Thursday, 15 December 2011

British concern about immigration


Some extracts from the recently released Transatlantic Trend survey of public opinion on immigration.
There was high disapproval of government
management of immigration, with 68% of
Europeans and 73% of Americans believing
that their governments are doing a poor or
very poor job. The most discontented were the
Italian respondents, 83% of whom believed
their government is doing a poor or very
poor job managing immigration. This was an
increase from 70% in 2010.

In 2011, 52% of Europeans and 53% of Americans
polled saw immigration as more of a problem
than an opportunity, with the strongest
pessimism in the United Kingdom (68%)

Compared to other countries,
respondents in the United States and United
Kingdom were the most worried about stress
on public services, with 63% of respondents
agreeing that immigrants place a burden on
social services.

Publics on both sides of the
Atlantic were optimistic about the success of
immigrant integration (52% of Europeans
and 56% of Americans), and even more
positive about the integration of the “second
generation” or children of immigrants.
Sixty-five percent of Europeans and 74%
of Americans considered the children of
immigrants to be well or very well integrated.
Many Europeans still viewed Muslim
immigrants as less well integrated than
immigrants in general
, though members of
the second generation were seen as better
integrated than their parents. Spanish
respondents were the most concerned, with
64% deeming Muslim immigrants to be poorly
or very poorly integrated, compared to a 53%
European average

This is naive. All the evidence shows that every new generation of Muslims is more extreme than the one before it.

There are many other signs of lingeringly naive attitudes about immigration, although you can't rule out trick questions having been asked to get these results.
Support for a European Union
responsibility to set national-level immigration
numbers increased to 42% this year, though
the Southern European countries still show
far greater interest than other parts of

Europeans in general were very open
to helping countries in North Africa and the
Middle East experiencing the turmoil and aftermath of the Arab
Spring with either trade (84% in favor) or
development aid (79% in favor), though they
were wary of opening their labor markets to
migrants from the region (47% in favor) and
would prefer that migrants who were admitted
stay only temporarily.

It's amazing that anyone still believes believes the guest worker "they'll go home after a few years" line.
Majorities in all countries were worried about
illegal immigration, with a European average
of 67% and concern highest in Italy (80%) and
Spain (74%). Worry about legal immigration,
however, was low, with only 26% of European
respondents expressing worry, and lowest in the
United States where only 18% of respondents
expressed worry.

This is ludicrous. Legal immigration is more of a threat than illegal immigration.
The public was sympathetic to the
plight of migrants forced to flee their homes
for a number of reasons: to avoid persecution,
armed conflict, and natural disaster. Fewer
but still a majority of respondents were also
in favor of accepting migrants seeking to
avoid poverty. Respondents in Spain (76%),
Italy (68%), and the United States (64%) were
the most supportive of those fleeing poor
economic conditions, compared to a European
average of 58%.

Patronising article in the Guardian about it here.
In fact, across the five European states majorities of citizens consider immigration to be more of a problem than opportunity, and view immigrants as a burden on social services. This suggests that despite significant efforts by western governments to make the case for rising diversity, large numbers of voters remain unconvinced. This is especially true in the UK, where over two-thirds of respondents labelled immigration problematic. In fact, public concern and scepticism about this issue was strongest in the UK. Interestingly, the British are significantly more anxious over this issue than voters in countries that have far more successful anti-immigrant populist parties.

Meanwhile, the propaganda continues.

In view of an ageing of European society, first of all it must be seen that we are going to need immigrant workers from these countries. It would be a good thing. Immigration has to be seen as positive.

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