How Integration Took over the Immigration Agenda - from 'bad Idea' to 'best Practice'

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Moritz JESSE , Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Over the last 20 years, European States have seen a drastic change in their approach to immigrant integration. From a rights based vision founded on the (legal) empowerment of the individual immigrant, with close-to equal rights as the best practice regarding integration; Europe has moved to a situation where integration is seen as a string of formal acts immigrants have to perform in order to obtain rights. Equal rights or naturalization is regarded as the final step of integration rather than jts beginning. From an essential tool for integration, rights have developed to a reward for achieving formal integration requirements. This is problematic because legalistic, and formal integration requirements, such as passing a language or knowledge of host society exam, say nothing about real, i.e. social, integration of newcomers. Also, such formalistic approach to integration disregards that the host society also has a role in the integration of migrants. Nevertheless, the formalized approach to integration is regarded as best practice in most eu member states, including new destinations of or immigrants, such as Spain, Greece, orItaly 

This paper will (1) map the paradigm change from a rights based approach to integration to a reward driven formalistic approach to integration in Europe over the last 20 years; (2) display the detrimental effects of these changes on the potential for inclusion of migrants into host societies; and (3) assess whether it is time to move back to a more rights based approach to integration for the sake of more chances to inclusion for immigrants.