John Bennett, American Thinker, June 9, 2014
Many Western nations are restricting immigration because of popular anger at the unwelcome changes brought about by mass immigration. America seems to be the rare country with the misfortune of having politicians who won’t stand up for citizens.
How many nations around the world have to be thrown into crisis and division for us to learn that mass immigration is not always a positive? Israel, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Norway are just a few of the Western nations that energetically guard their territorial integrity, and some party leaders in those countries openly explain why they do so.
Israel’s “smart fence” protects “the character of the country”
When faced with a massive influx of African immigrants, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2011, “This growing wave threatens Israelis’ jobs, is changing the character of the country and we must stop it.” That is what any true leader would say, if he or she desired to protect and preserve the concept of national identity.
Over the last several years, an inflow of illegal aliens from Africa led to major tensions within Israel over what to do about illegal immigration. In Tel Aviv in 2012, a crisis of rising crime, disorder, and rape infuriated locals, and many saw the crisis as being brought on by the illegal aliens, called “illegal infiltrators” in Israel. Over 1,000 local citizens demonstrated against what they saw as uninvited infiltrators, carrying signs that read: “Return them now,” and “If we keep silent we will become strangers in our own neighborhoods.”
The Tel Aviv protests intensified after several horrendous rapes. In one, two African migrants were arrested for raping a 15-year-old, while a third held the victim’s boyfriend. Several months later, demonstrations followed the rape of an 83-year-old Israeli woman. The elderly woman, said police, “was raped and beaten for hours in the courtyard of her apartment building near the central bus station in south Tel Aviv by a young Eritrean migrant,” according to the Jerusalem Post. Police were able to trace the assailant’s DNA because he had a prior arrest for trying to steal a woman’s bag.
Seventy-year-old Sophie Menashe of Tel Aviv reportedly says, “South Tel Aviv is South Sudan now. It’s no longer Tel Aviv[.] . . . And I’m scared all the time.”
Israel’s immigration and border protection policy is not simply based in security concerns. Issues of crime and cultural cohesion also play a large role in shaping Israel’s approach to immigration. That approach has included the construction of a sophisticated barrier fence, aggressive deportation, and the use of the military to protect the border. The Israeli military has, over the last several years, turned away huge numbers of African asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, at the border. The Israeli army position is that it will act to “prevent illegal infiltration” as per “directives from the political echelon.” Also, the Israeli cabinet devotes resources to enforce the law against illegal aliens and their employers.
Israel protects its border, motivated in part by an awareness of the great civilizational importance of national boundaries. “Just like the Chinese protected themselves and defended themselves with the Great Wall,” PM Netanyahu says, “so we will continue to defend ourselves on the southern border, the Golan Heights and on all fronts.”
How, and why, has Israel enacted an effective border strategy, while we have not? Israel is uniquely threatened by its immediate neighbors, but surely national defense is not the only reason to have an effective fence and a genuine border. While it’s true that our border would require a longer fence, the length of our borders is a reason to take illegal immigration seriously, not a reason to surrender our sovereignty. Building an effective fence is just a matter of available technology and political will. Put another way, the national will to survive–with a distinct national culture–is all it takes to justify a real border.
Britain’s Most Popular Party Calls for Five-Year Immigration Moratorium
In England, arguably the nation most similar to our own in customs, both major parties pledged to restrict immigration, and popular backlash forced PM Cameron to set a cap on immigration. Labour Party head Ed Milliband, a possible future PM, says, “I do want to get low skill immigration down and therefore overall immigration down.” PM David Cameron said last year, “Net migration needs to come down radically . . . from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands.”
The two major parties are being forced into those positions by popular opposition to mass immigration, which has given rise to a pro-citizen third party, UKIP–now the most popular party in Britain. The leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, recommends a five-year immigration moratorium. Farage points out, “In scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.”
Britain has had to endure rioters on welfare, the 7/7 bombings, the savage slaying of Lee Rigby, and the transformation of entire English neighborhoods into autonomous Islamic enclaves. One influential radical cleric, who is on English welfare, encourages Muslims to go on welfare as a form of plunder and jizya, or an extra tax imposed on non-Muslims. The British have begun to fight back, as UKIP’s success shows.
France’s Marine Le Pen: “Immigration is an organized replacement of our population.”
The French, unsurprisingly, are demonstrating a desire to maintain their sovereignty, starting with stricter control over their national border to control a spike in illegal immigration. The “far-right” party Front National achieved a record victory in last month’s EU election, finishing ahead of France’s two major parties. The EU election was described in the European press as an “earthquake” and a “breakthrough” for FN. Speaking about immigration, the FN’s president, Marine Le Pen, bluntly says:
Immigration is an organized replacement of our population. This threatens our very survival. We don’t have the means to integrate those who are already here. The result is endless cultural conflict.
Famous author Jean Raspail expresses the seriousness of French feelings towards immigration:
The model of integration isn’t working. Even if a few more illegals are escorted to the border and we succeed in integrating foreigners a bit more than today, their numbers will not stop growing and that will change nothing in the fundamental problem: the progressive invasion of France and Europe by a numberless third-world . . . They expect nothing of [their own governments] . . . They turn to us and arrive in Europe in boats, ever more numerous . . .
