Tag Archives: immigrants

Spain Launches African Aid Program

Each week thousands of people atempt the perilous journey from the African continent accross the Mediterranean in an effort to find economic opportunities in Europe. The Spanish government has decided to address the issue by focusing on economic development in Africa in an effort to provide work opportunities so that people will not be forced to migrate. Spain is providing over a $100 million to several African nations. Deputy prime minister, Maria Teresa Fernandz de la Vega announced: “With this plan, Spain hpes to relaunch agriculture, fight desertification and promote appropriate management of water resources, along with marketing fish, farming products and renewable energy.” She emphasized the importance of helping African nations deal with climate change issues which impair their economic development.

Menawhile, the Andalucia Ombudsman, Jose Chamizo, raised questions whether the detention of illegal immigrants who have not committed any crime, but are only guilty of an administrative offence, is legal. It is estimated about 20,000 illegal foreigners are now in detention centers.

The Spanish effort actually should be part of a massive European Union plan to help develop the economic resources of northern African nations in order to allow their inhabitants an opportunity to find success at home rather than leaving family and friends in search of work.

Germany’s Demographic Nightmare-Too Few Babies

Germany has continually witnessed a decline in its birth rate over the last half of the 20th century and current forecasts are the current 82 million German population will decline to about 69 milion by 2006. The current birthrate is 1.43 children per woman, slightly up form 1.33 the year before, but distant from the necessary 2.1 number that ensures maintenance and growth in population. An economic problem that will arise unless there is a significant rise in population is support for the social security system which will lack people paying in during the coming decades. Uusula der Leyen, Family Minister, believes an important aspect of dealing with the demographic crisis in persuading women to have more children.

Under new legislation, the government will pay the parent who remains home with the child up to 67% of their current income with a maximum of $2,810 per month for up to a year. Another facet of the new program is tripling the number of day care centers in order to assist women who must work. Many conservatives support paying women to remain at home but object to day care centers as encouraging women not to remain with the child.

Ironically, as Germans have fewer babies, German society needs more immigrants.

A Pakistan Immigrant–In Racist Free Sweden?

Nabeel Shehzad, a Palistani engineer, immigrated to Sweden for education and to enjoy what he believed was life in a nation that did not discriminate against those who were different. Here is what he wrote in The Local about his life in Sweden:

“As long as you are a student, you normally mix with international or Swedish students, which itself is a wonderful experience. You normally don’t find discrimination of any kind, probably because your spectrum is not that broad, and you normally don’t meet many working class Swedish people. But once you complete your studies you look for a job and it is from this point on tht you start to see a different side of the picture.” (he obtained a job and moved)

“I soon found that looking for accomodation became a never ending quest. People were willing to rent out their apartments to me as I was earning good money. Everything was fine unless they actually met me and got to kow that I was an immigrant. Then I got the big, no.” (He discovered in Gothenburg most apartment offers were in areas where immigrants lived).

“Then there is discrimination in everyday life. Whenever an immigrant sits on a bus or tram and leaves on empty seat next to him, I have found that the probability of a Swedish person sitting next to him/her is almost zero. When the bus gets absolutely full, most people would prefer to stand than sit next to an immigrant. It’s almost like they think we stink of rotten fish…I am not saying there is nothing good in Sweden. In fact, most things are absolutely wonderful. The system works superbly, but the behavior of Swedish people is really strange.”

British Courts Defend Rights Of Immigrants!

The British Home Office has been attempting to impose tougher requirements on immigrants who entered the nation under provisions of the Higher Skills Migrant Programme, but their efforts were ended by a court decision which insisted migrants had met the criteria that was originally established for their presence and had a right to reman in a permanent status. The new regulations of the Home Office were declared to be illegal since the overwhelming majority of migrants had successfully met all requirements for permanent residency. The court argued the Home Office was focusing on problems they were encountering with a few residents and then subjecting all migrants to the necessity of reapplying even though they originally had met the requirements.

The court was clear as to the problem, saying there was “no good reason why those already in the scheme shall not enjoy the benefits of it as orgininally offered to them.” It appears in modern times, governments insist on regarding large numbers of people as problems because of the actions of a few. For example, a single man tried doing something with his shoe and now milliions have to take off their shoes when boarding a plane. Most skilled migrants to Great Britain benefit the nation, be happy about it.

New Zealand-Obese People Need Not Apply!

Richie Trezise, a submarine cable specialist, was looking forward to emigrating from Britain and finding work in New Zealand where his skills were needed. He had been headhunted by one of New Zealand’s largest companies and expected to begin his new life. However, he encountered a slight hitch in his plans. After seeing his doctor and providing information concerning his health to New Zealand immigration officials he was told that he was too fat to enter New Zealand. His body mass index(BMI) registered too high at 42. He was told to slim down if he really wanted to live in beautiful thin New Zealand. “My doctor laughed at me. He said he’d never seen anything more ridiculous in his whole life” since not all obese people are unhealthy. Robyn Toomath, an endocrinologist working for the New Zealand campaign group, Fight The Obesity Epidemic, said her country could not afford to admit immigrants who would be a drain on health services. By the way, Mr. Trezise’s wife has also been classified as obese and currently is in the gym working off a few pounds.

