Italy and France are coming up against more and more problems with immigration this year. While the United States is constantly experiencing conflict over its immigrant problem, Europe is starting to follow this trend. In the United States, people entering from other countries must have a visa (although in some countries, a person can get a visa waiver, but this only includes a select few). This is the U.S.’s way of keeping out too many immigrants. The visa process is long and arduous and can be quite a pain for someone coming from a foreign country for the first time. Leaders in the U.S. (and many citizens) fear that their country will become overpopulated if people are let in freely because many may stay and not go back to their homeland.
In the European Union, on the other hand, there has been visa-free travel across borders since it was implemented in the 1990s. However, now that Europe is receiving so many African immigrants into their countries, some are starting to question the visa-free policy. For example, in Italy, over 23,000 migrants have arrived since January. And in France, over 1,000 North Africans have been turned away at their border (Donadio, New York Times). In Italy, the main problem is so many of the African immigrants are coming to their country and are not being able to freely cross into other countries. Italy wants this policy changed, but they are being rejected.
“President Nicolas Sarkozy [of France] is contending with the rise of the hard-right National Front, known for its anti-immigrant stance, while fears about immigration are also shaping German politics” (Donadio, New York Times). The issues rising in the European Union are starting to mimic the immigration problems in the United States. While the E.U. has not even started to secure its borders the way the U.S. has, it is something that is changing European countries drastically. As the anti-immigrant group in France increases in size, this may mean some major change in France. After so much North African immigration has occurred very recently, it may have caused fear and resentment toward these immigrants (especially with the crisis in Libya) and this shows the similarity to the feeling many Americans have toward a large immigrant population of Mexicans.
By Desiree Colson
Immigration in Canada has come in a few waves throughout history, just like in the United States, the 1800s and 1900s being the most notable periods. Canada has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world. The reason for this is that it does not restrict its borders the way the United States does. Many immigrants want to move to North America. Since it is not as easy to immigrate to the U.S., many choose to immigrate to Canada instead. While there is some illegal immigration to Canada as well as the U.S., not much enforcement occurs in Canada, making it difficult to keep track of the illegal immigrants in the country. However, Canada does not necessarily want to keep immigrants away from their borders the way many heavily trafficked borders of the United States (such as the California-Mexican border) are in charge of doing.
Canada also is constantly looking for ways to improve immigration rights in the country and make living in a new country as easy as possible, especially since the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of 2002. For Canada, more immigration is more important than keeping immigrants out. Robert Vineberg wrote that “The reality is that our labor market and our economy need more immigrants. Let's stop talking about the obstacles to admitting the increasing number of immigrants that Canada needs and start talking about how to make the policy changes necessary to responsibly increase Canada's annual immigration intake.” Although Canada does require a visa for Mexican citizens to enter its borders, it lets everyone else in much more easily than the U.S. does. However, on the negative side, certain occurrences in other parts of the world sometimes influence Canada’s policies on immigration. Currently, there is a controversial movement under way to ban people from Islamic countries from migrating to Canada (Canadian Visa Bureau). This is something that is in a way echoed in the U.S.’s problems with immigration because there are many people in the United States who would like to ban certain groups from the borders of the country. However, only time will tell what will really happen to the U.S.’s and Canada’s borders and their immigration policies.