The FN’s rise appears to be a healthy reaction to the challenges posed by immigration in France. High rates of welfare use highlight immigrants’ purposeful refusal to assimilate, which brings France to the brink of a social catastrophe.
The Swiss Send “Shockwaves” with Immigration Restrictions
In February, Swiss voters sent “shockwaves” through the European PC open borders establishment by narrowly passing a national referendum to limit immigration from EU nations. The reasons were simple: the Swiss people have a long-standing concern about being “swamped” by foreigners, and strict limits on immigration are intended to maintain their national identity. Also, justifiable public outrage over “welfare tourism” demanded a response.
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) promoted the referendum initiative. SVP head Toni Brunner said, “We have too much immigration. With our initiative, Switzerland gets back the ability to control and restrict and select appropriate personnel for the job market.”
Defying the social, political, and economic “ruling class,” the referendum demonstrated “the people’s exercise of their sovereign power,” as Angelo Codevilla writes. The immigration referendum follows a 2013 referendum to restrict asylum, which passed with 78% of the popular vote, and a 2009 ban on the construction of minarets.
Widespread Pro-Citizen Sentiment in Italy
Sixty-four percent of Italians, a higher percentage than the people of any country in a 47-country Pew Research poll, see immigration as a “very big problem.” Italian views toward immigration are shaped in part by the startling experience of Lampedusa, a small Mediterranean island.
The island has become a favorite target for African and Middle Eastern “migrants” and “asylum” seekers, many of whom are in fact economic migrants.
Boatload after boatload of “migrants” attempt illegal entry to Lampedusa. Once they arrive, their sense of entitlement quickly boils over. Lampedusa’s mayor says, “We have here young Tunisians who arrogantly want everything immediately, just like criminals, ready to endanger our lives and theirs.” Italian journalist Enza Ferreri described one of the vibrant cultural encounters that ensued:
At the height of the immigration flux, confronted with an unprecedented crisis and left to their own devices to deal with it, the people of Lampedusa used ‘direct action’ methods.
They stopped the Italian Coast Guard patrol boat, loaded with still more ‘rescued’ North Africans. Women occupied the harbour and docks, chained themselves, overturned wheelie bins and blocked the road. Fishermen pulled boats to the entrance to the harbour. ‘Nobody enters here any more,’ the women shouted from the quay where patriotic flags were flying. To chants of ‘freedom!’ they raised a banner: ‘We are full.’
Last year, a boatload of “clandestine immigrants” capsized on the way to the island, and hundreds drowned. For his part, the pope chimed in and attempted to make the Italians feel guilty for the fact that thousands of unwelcome aliens foolishly endanger themselves in their reckless effort to enter Italy illegally.
Despite all of the manufactured guilt, and all of the theoretical enrichment that immigration is supposed to bring, the Italians remain unconvinced.
Norway–“Some people feel they’re waking up one morning and their old neighborhood is gone.”
You know the neighborhood has gone downhill when the liberal social workers leave. The New York Times told the partially amusing story of the Ulvestrand family, who decided to leave their Norwegian hometown when too many immigrants moved in. Ms. Ulvestrand, whom the Times described as “a former development worker in Latin America and a social worker with Norway’s immigrants,” revealed her preferences with her feet. “I loved the forest and had friends, but ethnic Norwegians were moving out, so my children were losing friends,” she told the Times.
“After a while we discovered that when kids were 5 or 6, everyone moved out. We wanted a stable environment, and we had some questions about the social challenges at the school.” The “social challenges” evidently outweighed the strengths of diversity for the social worker.
“I felt a bit guilty about moving, having worked in Latin America with minorities and defending their rights,” she said. “It wasn’t just ethnic Norwegians, it was anyone with resources moved out.” In other words, her left-wing ideology didn’t matter as much as her children’s future. Of course, people like her still go on supporting mass immigration and welfare dependence; she’ll just evade the consequences of her sensitivities by distancing herself from certain towns and neighborhoods.
Quite understandably, some Norwegians ask why they should sponsor welfare for people who don’t share their values. A leader of Norway’s Progress Party told the Times:
Some people feel they’re waking up one morning and their old neighborhood is gone . . . Strangers move in and people don’t even understand what they’re saying; we have a generous welfare system, and you feel a stranger in your own neighborhood.
Welfare abuse in Norway led to the introduction of the term “naving,” named for NAV, the Norwegian welfare bureaucracy Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. “Naving” was named the most popular new Norwegian word of the year in 2012. Earlier this year, one Progress Party leader called for a national referendum to restrict immigration, inspired by the Swiss example.
Israel, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Norway. The people of these nations cannot be dismissed as thoughtless or xenophobic. The nationalist leadership of Europe and Israel put America’s politicians to shame. Underlying this contrast, it is sad to say, the citizens of those nations–in the aggregate–have spoken out with more patriotism and a greater sense of national self-preservation than Americans have so far.