Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Europe’s Intensifying Immigration Debate

The National Review (a conservative "journal of opinion") has an interesting new article: Europe's Intensifying Immigration Debate. Author Tino Sanandaji argues that a European "blackout on facts thought to cast immigration in a negative light has trapped the elites in a cocoon of willful ignorance."

He writes:

[T]here is a tendency to overestimate the role of Islam and to underestimate the role of the economic divide between natives and immigrants. The number of Muslims in Europe and the speed of demographic transformation are often widely exaggerated using unreliable estimates. In Sweden, currently 8 percent of the population originate in Muslim-majority countries. But surveys on religious self-identification show that only 3 percent of Sweden’s population self-identify as adherents of Islam.

  Sanandaji further writes:

The lack of economic integration of immigrants is leading to the emergence of a new ethnic class society in Europe, with occupational status becoming visibly linked to ethnicity. In office environments in Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm, janitors and cafeteria staff increasingly look and speak differently from management and white-color professionals. The so-called visible minorities of Europe are rarely allowed to forget their lower socioeconomic status or that they are outsiders who were never really welcomed by large segments of the native population.

Sanandaji contrasts the economic and cultural isolation of European Muslim immigrants with those who make their way to the U.S. and Canada where genuine economic integration is possible.

But the real focus of Sanandaji's work is Sweedish politics. He talks both about the rise of immigrant populations in Sweeden and the political backlash against the demographic changes in the country.

He ultimately concludes that Sweeden serves as a lesson for the United States:

The conservative establishment in the United States increasingly consists of “Davos men,” who identify more with elites in other countries than with domestic non-elites. Their interests and values increasingly differ from those of the people who have delegated power to them and elevated them to office. This makes elite collusion a real danger to the popular legitimacy of the institutions of representative democracy, a problem that is not limited to the immigration issue.

An interesting read.



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