CSU leader and former candidate for Chancellor Edmund Stoiber wants to cut social and welfare benefits for immigrants that refuse to integrate. At the end of June, an integration conference will take place and Stoiber finds that clear rules need to be negotiated when it comes to immigration.
Currently, cuts of these benefits are possible at the agency’s digression; however Stoiber wants to put it in a new law. But what makes someone what refuses to integrate? Stoiber says that they should respect German culture, have an ability to speak German and visit integration classes.
It seems that this narrow idea of integration has not been very successful. While some societies have initially created differentialist policies such as those in Germany and Saudi Arabia, where guest workers were not expected to become part of the society, others such as the U.S. have adopted assimilation policies that are aimed at integrating immigrants into the national culture. Neither approach seems particularly effective in today’s world as societies have grown more diverse and immigrant instreams have soared. Immigrants want to keep their culture of origin as well as become part of their new society.
A better approach for integration might be some sort of multiculturalism, which recognizes the value of diversity and supports multiple identities as is the case in Canada. In Australia, Canada and New Zealand official policies disclaiming multiculturalism exist. However, even in other countries, where other policies were originally employed, multiculturalism seems to be coming up. In the U.S. for example, local and state level policies reflect the multicultural idea. Where it used to be un-American or unpatriotic for immigrants to express pride for their ethnic identity, this is now normal. Though following the events of September 11, immigrants of Muslim or Arab descent now have somewhat of an uneasy feeling to express their culture and identity.
By allowing immigrants to keep part of their original culture and promoting an open cultural environment, immigrants are not marginalized and better integration of immigrants can take place in the long run.