Most countries of the world, including industrialized countries, don’t have the capacity to effectively handle migration, says a report just released by the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental group with 132 member countries based in Geneva, Switzerland. (Hat tip to ImmigrationProf blog.)
Given all the debate over state and federal immigration policies in this country these days (i.e. over the DREAM Act), this report provides a useful perspective of how countries around the world are struggling to integrate immigrants into their societies. The United States, by the way, has the largest number of foreign-born people in the world, followed by the Russian Federation, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.
Particularly interesting is a chapter of the report that spells out the core areas countries need to focus on for successful integration of immigrants, which include education, simplifying rules on citizenship, promoting health care, and strengthening anti-discrimination policies and practices.
In the United States and Canada, the children of immigrants automatically become citizens, but that’s not the case in many European countries, where citizenship is attained some time after birth (true for France) or by those born only to a legal resident, as is the case in Belgium, Germany, and Ireland. In some other European countries, birthright citizenship is automatic only for the grandchildren of immigrants and beyond.
The report also notes that in some countries, the right to a compulsory education is not guaranteed for children of undocumented immigrants. (In the United States, that matter was settled with the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plyer v. Doe, which gave children the right to a free K-12 education regardless of their immigration status.)
The world economic crisis has slowed the mobility of people between countries in many parts of the world, but it doesn’t seem to have spurred immigrants to return to their home countries, according to the report. The report predicts that the slowdown of immigration is temporary.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.