This is a rather unique way of evaluating who can or can not enter a country. One can only wonder if the reverse is also applicable– does New Zealand deport their own obese people? If so, are they only able to migrate to nations which welcome obese people? On the other hand, is there a problem with people who are excessively thin?

Swedish Politician Compares Integrating Immigrants With Dog Obedience

A Swedish politician offered an interesting comparison between the manner in which society integrates immigrants with how dogs and children are raised. Oistein Christoffersen told an interviewer that the integration of immigrants within Swedish society is akin to the manner in which adults train dogs and children regarding the importance of knowing boundaries. “We must take care that those who are here are properly integrated. That includes education in both language and how our society works. It is about setting boundaries and is no different than raising children or dogs.” He agreed that some people might misunderstand his words, but “everyone who has a dog knows what I mean.”

We understand, Mr. Christoffersen, there are dogs that never get potty trained and pee all over the place, and there are immigrants who simply don’t know what urinals are there for in homes or train stations. How could anyone misunderstand the importance of educating immigrants to fit into society and know their place in the greater Swedish nation. Of course, there is a slight possibility that Swedes might actually learn something from immigrants that would alter the manner in which Swedish people think or behave. I hear tell that some of those immigrants actually are better trained in obedience than dogs. By the way, Mr. Chritoffersen, is “training” the nature of education and “boundaries” the goals of critical thinking? Personally, I prefer people who can think outside the boundaries of conventional thinking.

Chinese Students Heading To European Union Over USA

An historic shift has already begun with over a 120,000 Chinese students this past year heading for education in European universities rather than take the more familiar route to the United States. The Patriot Act, and other restrictions caused by America’s fear of terrorism, have made the United States a less desirable destination for young Chinese students seeking higher education. The European Union launched a “Erasmus Mundes” program in 2004 which will have granted $327 million in grants to foreign students by 2009 in order to get them to attend EU institutions. Jan Figel, EU commissioner of Education notes: “When people speak of education,especially higher education, they often think of the US. But actually, universities in the EU are overall, the most attractive because they have a diversity of cultures and teaching methods.” The European Union this week will institute a “fast track” program enabling highly educated immigrants to quickly obtain a “blue card” allowing them to work in the European Union and bring their families. Any student who obtains a B.A. from a EU University will immediately be eligible for a blue card which guarantees all rights such as medical insurance as those held by EU nationals.

Lost in the fears caused by the Patriot Act and the Bush fear program about foreigners is a significant shift in world affairs. America increasingly is becoming more difficult to enter and a less desirable place for highly educated people. The United States for half a century was able to attract and keep hundreds of thousands of skilled workers, but this advantage is slipping away. This is another legacy of the Bush program to create fear in America, but, unfortunately, the fear program is keeping out skilled individuals needed by modern economies.

Lebanon Enslavement Of Foreign Workers

The Middle East is now home to hundreds of thousands of foreign workers who have been brought in to handle the dirty jobs of modern life. Of the four million people in Lebanon, over 150,000 are foreign workers, many domestic servants brought in from places like the Philippines or Sri Lanka. Siriani, a Sri Lankan girl arrived nine years ago at the age of 20 and since that time has worked without pay or being able to leave the house while always under control of her employers. “I put up with it praying things to get better, but then I had enough. I had to run away or die.” Fortunately, the teenage son of her employers took pity and gave her some money so she could flee. The Catholic organization, Cavitas Lebanon offered her refuge. Cavitas estimates thousands of young girls like Siriani are physically and mentally abused by employers and many are sexually molested. This year four committed suicide. At present, there are no laws in Lebanon that protect the rights of foreign workers.

It is estimated over 200 million people are currently migrants living in another land and attempting to create a new life. In many cases, things work out, but there are also millions who endure brutality, abuse, and violence on the part of employers. Perhaps, it is time for the United Nations to address the need for a global approach to immigration as well as establishing basic human rights for these people.

Kuwait To Deport “Runaways”

The Kuwait Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is preparing to take action against runaway domestic laborers. Nearly 1,200 domestic laborers are presently sheltered in embassies, deportation prisons, and domestic labor shelters. Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department issued a report blacklisting Kuwait for trading in human beings.

The Middle East, which the Bush administration claims is a bastion in our fight for democracy, is among the most notorious centers of human abuse in the world. Thousands of immigrant workers have been brought into these countries where they are subject to beatings, rape, and even being killed without much concern on the part of governments. The “runaways” are being punished for escaping brutality rather than having action taken against those inflicting brutal actions against them. There have been many reported cases of suicides, particularly on the part of young women who frequently are beaten or sexually abused by employers. It is quite clear victims will be persecuted while victimizers will be ignored.

Most Swedes Oppose Muslim Headscarves

Recent polls indicate nearly half of Swedes oppose Muslim women wearing headscarves. In 2005, 43% of Swedes rejected the idea of Muslim women being allowed to wear headscarves in public places like schools or government buildings, today, that figure is 49.8% of respondents. The questionnaire used the word “sloja” which literally means “veil” but apparently most Swedes use the word in referring to any form of head covering. Ironically, only 5% indicated they had negative views toward foreigners although about one-third believed they came to take advantage of Sweden’s social welfare opportunities.There apparently is something about Muslim women wearing head coverings which upsets many people in western nations. Why the passion about this relatively unimportant aspect of attire?