of citizenship. “Intense and protracted political debates about Germany’s citizenship policy emerged over the course of the 1980s, and they accelerated in the 1990s, involving all of the main political parties, along with legal experts and academics” (Howard 2008, 47). Currently, there are immigrants in Germany that do not enjoy the same rights as citizens, for they must satisfy a range of conditions beforehand. It has been decades that Germans have felt concern over immigration, not just regarding its need for improvement to attract skilled workers in the labor force but also the struggle of integrating immigrant populations into the country. According to...

Bibliography: Broeders, Dennis. 2009. Breaking Down Anonymity: Digital Surveillance of Irregular Migrants in Germany and the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Constant, Amelie and Bienvenue Tien. 2011. Germany’s Immigration Policy and Labor Shortages. IZA Research Report. No. 41 (October): 1-38. (accessed December 3, 2013).
Jacoby, Tamar. 2011. Germany’s Immigration Dilemma. How Can Germany Attract the Worker’s It Needs? Foreign Affairs. 90, no. 2 (March/April): 8-14. Dilemma.pdf (accessed December 2, 2013).
Süssmuth, Rita. 2009. The Future of Migration and Integration Policy in Germany. Migration Policy Institute. (accessed December 2, 2013).
Rubio-Marín, Ruth. 2000. Immigration as a Democratic Challenge. Citizenship and Inclusion in Germany and the United States. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
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