This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Europe's Immigrant Issues

The nearly constant chatter about border issues in the United States can drown out the fact that Europe faces a regular barrage of undocumented immigrants, some of whom are even from within Europe itself. Although Romania joined the EU n 2007, France has recently "voluntarily repatriated" hundreds of Romas (also known as Gypsies) who were living there illegally, as reported by The Economist:
Announced last month by the French president and his ministers, the decision to dismantle Gypsy camps will see some 700 people with Romanian passports sent back to the country by the end of August. A first batch of 79 travellers is due to arrive in Bucharest today; another 131 have been sent to Timisoara.

So far, the returns are “voluntary”, meaning that each adult who opts to board a plane has received €300 ($385), along with €100 for each of their children. Acknowledging that they will not be able to stop the Roma from coming straight back, French officials have taken fingerprints in order to make sure such returnees do not receive any more handouts.

As this is going on, Greece has now become the go-to place for undocumented immigrants to enter the EU.

Greece has found itself on the sharp end of Europe’s illegal-immigration problem largely because its “competitors” have found ways of stemming the flow. Until 2007 most of the influx was shared between Greece, Italy and Spain. But bilateral deals, such as Italy’s with Libya and Spain’s with Senegal and Mauritania, have largely closed down the western and central Mediterranean routes into the EU. Greek attempts to negotiate a similar agreement with Turkey have stalled.

As is true in the United States, the influx of undocumented immigrants has slowed in response to the recession of the past two years, but as the economy picks up, so will the pace of immigration.

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