Europe's Immigration Turmoil

December 2010 • Volume 4, Issue 12
Is Europe becoming intolerant of foreigners?
By Sarah Glazer


Afghan migrants are held at a detention center (AFP/Getty Images/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)
Afghan migrants are held at a detention center in Mukachevo, Ukraine, in April 2009 after trying to sneak into the European Union through eastern Ukraine, which borders four EU countries and is a popular route for would-be immigrants. (AFP/Getty Images/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

Recent gains by European right-wing political parties advocating halts in immigration from Muslim countries signal a growing resentment against foreigners as Europe faces an economy with fewer jobs to go around. Anti-immigrant parties have received unprecedented shares of the vote in famously tolerant Sweden and the Netherlands. Mainstream politicians in France, Germany and Britain have vowed to cut immigration, complaining that many immigrants — especially conservative Muslims — fail to integrate into mainstream society. Ironically, anti-immigrant fervor is rising just as the economic downturn is slowing immigration to many countries. Some economists argue that aging Europe needs young immigrants to fill its work force and support its growing pension costs. Other experts say governments need to do more to integrate Muslims, many of whom are native-born. As governments pass laws to ban burqas, headscarves and minarets, many are asking how much cultural conformity Europe can demand in an increasingly globalized world. Immigrant advocates say language requirements and citizenship tests discriminate against Muslim immigrants and, together with immigration caps, send a hostile message to the skilled workers Europe needs to attract from abroad.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Immigration and Naturalization
Mar. 19, 2021  Immigration Overhaul
Feb. 24, 2017  Immigrants and the Economy
Sep. 02, 2016  U.S.-Mexico Relations
Oct. 23, 2015  Immigrant Detention
Sep. 27, 2013  Border Security
Mar. 09, 2012  Immigration Conflict
Dec. 2010  Europe's Immigration Turmoil
Sep. 19, 2008  America's Border Fence
Feb. 01, 2008  Immigration Debate Updated
May 04, 2007  Real ID
May 06, 2005  Illegal Immigration
Jul. 14, 2000  Debate Over Immigration
Jan. 24, 1997  The New Immigrants
Feb. 03, 1995  Cracking Down on Immigration
Sep. 24, 1993  Immigration Reform
Apr. 24, 1992  Illegal Immigration
Jun. 13, 1986  Immigration
Dec. 10, 1976  Illegal Immigration
Dec. 13, 1974  The New Immigration
Feb. 12, 1964  Immigration Policy Revision
Feb. 06, 1957  Immigration Policy
Nov. 27, 1951  Emigration from Europe
Feb. 09, 1945  Immigration to Palestine
Sep. 30, 1940  Forced Migrations
Apr. 18, 1939  Immigration and Deportation
Jul. 27, 1931  Deportation of Aliens
Mar. 12, 1929  The National-Origin Immigration Plan
Aug. 19, 1927  Immigration from Canada and Latin America
Nov. 01, 1926  Quota Control and the National Origin System
Jul. 12, 1924  Immigration and its Relation to Political and Economic Theories and Party Affiliation
Immigration and Naturalization