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Immigration: Why Assimilation is Critical

Immigrants stand on shaky ground as the Charlie Hebdo massacre incites xenophobic sentiments across the West. Critics have come forth to judge France’s relaxed immigration policies, deeming them dangerous and defective. The Islamist radicals responsible for the death of twelve French stand as an example of this view.

For this faction, the Charlie Hebdo massacre is not a matter of free speech limitation at all. Many believe the attack was a direct result of France’s failure to assimilate their newcomers. In addition, they question the government’s continued flow of immigrants when the problems with those already there have not been addressed.

The pattern developing within France is troublesome. Immigrants are failing to integrate; therefore, those of the same background tend to band together. Feeling isolated by their surroundings and by a foreign culture, the tendency towards radicalization is inevitable.

The shootings confirmed this trend. As France faces this reality, it may opt to curb immigration. France must also be ready to confront the racism that will target the country’s minorities. Instead of becoming anti-islam, France should take action to become more anti-discrimination.

Currently, France holds the largest Muslim population in Europe, and still there were 50 anti-islamic attacks the week following the Charlie Hebdo incident. Furthermore, the once unpopular French National Front is gaining support on account of its anti-immigration policies. With such a large Muslim base, it will be dangerous if France begins to turn against itself.

The debate in France spreads across seas as the Charlie Hebdo massacre has influenced American politics. The immigration battle has been reignited, and Republicans are using Charlie to condemn Obama’s more open policies. The House managed to overturn Obama’s long-prepared immigration bill, saying it will endanger the US. Democrats fired back and held that the president’s executive action will make America safer by allowing millions to register and go through background checks.

The issue of immigration cannot be considered without the subsequent problem of assimilation. Every nation must be ready to combat the dilemma as the world is only growing more connected.

Written by Maddie Vaziri’16


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