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The European Immigration Crisis
Europe is Facing a “Great Wave” of Immigration
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  • wigwag

    During the great wave of immigration to the United States, the new arrivals from Europe wanted nothing more than to transform themselves into Americans as soon as possible. They didn’t demand that the government translate every document into their native languages, they didn’t expect their new American neighbors to genuflect to their religious predilections, they didn’t expect to receive generous and ever-increasing welfare benefits and they didn’t expect their children to be educated in public school settings where the language of instruction was the same as in the nations they had left behind. The new immigrants pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and within one or two generations, their children and grandchildren (including me) were indistinguishable from Americans who’s families had been here for generations. Even when the children of these original immigrants proudly adopted the status of hyphenated Americans, no one doubted that they were real Americans; they were real Americans because American is what they wanted to be.

    Has the unpleasant but realistic prospect occurred to American and European policymakers that one of the reasons that Central and South American immigrants to the United States and Middle-Eastern and African immigrants to Europe do more poorly than their immigrant predecessors is that the welfare state fosters a sense of dependency and despondency that makes the integration of immigrants into their new societies far more difficult than it might otherwise be?

    Isn’t it just possible that we would be doing the new arrivals a favor if it was made clear that they needed to leave their native languages behind (except in their own households), they needed to accept that their religion was just one of many tolerated in a pluralistic society and that their culture and mores could remain a treasured memory but nothing more? Isn’t it just possible that hostility to immigration in the United States and Europe would substantially diminish if the new immigrants represented a lesser burden in terms of welfare benefits and crime and if the new immigrants understood that they needed to adapt to the culture of their new societies rather than having those societies adopt to the culture of the nations they had left behind?

    If the new immigrants, legal or otherwise, were good neighbors, they might be more welcome. When they are bad neighbors, which happens far too often, it is hardly surprising when they are created with hostility.

    Isn’t it just possible that the modern welfare state is what has turned many recent immigrants into bad neighbors instead of good neighbors.

    Anyway, its just a thought.

    • johngbarker

      What role did Tammany Hall and similar institutions play in the assimilation of immigrants?

      • wigwag

        John, I’ve thought about this for an obvious reason; my maternal great grandfather got his first job in America through the Tammany Hall route. His name was Abram and he came to the United States from a miserable little town in the Ukraine called Boraslav.

        He emigrated through Ellis Island at the age of 22 to escape the pogroms that were increasing in frequency. His family paid for his voyage with the understanding that he would find a job, save some money and then pay for the passage of his brother and sister.

        It was through Tammany that he got a job selling tokens on the IRT subway; the pay was generous for the time at $18 per month. The first thing he did was enroll in English classes and the second thing he did was find an apartment to share on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington Streets on Manhattan’s lower east side. His share of the rent was $4 per month. The tenement he lived in is still there. The community has yuppified in a big way; apartments in the very same building he lived in now rent for more than $2 thousand a month.

        As a result of Tammany he saved enough money to bring his siblings to the United States. He offered to pay to bring over some of his cousins but they did not want to move to America; they were all murdered by the Nazis or their Ukranian neighbors; we never learned which.

        A few years ago I travelled to Boraslav in the hope of finding the cemetery where my great grandfathers relatives were buried. I had no success; the Ukranians had bulldozed all the Jewish cemeteries and paved then over.

        Everyone knows Tammany was corrupt to the core but I can’t help but wonder where I would be without Tammany; I might easily never have been born.

        The journal “First Things” had a good article on Tammany and immigration. Take a look; you might enjoy it.

        http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/11/tammany-halls-forgotten-successes

        • johngbarker

          Thanks, wigwag,
          I always read your remarks and learn from them. I will at look the link.

    • Anthony

      Good thought WigWag and (“weren’t the military and public education phenomenal levelers that facilitated the integration of second generation immigrants into their new societies”) for the most part yes without reservation. I think it is uncontroversial that schools (public) in a democracy have a duty to help form its citizens (competently). You allude to a once cherished “Civic Core” that though we may have came up short in fulfilling we nevertheless kept it forefront.

      • wigwag

        The military draft and public schools were both great levelers; the role that they played in integrating new immigrants into American society can’t be underestimated. In fact, the military still plays an important role. The children of immigrants (whether legal or otherwise) from Central and South America who enter the military almost invariably become productive American citizens.

        The destruction of urban public education has also been a tragedy that has made it dramatically harder to integrate new citizens into American society. This destruction was started by progressive stalwarts in the 1960s who were convinced that bussing was the key to fixing American society. The result of their social engineering was disastrous and urban public education has never recovered since.

