PO2212 Issues in Contemporary European Politics

Week 11 Black People & Immigration in the EU



"The physical movement of people within and between social systems. Migration, for example, is a major component of population growth - particularly in low-fertility regions such as Europe and North America - and historically has been the main source of urbanization.
Migration also profoundly affects the social composition of populations and for this reason often plays an important role in racial, ethnic, and class relations.

Historically, the sociological study of migration patterns has focused on "push factors" and "pull factors" - conditions that cause people to leave one area and to be attracted to another. Current research on this topic has used more complex approaches that take into account larger-scale processes such as the international demand for labor and the shift of capital across national boundaries."
The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology (2000).
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry/724104


"An immigrant is someone who goes to make a home in another country.
In the twentieth century, world immigration has increased. Partly it is the result of a serious refugee crisis which has been accentuated by the increase in the number of oppressive regimes throughout the world and partly it is economic.
Immigration remains an important world issue. Democratic majorities often want to restrict the movement of people although it is contrary to both liberal and free-market principles".
The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science (1999).
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry/725295


According to the Penguin Dictionary of Sociology (1994) racism is "the determination of actions, attitudes or policies by beliefs about racial characteristics. Racism may be (1) overt and individual, involving individual acts of oppression against subordinate racial groups or individuals, and (2) covert and institutional, involving structural relations of subordination and oppression between social groups.
While individual racism consists of intended actions, institutional racism involves the unintended consequences of a system of racial inequality. Racism may be accompanied by either implicit or explicit racist theories, which seek to explain and justify social inequality based on race".
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry/105434

In The Dictionary of Human Geography (2000), racism is defined as an "ideology of difference whereby social significance is attributed to culturally constructed categories of race. Racism is 'an ideology which ascribes negatively evaluated characteristics in a deterministic manner ... to a group which is additionally identified as being in some way biologically ... distinct' (Miles, 1982, p. 78). Such ideological distinctions invariably lead to discrimination and racialized inequality.
Racism can take various forms, from the 'scientific' racism of the nineteenth century to the 'cultural' racism of today where the emphasis is on supposedly 'inherent' cultural differences rather than on innate biological differences. Discourses of 'race', like ideologies of gender, attempt to ground themselves in nature though they are both socially constructed".
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry/734624


"Someone who leaves their native land either because of expulsion or to escape persecution.
At the beginning of 1999 the world's international refugee population was about 16 million, including This situation was an improvement over the mid-1990s, when the numbers were even higher.
There were also an estimated 30 million designated by the United Nations as internally displaced people, individuals forced from their homes within the boundaries of their own countries.
Many governments refuse asylum to refugees; meanwhile, long-term refugees suffer various psychological hardships, and the root causes of the problem - war, famine, epidemics - remain unsolved".
The Columbia Encyclopedia (2001).
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry.jsp?xrefid=813563&secid=.1.

"According to international law, a refugee is a person fleeing from oppressive or dangerous conditions (such as political, religious, or military persecution) and seeking refuge in a foreign country. In 1995 there were an estimated 27 million refugees worldwide; their resettlement and welfare is the responsibility of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). An estimated average of 10,000 people a day become refugees. Women and children make up 75% of all refugees and displaced persons. Many more millions are ‘economic’ or ‘environmental’ refugees, forced to emigrate because of economic circumstances, lack of access to land, or environmental disasters.
The Geneva Convention only applies to victims of persecution, not to those fleeing civil war or violent disturbances at home.
Between 1985 and 1989 the number of refugees doubled worldwide.
Internally displaced people, who have been forced to leave their homes but not crossed their country's borders, are not recognized as refugees; they were estimated to number at least 26 million in 1995".
The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, Helicon (2001).
Retrieved 13 December 2003, from xreferplus. http://www.xreferplus.com/entry/1105959

Tasks for Students Why are definitions particularly important for this topic?

According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the Geneva Convention) a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it" (Art. 1A(2)).

For more definitions, see the Migration Information Glossary at http://www.migrationinformation.org/Glossary/

The Importance of the European Community


The Single European Act came into force on 1 July 1987, was the first modification of the fundational treaties of the European Communities (Treaty of Paris, 1951 & Treaty of Rome, 1957).
Among its provisions were measures for the progressive establishment of a common market, with free movement of goods, people, services and capital, by 31 December 1992.

See 'The Single European Act and the road toward the Treaty of the European Union (1986-1992)'

The Development of a Common Asylum Policy

1993 The Maastricht Treaty makes asylum an issue of common interest for the EU.

1999 The Amsterdam Treaty provides for a common asylum system.

2004 Target date for developing the European Union into an area of freedom, security and justice, including a first phase of the establishment of a common European asylum system.

'A single roof for asylum in the European Union'

Council of Europe Recommendation 1440 (2000)[1]
Restrictions on asylum in the member states of the Council of Europe and the European Union
"In recent years, many European governments have introduced restrictions in their immigration and asylum policies and practices with a view to substantially reducing the number of refugees and asylum seekers on their territory. These restrictions are reflected and amplified in the ever more intensive efforts by the European Union to harmonise the asylum and immigration policies and practices of its member and applicant states.
Restrictive policies and practices may be classified into four types

The Parliamentary Assembly is particularly anxious to ensure that the European Union's plan to establish a common European asylum system provides sufficient protection for those in need. Moreover, the Assembly considers that any European Union policies which have the effect of reducing the responsibility of European Union member states for persons in need of protection at the expense of non-member states are to be avoided".

Tasks for Students Why do EU countries appear to be so reluctant to fulfil their human rights and humanitiarian obligations to the full?

