EL PASO — When an immigrant in France is stopped and searched by police in a subway or airport, nobody looks twice. In France where immigrants are usually Muslims, North Africans, or Algerian that police action is a routine daily activity.
In the United States, where immigrant usually means Mexican, we would see that profiling by police as a violation of human rights.
But the United States is not the only country with immigration issues. Other countries around the globe also have to deal with immigrants entering their country illegally such as Central Americans migrating to Mexico.
Here in the U.S. undocumented immigrants are deported back to their homelands, which is not the case in other countries such as France.
Immigration Integration is a term used to describe immigrants who have the same opportunities as natives. “By immigrant integration I mean, when immigrants and their offspring have the same socio-economic opportunities (access to health care, education, jobs) as non-immigrant and non-ethnic groups,” said Ernesto Castaneda, assistant professor of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Castaneda says that immigration integration is not just all about policies “What matters at the end, is how immigrants actually do, what opportunities they have in the real life, and how they feel.”
Castaneda says he has been in many cities around the globe interviewing and speaking with immigrants. “I have interviewed hundreds of immigrants and their offspring in New York, El Paso, Paris, Barcelona, Guerrero, Mexico and throughout Algeria and Morocco.”
Immigrant integration is an important element of the immigration issue, he said. Many countries have their share of immigrants, and those immigrants play important roles by contributing in many ways.
In many areas, immigration is good for the immigrants and the receiving country, but if the immigrants feel excluded with nothing going for them, then they will start trouble. That becomes a problem for both the immigrants and the local police.
Policy makers measure how immigrants behave in their country and compare that to immigrant experiences in other countries. What they measure are their demographics such as age, level of education, and income.
Countries such as Spain and France do not include race, while in the U.S. the census tells demographic details about a person, including race. Particularly in France, they consider it illegal to ask about someone’s race. For the French racial differences do not exist.
Immigration integration usually refers to people from southern countries moving north to countries such as the U.S., France, and Spain. But people from the north do move to countries in North Africa and Mexico. Castaneda says that some French and Spanish citizens retire to countries in North Africa.