Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Immigration Warning in French Rioting

French President Jacques Chirac cited a number of reasons for the rioting that has plagued France in recent weeks, however he and most European leaders still appear blind to the primary causes of the frustration embroiling that nation. Taking a page out of Jimmy Carter's book, Chirac referred to a "deep malaise" that had taken hold in the nation. (Washington Post: Chirac Says Riots Rooted in 'Deep Malaise').

The source of the problem actually lies hidden in the demographics of the rioters. For the most part, they are children of immigrants to France - legal or otherwise - that are disenchanted with French society and have little or no desire to become French. This issue, which has bubbled to the surface in France, is a festering boil on all of Europe and sits just below the surface here in the US as well.

The new wave of immigration that swept through Europe and the US in the latter part of the 20th century, and which continues even today, is dramatically different from the immigration patterns of a century ago. There is always a driving factor behind immigration, but for the most part you can boil it down to two primary reasons. The immigrants are either fleeing war or they are fleeing poverty. In either case, the immigrants are not necessarily entering their new country legally, and that in and of itself generates a lifetime of problems both for the immigrant and for the country in which they now reside.

A century ago, however, immigrants sought to become a part of their new country. Immigrants to the US took pride in the fact that they were coming to America. They raised their children to be American, and many of those children went off to defend this nation in the first and second world wars, often against their former homelands. That is not the case today. The current wave of immigrants seeks, not to become American, but rather to remain a part of the society and culture they have just abandoned. There is no desire to adopt either American customs or language.

The problems plaguing France today will be the same problems plaguing the US tomorrow if we don't take steps now to deal with the immigration problem. First and foremost, we must curb illegal immigration and take action to deport those in this country illegally. Secondly, we must establish residency requirements that do not allow immigrants to remain in this country unless they are actively striving to become US citizens. It is not in our best interests to allow people to live indefinitely in the US if they have no intention of becoming Americans. And finally, we must establish English as the national language once and for all, and mandate English proficiency as a requirement for citizenship.

We cannot remain blind to the problems boiling over in France, nor can we ignore the roots of those problems. The violence they are seeing is capable of occurring in every developed nation in Europe and it is also capable of happening here. The causes are similar, the source of anger is similar, and the solution is a crackdown on immigration policy.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

Don't forget Watts.