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Immigration: how do the US and EU compare?


Immigration: how do the US and EU compare?

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Valérie Gauriat

Valérie, you have reported on immigration on many occasions. How would you say US policies compare to those of Europe?

Valérie Zabriskie

Well, I think that the biggest difference is, of course, that the United States is one country and the European Union is 28 sovereign nations.

So we saw, for example, in my report in Huston, when a governor, like the Texas governor, tried to say they did not want to take in any more Syrian refugees, they can’t, simply because the Refugee Act is a federal act and it is decided in Washington.

Whereas, with the European Union, we saw with the refugee crisis that Brussels tried to impose quotas on the EU, which did not work, and even when they asked EU countries, they could decide “yes or no” whether they wanted to take in refugees.

But I do think that both in the US and the EU, immigration laws are going to toughen.

In the US, ever since 9-11, there has been a drive to make immigration laws tougher and the EU, with the Eurozone crisis, it seems now that on both sides of the Atlantic there is a call to build walls.

Valérie Gauriat

Now, both parties – Republicans and Democrats – say that the American model, when it comes to dealing with immigration, must be revamped. So what are they actually proposing ?

Valérie Zabriskie

Well, Donald Trump, we can summon up one word: wall. Even he said, you know, he is taking the hardline position, he wants to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.

But he has also said that in the States we have 11 million illegal immigrants and he says he is going to deport them all.

But he will let the “good ones” back in once they go through tests and all that security.

Hillary Clinton – she is going for the more compassionate approach. She is saying that, within the first 100 days, she is going to propose a complete reform of the Immigration Act which will include, for undocumented workers – if they prove that they can pay their back taxes – that they will have an easier path towards becoming citizens.

But, in the past, we have seen that both Republican and Democratic Presidents Bush and Obama have failed in their reforms.

Valérie Gauriat

But Valerie, isn’t there ultimately a risk that all the emphasis put on immigration in the campaign could bounce back on the candidates. In other words, could it be counter-effective?

Valérie Zabriskie

Well, I think we are talking about one candidate in particular, Donald Trump, who hasn’t exactly made a lot of friends with his comments about Muslims, Mexicans and even women.

But now that we are getting closer to the November election date, Trump is starting to tone down his message. He is saying, for example, that he is not anti-Muslim, he is just anti-terror, that he has a lot of Hispanic friends that he knows are hard-working, so we will see.

The race is getting tighter, the latest opinion polls show that. It is going to be the undecided vote, which is quite large, it is going to be the undecided vote, I think, which will decide which way the elections turn out.

Valérie Gauriat

Thank you, Valérie.

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