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Fareed Zakaria: America should not adopt Germany's immigration policies [UPDATE]

In light of the intensive debate about new laws against illegal immigration in the U.S., Wash Post Columnist Fareed Zakaria is concerned that Americans favor European immigration policies, which would result in less integration and less security. He gives the example of Germany's failed "Green Card" initiative to attract Indian computer specialists without giving them the prospect of becoming German citizens, unlike the U.S. Green Card system. The U.S. should not adopt a similar immigration policy towards Mexicans:
Many Americans have become enamored of the European approach to immigration -- perhaps without realizing it. Guest workers, penalties, sanctions and deportation are all a part of Europe's mode of dealing with immigrants. The results of this approach have been on display recently in France, where rioting migrant youths again burned cars last week. Across Europe one sees disaffected, alienated immigrants, ripe for radicalism. The immigrant communities deserve their fair share of blame for this, but there's a cycle at work. European societies exclude the immigrants, who become alienated and reject their societies. One puzzle about post-Sept. 11 America is that it has not had a subsequent terror attack -- not even a small backpack bomb in a movie theater -- while there have been dozens in Europe. My own explanation is that American immigrant communities, even Arab and Muslim ones, are not very radicalized. (Even if such an attack does take place, the fact that 4 1/2 years have gone by without one provides some proof of this contention.) Compared with every other country in the world, America does immigration superbly. Do we really want to junk that for the French approach?
He concludes that immigrants must
have some hope, some reasonable path to becoming Americans. Otherwise we are sending a signal that there are groups of people who are somehow unfit to be Americans, that these newcomers are not really welcome and that what we want are workers, not potential citizens. And we will end up with immigrants who have similarly cold feelings about America.
Our related posts: "Europe's angry Muslims" are considered a risk to US security and Europe could learn from America how to succesfully integrate immigrants.

Our reader Fuchur pointed out Zakaria fails to recognize the changes in Germany's immigraton policies. Besides he points out that there have not been "dozens" of terrorist attacks contrary to Zakaria's claims. Read his comment. Fuchur has written the criticism of Zakaria, we at Atlantic Review failed to do. Sorry! Thank you, Fuchur! A new post about immigration shortly.


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Fuchur on :

But the "German immigration policy" described in the article is history! In the 70s and 80, Germany´s policy centered indeed on "guest workers, penalties, sanctions and deportation". Basically, it was about avoiding immigration. Since the early 90s, this policy has been abandoned. I´m not an expert, but IMO, today, the German immigration policy is not much different from the American any more: To become a US citizen, you need to have been five years in the country with a clean record. For Germany, it´s 8 years (or 7, if you take German language courses). Apart from that, the idea that disgruntled, alienated immigrants are responsible for terrorist attacks in Europe, strikes me as pretty stupid. First, I don´t really know how he makes out "dozens" of terrorist attacks in Europe. There have been Madrid and London. The terrorists from London indeed had an immigrant background, but they actually were college students and fairly well integrated. In Germany itself, there hasn´t been a single Islamist terrorist attack so far *knocks on wood* (Munich and the La Belle(?) bombing were politically motivated). In the US, there was the van sniper, and the dirty bomb incident.

Joerg on :

Embarrassing. Thank you! I have written an update. A new and better post later tonight.

garydausz on :

Mr. Fuchur fails to mention that the reason for not having any islamic terrorist attack in germany yet is not due to its "successfull" immigration politics but more due to the fact that germany is considered a safe haven/homebase for islamic terrorists as 9/11 has shown. Also germanys anxiousness not to do anything that might upset any islamic nation, out of economic reasons as well as security reasons, might have to do with that. Radical islamic views can be found quiet plentyful in german mosques.

Jorg on :

"germany is considered a safe haven/homebase for islamic terrorists..." Says who??? I don't think any intelligence agency or terror expert has expressed this opinion. What is the basis of your opinion, Gary? Do any experts share your opinion? " 9/11 has shown." Where did the 9/11 hijackers learn to fly airplanes? "Also germanys anxiousness not to do anything" I don't think that is fair to say. More than 2000 Bundeswehr troops are in Afghanistan, making sure that Al Qaeda does not take root again. German intelligence and police authorities have been very active in the war on terrorism. Just read what Tom Ridge had to say about cooperaton with Germany. Germany is on Al Qaeda's list, as several intelligence agencies and experts have said. A few terror plots have been discovered and arrests have been made.

Chris on :

Our immigration debate is getting very intense. this week is crucial for the Senate. Next week, there are 60 cities worth of protests. Boycott on May 1st. plug ---> I blogged a lot on this today.

Pat Patterson on :

Most Americans, in polls and privately, take great pains to make the distinction between illegal and legal immigration. America does not have a legal immigration problem, except among the chauvinists and the ZPG crowd, but it does have an illegal one. It strikes most as unfair that after the fact groups of people that skipped the legal method now demand to become citizens as if the original crime is now moot. If you look carefully there were very few ethnic groups outside of Mexico and Central America involved in these protests. Immigrants from Viet Nam, many who spent years in re-education camps in Viet Nam or DP camps in Hong Kong have no sympathy for those that want the irregular regularized. We did have a guest worker program in place that did allow access to legal immigration but interestingly enough the same groups that now demand open borders, the left and the Church, were the principal opponents of that program.

Josie Smith on :

Germany has the strong and safe home base for the Islamic terrorists and they are very active against the war. _____________________________ Josie Smith New York Immigration Lawyer Marina Shepelsky, located in Brooklyn, assists clients from the New York metro area and across the United States in all immigration and naturalization matters

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