Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Monday, May 08, 2006

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose...

Fifty years later, discriminatory systems for international immigration are returning. And, of all places, to Holland, that former bastion of liberal thought and respect for human rights. A new law that has just gone into effect requires non-Dutch people seeking to reunite with their Dutch family members to pass a citizenship test that really defies reason. In the latest issue of Le Journal Hebdomadaire, a story outlines how this test plays out for Moroccans.

You might think, this is similar to the US test. There’s nothing wrong here. But passing the test enables one only to get a visa, not to become a citizen. That’s only one of at least three contradictions about the law.

First, the test is required only for immigrants from certain countries. European Union citizens, Americans, Swiss, Australians, and Japanese are mentioned as being excluded, although we don’t know who is included, apart from Moroccans. How was this list of excluded countries compiled? Exclude all very rich or very white countries, and include all poor, brown, and/or Muslim countries? While we’re doing the quota hokey-pokey, why not ban Blacks and Jews while we’re at it? The law is discriminatory.

Second, since when did an applicant’s knowledge of the values of his or her family member’s host country become a factor in deciding whether or not the applicant can be reunited with his or her family? Because my wife married an iconoclast, a man of limited intelligence, or an activist against Dutch nationalism, our children have to be separated from their father? The law is cruel, and not a very far distance from potential abuse as a political weapon.

Finally, it’s just plain wacky. One component of the exam tests Dutch language skills at a time when the Dutch themselves (and, indeed, all the Benelux and Scandinavian countries) are valuing multilingualism—finding, for example, English or German to be far more useful in the new Europe than Flemish or Danish alone. This development has come as Europe as a whole seems to be evolving three linguas franca (English—the language of business and politics—in addition to French and German), at least one of which all Europeans find it expedient to speak, along with their own little “mother tongues,” the extent of whose use is limited to one or two tiny European nooks and crannies, like Holland. It’s a well-known fact that nearly every Dutch adult who went through high school within the past 30 years knows at least a little English. So why cultivate all these Dutch-language nationalists among the immigrants!?

Here’s a list of the questions that were included in the article, with my answers below. You try it too!

1. What’s the name of the crown prince of Holland?
2. Can women choose their partners in Holland?
3. Which country has more inhabitants, Holland or Morocco?
4. Is homosexuality legal in Holland?
5. How long was the war between Holland and Spain in the 17th century?
6. Is violence against women punishable by law in Holland?
7. Which sector employs more workers in Holland, security or construction?

My answers...
1. No idea at all. The queen is Beatrix!
2. Yes
3. Morocco is twice the size of Holland, 32 million to 16 million
4. Better believe it
5. Oh man! Did the Thirty Years War really last 30 years, or is this one of those trick questions?
6. Yes
7. I would assume the labor-intensive construction sector, but with my luck I’d probably answer it during a crime wave and a real estate glut, and I’d get it wrong. How can this be considered a serious question? “I was denied a Dutch visa because I relied on obsolete data concerning the price of eggs in Guatemala...”?!


At 12:32 PM, Blogger AWG said...

I don't know about Holland, but I'm seeing what's happening in America.
Many countries are realizing that sensible and strong immigration policies are necessary in order to avoid all the serious problems that come along when borders aren't secured. As we're seeing here in America, illegal immigration is leading to higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc., etc. Any sovereign nation, faced with these problems, needs to do what it must to get the situation under control.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Yes, democratic governments can and will respond to problems as their constituents perceive them. But how to solve these problems without violating international treaties...

What's interesting is that these Moroccans are trying to go about it the legal way. If your spouse has a job and a legal status in a foreign country, the law states that you can join that spouse. They're going through all the hoops, and not hopping on a boat across the strait of Gibraltar.

When this door closes (the path of "legality"), then what other paths are remain open?

At 11:58 PM, Blogger AWG said...

Well, I would assume if they were married, they would go back to their country of origin in order to be together. I know I would. That's what I'm hearing with the situation here. That the illegal alien in the U.S. must have his family come here, rather than returning home to be with his family. His not being with his wife and children is shortchanging his family.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Oops, sorry I missed this. Well, it's a question of economics. As a married person, I know the difference between following the one spouse (me) with the lower earning capacity and living a poorer life, and following the one with the higher earning capacity (Rach), where we can enjoy a higher standard of living.

Happily, I could emigrate to Ohio, so we could enjoy medical benefits etc. And if Ohio deported me back to Missouri, she would of course come too. But any time anyone can get any decent job, the government shouldn't be jumpin in and saying they can't keep it without living apart from their family...


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