Immigration and Europe

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Immigration within and into Europe has increased in recent years, with local populations' anxieties raised(Pilcher 2010, p445). I will look at the socio-cultural challenges which immigration introduces. These include the real and perceived impacts on native populations, and the policy responses which stem from the issues. Next, economic well-being is an aspect of the immigration question that will be examined. I will consider soem of the various problems which are encountered in tackling this subject. While attempts to reach conclusions of the de facto effects of immigration in terms of the economies are not made, considering the arguments made may help in gauging the extent of the challenge that immigration poses. I will also examine some of the structural changes which immigration makes in the political sphere, with electoral and representative politics being affected. With constituencies changing significantly throughout several countries, the resultant shifts in terms of policy and governance are concerns which need to be taken seriously.

Social and Cultural Challenges

The social and cultural tensions which arise from hosting immigrant communities are often expressed as a failure to integrate or assimilate immigrants into society. Yet cleavages can be amplified due to the liberal and egalitarian doctrines which underpin European states. Provisions have to be made for immigrant citizens which may cause resentment in the existing population as a consequence of competition for diminishing resources, as well as the overarching factor of cultural stability(Lahav 2004, p1167). Yet this difficulty may be eased by the inclusion of non-EU immigrants in a reformulation of the European identity. If, as Diez & Whitman(2002) arg...

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...ect individuals on the micro-level but research suggests that there are context-dependent issues in societies. This means that the challenges which immigration pose cannot be met by assuming that macro-economic scenarios fit different solutions. Countries from both ends of the spectrum face problems with managing immigration and its consequences on different strata within the existing society. Again, the challenge here is one in which the political leaders and mass media are still themselves unsure of. If the effects of immigration on the economy are to be ascertained, then the implementation of appropriate policies needs to be pursued without deference to political and ideological pressures. The biggest challenge facing the states of Europe regarding immigration is to pinpoint the causes of insecurity, in both the immigrant and native communities, and address them.

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