The Economic And Social Struggle For Integration Of Non-European Immigrants

Submitted By jman8132
Words: 2156
Pages: 9

Thus far, we have read a variety of articles about the economic and social struggles for integration between host nations and their respective non-European immigrant populations. Europe has experienced extraordinary growth since 1945, and the 1950’s and 60’s are often called the “Golden Era” of this post-war development. Non-European immigrants played a crucial role in this success. Western European nations recruited immigrants to be part of guest-worker programs, and these programs were meant to bring stability to the continent and help stimulate economic growth. However, they were largely meant to be a temporary measure. Yet, immigrants seeing more economic benefit from staying than returning to their original homeland decided, for the most part, to stay. Family reunification programs helped fuel more immigration and presently immigrant and children of immigrant populations in many western European nations consist of percentages ranging from 15-20% of total population ( ). How to integrate with this ever-rising immigrant population has been the debate, concern, and obstacle among many Europeans for the past couple of decades. While many things have been expressed as the obstacles of integration, such as national security, unemployment, and cultural differences, I will discuss a few areas that I feel are major obstacles for the integration of non-European immigrants. These areas concern, 1) historical economic instability and second-generation integration. Historical economic instability: A major obstacle has been the historical economic instability of Western European countries. European countries witnessed periods of economic growth, and periods of economic recession. The periods of economic growth created the need for more workers, resulting in guest-worker programs. The periods of economic recession, such as the one Europe is
As Europeans struggle to find answers to the economic crisis’, a rising anti-immigrant rhetoric has been gaining momentum. In many of the European nations, anti-immigration parties have seen significant growth in recent elections. () These parties, usually found on the far right of the political spectrum, claim immigration is part of Europe’s problem. UKIP, the far right party in the United Kingdom, is one of these parties that have seen significant increase in recent elections. UKIP claims that

The rhetoric from European nations have become bleak. In the Netherlands these unemployed second generation immigrants are seen to be taking advantage of the system, by receiving unemployment benefits from the government.
The guest worker programs were initially designed to be temporary. These immigrants were recruited to work in the factories, mines, and hard labor jobs. According to some historians, “they (the immigrants) were treated badly, but they had no expectations” (). The economic difficulties that brought about these guest worker programs did stimulate economic growth and advancement as was hoped. The economies of Western Europe grew astonishingly quick and the infrastructures were quickly re-built in large part due to these immigrants.
However, as stated earlier, many immigrants decided economic potential and social increase was higher in the Western European countries that they helped restore and re-build. The first generation was recruited to work in the mines and mills; they were treated badly, but they had no expectations. They did have hopes for their children, and the children have been treated no better by society. The second generation is very angry. Many of them see no hope. They drop out of school, get involved with crime and drugs.”

Second Generation:
Examining the question, what are the major obstacles to integrating non-European immigrants in the various European, is a very tall, messy, business. Mistakes from the past and mistakes from the present and the ramifications and consequences of these mistakes are hard to distinguish , and