Conclusion: Lessons learned and their policy implications

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The studies presented in the preceding chapters are the product of several years of work, three major meetings, and a series of collaborative initiatives linking American to European experts. The contributors to this volume highlight various crucial aspects of the continuities in integration policies (legal, cultural, economic, political, and social), as well as the critical changes that have taken effect since 9/11. In combination, they therefore generate a healthy debate. They offer arguments emphasizing contrasting explanatory factors, employing differing techniques, and focusing on different levels of analysis. Furthermore, from their contrasting perspectives, they advocate varying conceptual approaches and are more or less sanguine about both the content and likelihood of success of public policies. Yet they all agree on one point: the necessity of de-emphasizing the current security phobia - thus looking beyond the public's fears - and with it a singular emphasis on a narrow set of policies that encourage alienation and radicalization. The dominant route, we argue, not only fails to address the contemporary threat. Rather, paradoxically, it promotes both the real roots of radicalization as well as aspects of civil insecurity (such as and collaboratively with the issue of ethnic and religious diversity). Discrimination and alienation only further serve to aggravate tensions. Socioeconomic integration must be treated as a priority. It is the most efficient tool to fight negative perceptions of minorities by the host societies and thereby to decrease the feeling of alienation that fosters radicalization. It is this theme, along with the formulation and implementation of public policies, to which we return in this conclusion. Beyond academic discourse, our collective goal has been to build a bridge to the policy community. We therefore hope - and believe - that these chapters collectively produce far more than a series of informed and in some cases counterintuitive findings that may prove illuminating beyond the limited circle of those who study immigration and integration policy. If our efforts to do so have proven successful, what major policy lessons may be gleaned from the preceding chapters? In this brief conclusion, we point to seven that may prove of significance to policy makers seeking to balance concerns about civic and national security with those of civil liberties through the lens of integration policy in Europe and the United States. First, there is strong evidence that the securitization of immigration and integration issues has proven detrimental to the public's perception and accommodation of minority groups. The "security escalation" - which, paradoxically, enhances insecurity - was illustrated in the United States by the USA PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 2, the REAL ID Act, and other policy initiatives based on an expansive use of the notion of civil security. Likewise, in Europe, the 2002 European Union (EU) Council's "Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism" provided a very broad definition of terrorist activities, including acts "causing extensive destruction to a government or public facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on a continental shelf, a public space or private property likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss."1 The "Framework Decision" identified terrorism, in its Article One, as "one of the most serious violations of the universal values and principles" on which the EU is founded, as well as a "threat to democracy, and economic and social development." Beyond a physical threat to civilian life, terrorism was therefore perceived as also being directed against the very foundations of the EU in terms of political and economic structures and fundamental principles (such as dignity, solidarity, the rule of law and democracy). As the implementation of the fight against terrorism still remains the preserve of EU member states, the 2002 "Framework Decision" has only set minimum standards for state behavior. Member states were free to go farther, by establishing their own list of terrorist groups and additional terrorist offenses. This broad and vague definition of terrorism thus allowed European governments to extend the list of criminal offenses, a list that has served agendas distinct from fighting terrorism.2 In 2005, the commission released a communication addressing the issue of the violent radicalization and recruitment of terrorists, and the following year set up an expert group on the subject.3 This process of securitization at the regional and national level put immigrants in a highly vulnerable situation vis-?vis their host societies. Various studies have shown that this often leads to a situation in which the "non-national" is encapsulated into a category of suspect, criminal, or even terrorist. The securitisation of integration of immigrants needs to be condemned by stating that an immigrant, or the citizen who is still considered as such because of his or her particular ethnic origin, is not a criminal, a threat or a security issue, and by acknowledging the multiplicity of factors that take part in any social conflict, instability and acts of political violence at national and transnational level.4 The trend needs to be counteracted by proactive policies promoting the idea that an immigrant (or the citizen who is still considered as such because of his or her particular ethnic origin) is neither de facto a criminal nor a security threat. Furthermore, those same states need to sever the implied linkage between terrorism and civil unrest. The goals, as well as the means, fundamentally differ; terrorists seek eradication of these societies, while protestors seek a greater opportunity for incorporation or policy shifts within the societies in which they live. Second, the evidence presented in this volume challenges stereotypes regarding the degree and form of national integration policy. Debates among scholars working on European integration policy have tended to be organized around questions concerning the virtues and durability of multicultural and assimilationist models, often contrasting the British with French cases. The United States, in contrast, is regarded as having no state integration policy, reliant instead on civic and market mechanisms of integration. Some of the work presented in this volume suggests that the challenges posed by Arab and Muslim migration have resulted in the abandonment of such traditional postures - if indeed they ever existed. Both Garbaye's and Choudhury's chapters portray UK authorities as having decidedly shifted away from a multicultural posture, with France and Britain in many ways converging. The Dutch, according to Duyvendak, Hurenkamp, and Tonkens, have rejected both formulations in favor of a monocultural approach remarkable for its intolerance. If these shifts in principles and practice did not pose enough of a challenge to our foundational understanding of integration policy, then Schain's rejection of the notion that the United States has no state integration policy, indeed his claim that the United States has a "muscular" one carried out through the conduit of diversity policy, has profound implications for our understanding of the treatment of landed immigrants and their descendents. Schain presents us with the paradoxical proposition that while the United States has a policy (albeit by default), some European states (notably France) have been shifting away from a historic reliance on political incorporation through a process of citizenship. Faced with the evolving character of migrant communities, policy makers across the Atlantic need, however, to expand beyond the narrow focus on citizenship by providing further opportunities for political participation. A better civic integration of minority groups would serve to limit the number of those who think that violence is the only option for expressing their claims for recognition and equal rights. Such measures might include the formation of migrant political organizations or parties, and the recognition of ethno-religious organizations as dialogue partners and their participation in relevant advisory and management structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManaging Ethnic Diversity after 9/11
Subtitle of host publicationIntegration, Security, and Civil Liberties in Transatlantic Perspective
PublisherRutgers University Press
Pages276-284
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780813547169
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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