Andrew Geddes (1997) in 'Fortress Europe: Immigration Policy Fact or Phantom?' asks whether racism in Europe has changed from being 'ethnocentric' to being 'eurocentric'.
He concludes that "Even though there is resurgent ethnocentrism which makes itself manifest in racist and anti-immigrant political mobilisation the forces of ethnocentrism are strongly opposed to both immigration and European integration because both threaten the far-right’s idea of the nation".


According to the foreigners law that went into effect in mid-1993, foreigners living in Germany for fifteen years may become German citizens if they have no criminal record and renounce their original citizenship. Young foreigners who have resided eight years in Germany may become citizens if they have attended German schools for six years and apply for citizenship between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three.
Usually, however, German citizenship depends not on where one is born (jus solis) but on the nationality of the father or, since 1974, on the mother (jus sanguinis). Thus, to many, German citizenship depends on being born German and cannot rightfully be acquired through a legal process. This notion makes it practically impossible for naturalized citizens or their children to be considered German.

New Immigration legislation pending in Germany
Original Act declared unconstitutional because of dispute over voting in Bundesrat.
"In the case of work-related immigration it was important to comply with a demand voiced by employers, something we consider to be right, and that is to establish a clear priority for the domestic labor force," Schröder said just before the bill was voted on in the Bundestag. The rule to be followed is that if a job can be filled by a person from the domestic workforce then preference is to be shown for the latter. It is only if this is not the case that applicants for immigration are to be given consideration.
Update at http://www.bundesregierung.de/en/dokumente/-,10001.747136/Artikel/dokument.htm(not accessible 4/12/05)


Cathie Lloyd & Hazel Waters (1991) 'France: one culture, one people?' Race and Class 32(3), argue that racism and immigration have been crucial issues in French politics through the 1980s.
In 1981, the Socialist government repealed the 1939 Act prohibiting people who were not French nationals forming associations. This meant that those without French citizenship could organise politically against racism.
But in 1983, the extreme right wing Front National won their first seat in the National Assembly.

The authors say that in France, the term 'immigrant' is used inaccurately and in a perjorative way to describe migrant workers from Southern Europe, asylum seekers from S.E.Asia, Latin America & the Middle East, French citizens from the French Overseas departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique etc. and people from what used to be the French Empire in North Africa, many of whom accepted french citizenship on independence.
White French culture has a strong strand, deriving from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, of perceiving other cultures as inferior. A key principle of French colonialism was 'assimilation' - imposing French values and practices on colonised peoples and incorporating their elites into French culture.

United Kingdom

1985 UK government imposed visa requirements on visitors from Sri Lanka - first time Commonwealth citizens obliged to have visas.
1986 Requirement extended to visitors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria & Ghana.
1989 Turkey added.
1990 Somalia, Algeria, Morocco & Tunisia added
Many visa applications refused.
Many visitors from the Caribbean also refused entry - for visitors from Jamaica, this rose from 0.6% refused in 1985 to 4.9% in 1989.
Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants points out that in 1989, only one Canadian visitor was refused entry for every 130 Jamaicans refused.

Asylum seekers - 12,500 in 1989 - doubled since 1986.
Long waiting times for applications to be heard - applicants may be kept in custody.
Deportations 1,578 in 1985 - rose to 3,101 in 1989
1989 4 Kurdish asylum seekers had applications refused and were deported - Immigration Appeal Tribunal eventually found the deportation to be unlawful but, by this time, one of the deportees had been arrested & tortured in Turkey.
1990 European Commission of Human Rights found that the deportation of 5 Turks was contrary to the Human Rights Convention.
'Migrants: Facing the Clampdown' Labour Research February 1991.

2003 The Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill is the fifth asylum Bill in eleven years and Labour's third since 1997.
"The government had indicated that the two-tier appeal system of adjudicator and Tribunal was to be replaced by a one-tier appeal. What it had not indicated before the Bill's publication was that rights of appeal and review from the Tribunal to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords were also to be abolished. The 'ouster' clause proclaims that 'no court may entertain proceedings for questioning' the Tribunal's decisions, which are to be final".
"But it appears to enshrine into law the concept that those who are not citizens of this country are entitled only to a curtailed and second-class justice system, thus undermining the universality of the human rights protection which was hitherto recognised as the birthright of every human being".
'Concern at new asylum measures' by Frances Webber 1 December 2003http://www.irr.org.uk/2003/december/ak000001.html

Tasks for Students Can you make two or three generalizations about the differences between the approaches of the three countries above?


'Fortress Europe pulls up the drawbridge' June 3, 2002 The Guardian

‘Immigration and Asylum as Political Issues in the European Union’ by Andrew Geddes
‘Fortress Europe: Immigration Policy Fact or Phantom?’ by Andrew Geddes
'Asylum seekers in Europe: What Difference has the EU Made?' by Jan Findlater


Amnesty Report 'Get it Right: How Home Office Decision Making Fails Refugees'
'2003 Global Refugee Trends', United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
World Refugee Survey 2003 http://www.refugees.org/newsroomsub.aspx?id=1062


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home
'Introduction to Asylum in Europe' from European Council on Refugees and Exiles http://www.ecre.org/factfile/facts.shtml
Human Rights Watch on Refugees http://www.hrw.org/refugees/
Migration Information Source http://www.migrationinformation.org/
Asylum Support http://www.asylumsupport.info/about.htm
OneWorld Guide to Refugees http://www.oneworld.net/guides/migration

Review of 'Dirty, Pretty Things' (2002), directed by Stephen Frears.
'Frears' film focuses on the usually unseen world of the capital's illegal immigrants, the invisible people who keep its economy running smoothly'.

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