        But social engineering by the right is every bit as destructive as the social engineering of the left. The move to support educational vouchers represents a looming disaster in terms of the integration of new immigrants. The voucher movement will facilitate ethnic sorting on a scale that we’ve never seen in this country. Vouchers can be used to allow Mexican immigrants to attend schools where the exclusive language of education is Spanish; they can also be used to allow black students to attend public schools where the Nation of Islam sets the educational agenda. Many Muslim parents who’s children currently attend public schools would be happy to use a voucher to have their kids attend a madrassah-lite where an Islamic education is the highest priority. Already the largest charter-school system in the country has been established by the reclusive and strange Turkish founder of the Gulen movement. Do you think the elementary school kids attending the publicly funded indoctrination camps set up by Fethullah Gulen are learning about George Washington and the cherry tree or posting cardboard cut out turkeys on the bulletin boards each November?

        I don’t.

        It’s interesting to reflect on the neighborhood where Professor Mead lives; Jackson Heights. Queens. It is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the United States. Children who’s parents were born in scores of different countries attend Jackson Heights public schools (my brother taught in those schools for decades). Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christian, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Jewish and Hindu children all attend those schools in relative harmony. Given a voucher, many of the Catholics would disembark for Catholic Schools, many Jewish kids would disembark for yeshivas and many Muslim and Hindu kids would self-segregate into religiously homogenous schools.

        Anyone who thinks this will make the integration of immigrants into American society, is fooling themselves. My brother, before he retired taught kindergarten and first grade; he’s Jewish. The day almost never went by where he didn’t bandage the knee of a Muslim or Hindu kindergartener who skinned his knee in the school yard. At the beginning of the school year he spent countless hours consoling Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish kids crying their eyes out because they were frightened by being left at school by their parents for the first time. The impact that this has on fostering tolerance shouldn’t be underestimated and the impact that it has on fostering integration of kids from foreign lands shouldn’t be underestimated either.

        If vouchers encourage parents to self-segregate their kids, which they surely will, how many Jewish teachers do you expect will be comforting Muslim kids in a madrassah-lite? How many Christian teachers do you suspect will be comforting Jewish students in a yeshiva? How many Hindu kids do you suspect will be playing dodge ball in the school yard with kids of other religious and ethnic backgrounds.

        It’s not just the progressive social engineers; it’s the conservative social engineers as well.

        God save us from all of them.

        • Anthony

          “Who is against educating young people so that they are able to judge the issues of the day, make a good living, raise a family, and help keep civic peace and order?”

          I can’t say that busing or progressives is where it started WigWag (but that’s a minor point of disagreement) as I can’t out of hand indict charters per se though I agree with your general assessment of their potential use being distorted (the Gulen movement from rural Pennsylvania for example yet I’m not sure many “Nation” grammar schools are chartered – if there are many left). Yet for past 50 years or more (and I agree) we have tiptoed around idea that the schools should form Americans (and commendation to your brother – he has done God’s work).

          On top of that, your commentary brings to mind quite a bit but most salient is how identity politics has emphasized membership in subgroups (no E Pluribus Unum) over participation in the larger national community. And yes our political parties have been complicit. In any event, educational/national goals like assimilation/Americanization are now perceived generally with suspicion, caution, sense of discrimination, etc. I read somewhere that Abraham Lincoln believed that the center of children’s up bringing and schooling in the United States ought to be instruction in a “religious” devotion to democracy. In the same way, I think you infer the necessity of a common creed taught in order to sustain a more perfect union (the tragic recognition of how fragile unity is in a multicultural hyphenated society of different faiths and ethnic origins – again your brother, as I’m sure many others like him are, have done a tremendous unrecognized service).

          WigWag, there is something contemplative when considering how America has been settled – aspiring to extinguish the prejudices of national dislikes; but to do so leveling (to use your term) institutions need resurrection and must be operative. Now, how do we go about it seriously? Equally important, I concur that the military yet plays an institutional integrative role.

          Finally, “the true American form of patriotism is commodious rather than tribal. It is inherently cosmopolitan – the first such patriotism in the history of the world and, in that respect, at its best, a beacon. But America also has content; it is not an unrooted polygot cosmopolitanism. It accommodates all groups but at the same time, through commonalities and principles learned in childhood, fills the human need for group attachment – the noblest such political experiment yet attempted. (Benedict Anderson)

    • Fred

      Something wonders me wigwag. Your comment is spot on, but that is a cultural issue. Yet you fairly consistently derogate cultural issues as “distractions” from “real” issues. I pointed out in a response to you once that that attitude is closely akin to dismissing the foundation of your house as unimportant because only the roof and walls are “real” parts of the house. Does this mean you have recognized that culture is the foundation of economics and politics and not an unimportant side issue? If so, do you still believe “social issues” are “distractions” from “real” issues? If the answer to both questions is yes, how do you justify the latter?

