Immigration- even the term, itself can be considered controversial. Raising the topic runs the risk of sounding racist or small-minded. The entire discussion has become warped, due to the fear of not being ‘politically correct’, both with ordinary citizens, and politicians. This had led to key issues surrounding a very important topic being glossed over or dismissed entirely. Purely to avoid any hint of not following the normative belief, which is that everyone is welcome no matter what. This has to stop. By avoiding the entirely issue, it leads to the general public becoming more and more frustrated, until the entire issue is blown out of proportion.
Immigration, in the correct numbers has unlimited benefits to society. Job vacancies and skills gaps can be filled, services with an ageing population can be maintained, and the pension gap can be filled by the contributions of new workers through correct taxation. Furthermore, the Department for Employment and Learning found that migrants have a positive influence of the productivity or efficiency of local workers and contribute new ideas and a fresh approach to organisations. It is almost undeniable that immigration is vital to a country with an ageing population, such as the UK. However, this does not seem to be the current mood of the UK’s general public.
In 2015, Migration Observatory reported that 56% of the general public would prefer the level of immigration to be “reduced a lot” and a further 21% wished immigration to be “reduced a little”. When asked about immigration within or outside of the EU the figures where 51% and 49% respectively. Suggesting this is not a “race issue” or even a “Muslim issue” as many tabloid newspapers suggest. This is a mass immigration issue: the numbers of immigrants currently entering the UK is too high for the country to assimilate.
When immigration is controlled and in small numbers, the migrants tend to integrate within society. They typically live within the heart of the community, send their children to the local schools and participate in neighbourhood activities. This in turn enables the immigrants to become fully immersed in the culture of the new community. This does not mean sacrificing their heritage; if anything they can educate their local community on their culture and country of origin. The problems start when migrants create microcosms of their country of origin within the new community, and as such are less likely to integrate within society. This is what Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for presidency in the United States has noticed. When countries allow mass immigration, especially if it takes the form of large numbers of one community, it will lead to microcosms forming within society and rifts erupting between the local citizens and immigrants. And Trump makes a good point, mass immigration leads to resentment between different ethnicities within society.
However, Trump has made a mistake, he has assumed that only Muslims are the problem, and as such has suggested a complete shutdown of all Muslims entering America. This will not work. The problem does not lie within one ethnicity, but the immigration policy of the country complaining. Large numbers of immigrants into their country, no matter what their ethnicity, it will cause rifts within society and lead to the scapegoating of that ethnicity and potentially racism.
England has ignored their problem with mass immigration for so long that it has lead to divides within its country, and allowed the rise of extremist parties such as Britain First and the British Nationalist Party to gain traction. Furthermore, race-related hate crimes are on the rise, and unfortunately Muslims are bearing the brunt of it. This had lead to them feeling ostracised from society, and potentially been a causal factor in the rise in extremism, as it is allot easier to radicalise someone who has not attachment to their society.
However, this problem has been ignored for potentially years, as politicians did not want to appear racist by acknowledging the problem in the first place. The damage has been done, and now it is time to look for solutions. First of all, the level of immigration in the UK going forwards needs to be reduced. Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, this task will be a lot easier, as hopefully Britain will no longer be constrained by the EU principles of freedom of movement. Although controversial, once immigrants have gained UK citizenship, they should not be allowed to bring their extended family into the UK, as this is a factor in the creation of microcosms. Then, once the level of immigration had been reduced to a level in which microcosms can no longer form, the government should also focus on the integration of migrants into British society. In January 2016, David Cameron suggested a £20m plan to teach English to Muslim women, living in the UK. More schemes like this need to be introduced so that the rift between immigrants and British citizens can be closed. Or there is a risk of Britain losing its liberal multicultural status.
Therefore, Trump is partially right on his views on immigration. He understands that immigration in larger numbers can lead to rifts within society; as well as understanding that the lack of coverage on the issue, both by the media and politicians, has only made the problem worse. However, he is mistaken in believing the religion or ethnicity of the immigrants plays any part in the creation of microcosms, and as a result cultural clashes. A complete ban on Muslims, or any other religion or ethnicity, entering either the United States or the United Kingdom will not even begin to fix the cultural rifts within society. Instead, governments throughout the Western World should focus on aiding the integration of the immigrants already in their countries, and decreasing the level of future immigration.