      • wigwag

        I think cultural issues are important. I am even more convinced of this than I once was.

    • Harry Heller

      How about the role of racial dissimilarity? Why should Europe not seek to remain itself -European, the first requirement of which is its WHITE race? Never in human history has an entire civilization voluntarily committed suicide.

  • rheddles

    Ditto wigwag as far as the US is concerned. But Europe is not facing a Great Wave of immigration that it could or would assimilate. It is facing an invasion over the next several decades by hoards it cannot repel because they are unarmed. But their sheer volume will overwhelm the aging Europeans. This is only the beginning and will not end well.

  • Boritz

    “European leaders, if they want to avert a worse crisis, need to start taking some hard steps. First, they must get control of their borders.”

    Is Europe lacking in a political class that benefits from the stress put on their nations/union by supporting a permanent and growing underclass? Is there no particular political party poised to disproportionally reap the benefits of granting voting rights to poor, even destitute immigrants in the quest for a permanent ruling majority? Is there no press ready to tar dissent as racist, nativist, and xenophobic? is there no holy grail of comprehensive-immigration-reform? No vaunted path-to-citizenship? If they actually close their borders that would answer these questions.

  • jeburke

    I suspect that few, if any, European cultures will allow this to continue for 40 years, unlike the US during the great wave. In one story I read today, a Syrian migrant transiting the Balkans told a reporter he wanted to reach Germany because he wanted to go to college and understood that German universities were the best. Few Germans will have much sympathy with that.

    • Herzog

      How believable is that university BS in the first place? Would he be telling a reporter: I want to siphon off free money of their stupidly naive and generous welfare system, try out how blondes behave in bed (they are to be had easily, aren’t they?), and then later maybe fight the kafir in his own land once I begin to feel disappointed and alienated?

      But even if he was genuine in his desire for a university education, how realistic is all that? For starters, how likely is it that he will come equipped with any knowledge of German? But if he has to learn it from scratch, as is likely, how long will that take (in particular if he wants to master it to university level, with German not exactly being an easy language), and who is going to pay for this language acquisition process? Well, the native German taxpayer of course, in his and hundreds of thousands of other cases; and if anyone from among the cashcow provider population ever becomes reluctant to do so he or she will be dubbed a xenophobe and a neo-Nazi in a split second.

      But of course it doesn’t stop with language skills. For instance, what kind of substantive pre-education for university does such a guy likely bring from Syria? How likely is it, for instance, that his math, physics, chemistry, biology are at the requisite university entrance level, in case he has a penchant for STEM? And if they are not (as is likely), what are the chances that the longer the more the inevitable ensuing disappointments will hurt his sensitive ME self-esteem and breed resentment in him? But wait, there is a solution: He can always do Islamic Studies and Middle Eastern History in German universities instead, thereby really really adding to the material and social well-being of German and European societies.

      And what is going to be his cultural flexibility, his readiness to fit in instead of demanding special favors and special Muslim treatment?

      Layers upon layers of problems, in hundreds of thousands of cases — but all our politicians have to offer is playing the compassion card, and quickly denouncing anyone who dare raise such questions loudly and publicly, let alone protest in the streets.

  • Suzyqpie

    The six countries of the GCC, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE refuse to take any Syrian refugees, according to Amnesty Int.

  • Harry Heller

    What an arrogant and treasonous fool this unsigned writer is! As though the RACIAL INVASION, COLONIZATION, and IMPERIALISTIC CONQUEST OF WHITE, CHRISTIAN, OCCIDENTAL EUROPE is a “technical” matter! It doesn’t occur to this filthy leftist that perhaps there is no need for mass immigration; that allowing socially and culturally disruptive immigration is not a duty or requirement of nations; that these “refugees” are nothing more than 73% MALE ISLAMIC conquerors; and that the civilizationally appropriate response is to call it “invasion”, and proceed to a military response. That means blowing these migrant boats out of the water, and then strafing the survivors with machine gun fire. Do this a few times. and these savages will get the message (in the only way savages EVER get the message that their verminous, rapist presences are NOT WANTED IN OUR LANDS)!

    What Traitor Merkel has done is the most evil act in European history. Destroying the racial character of her own nation is a greater evil than the Nazi Holocaust. It is an act on par with that of Judas Iscariot. She (and all other European political traitors) should be deposed in a military coup for national salvation. She should then be tried for TREASON against the German nation. If found guilty, she should either be imprisoned for life, or hung like the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials. At least Goering et al hadn’t tried to exterminate THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

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