|Portugal and immigration|
|Throughout all her history, Portugal remained undoubtedly the most ethnically stable country in the whole of Europe. The only reasonable minorities the country ever had, were the Jews, the Moors and the Gypsies.|
|Many of the so-called Moors, were nothing more than Christians living under Moorish rule. There were real North Africans and even a handful of Arabs living in the Peninsula, but most of the Muslims were converted Iberians. One could always mention that during the conquest of the city of Santarem, all the Moors in the city were put to the sword. The siege that placed Lisbon under Christian rule in 1147, forced the whole Moorish population - some 20.000 individuals - to leave the city and flee to southern Portugal, which was at the time still under Moorish rule. After the Reconquista, some skilled Moorish artisans avoided forced conversion for obvious reasons: their services were simply too valuable. Most unskilled labourers didn't have that edge, and either converted or left the country. The last date that I know of where the word "Moors" is mentioned, is in a document from 1497 about the expulsion of the Jews from the realm. Even assuming that there were still a few Moors living in Portugal during the XVI century, even these were probably kicked out during Phillip II's reign, when he expelled the remaining Moors from the Peninsula. As it is known, Phillip II was the joint ruler of both Spain and Portugal.|
|The Jewish presence in the Peninsula dates back to the beginning of the Christian Age. Joseph of Arimathea, the Jew that reportedly carried the Holy Grail to Britain, was apparently a merchant that was already familiarised with the trade routes that linked Britain to the Iberian Peninsula. Despite the likeliness of the presence of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula at least since the Roman conquest, it is in 70 AD, when the Roman legions conquer and burn Jerusalem, that Jewish refugees flooded most of the Roman Empire, including the Iberian Peninsula. The Jews that descend from these "Iberian" Jews are called Sephardic Jews. During the Gothic rule of the Peninsula (particularly after the Goths' conversion to Christianity), we witness the first signs of religious persecution. The Moorish invasion of 711 probably felt like a breath of fresh air to the Jewish community. Despite the (sometimes prohibitive) religious tax the Muslims imposed on all "infidels", the Jews were allowed to carry on with their lives, free from any sort of persecution. During the Moorish rule, commerce, science, and culture all thrived in Al-Andaluz - and to a great extent, all thanks to the Jewish community.|
|When the Christians took over, the situation got harsher for the Iberian Jews. Many Jews had important positions under the Moors, and their role during the Reconquista wasn't to be forgotten easily. The Jews were often used as scapegoats, and many times the only thing between their necks and the sword was a bribe in gold or silver. The worst of all was that unlike the Moors, the Jews were a pariah population. In 1497, the Jews were expelled from Portugal, but the same didn't happen to the remaining Moors because the king feared North African reprisals.
Despite all the above, the situation for the Portuguese Jews was much better than the one faced by their Spanish neighbours. In 1483, Tomas de Torquemada becomes the head of the ill-famed Spanish Inquisition. Thousands of Jews flee to Portugal and to Granada, fearing religious persecution. In 1492, Granada is conquered, and Portugal receives another batch of Jews. As their numbers grew, so did religious intolerance due to the quick influx of foreigners. In 1497, the king D. Manuel I of Portugal was given the hand of the Spanish princess and heir to the throne. The king's son with the Spanish princess would become the king of a united Iberian kingdom, making it the most powerful kingdom in Europe. There was a catch, though: Portugal had to get rid of the Jews, if there was to be a marriage. And so, many Jews were forced to convert to Catholicism, or faced expulsion. Every Jew younger than 14 whose parents had refused to convert to Christianity, was converted and sent to a foster family to be educated as a Catholic. These conversions were made mostly upon the Spanish Jews, as the king considered that the Portuguese Jews were Portuguese citizens. The king knew the worth of the Jewish community: they paid taxes, they added manpower to his small country, many were skilled artisans, while others were scholars (Pedro Nunes, the most important Portuguese scientist of the XVI century descended from Jews that had converted to Christianity) and they had an important role in the administration of the realm. The king protected the Jews whenever he could, and there are reports of the royal troops saving Jews from being lynched, and of Christians being executed for murdering Jews. With the introduction of the Inquisition in Portugal, throughout the XVI and XVII centuries many Iberian Jews fled to Brazil, to Holland, to Britain, to the Ottoman Empire, and to many other places. The first Jews in New Amsterdam (New York) were Portuguese, and the reason why the former Dutch colony of Curaçao is remarkably similar to the Portuguese word "coração" [heart] is pretty obvious. The city of Amsterdam itself has a Portuguese synagogue. In the XIX century, the Jewish community in Portugal was practically invisible. During WWII, Portugal was a part of the escape route that linked western Europe to the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Jews stopped in Portugal on their way to America, as they fled the Nazi persecution. They were welcomed in the country, and some decided to settle in Portugal. The Jewish community in Portugal presently numbers ~2000 individuals.
|According to a recent genetic study, there is - as expected - some minor Jewish admixture in the Portuguese population. It is not that uncommon to find Portuguese men and women with light traces of Jewish admixture, particularly if they come from Central Portugal.|
|The Gypsies [source]|
|According to legend, the Gypsies originally came from a southern province of Hindustan (in modern-day Pakistan). When the Persian Shah asked king Shangul of Hindustan for skilled entertainers, the later selected 12.000 individuals from the Zott tribe. These individuals called themselves "Romas", a sanskrit word that means "man of the low caste of musician". Romanian records of 1385 mention the presence of a tribe called atsigani. During the 15th century, they wandered all over Europe, and some eventually reached Portugal. The Gypsies were never well regarded in Portugal, probably since their arrival. Even to this day, the word "cigano" [Gypsy] is considered an insult, and it is a synonym of "crook", "thief", "quack", etc. According to the historian A. H. de Oliveira Marques, they arrived in Portugal during the second half of the XV century, and according to his sources, they were nomads trained in all sorts of irregular or forbidden activities (theft, deceit, witchcraft, etc). Nowadays, few believe in witchcraft, but the rest of the reputation of the Gypsy community hasn't changed significantly.|
|In 1525, during the Courts of Torres Novas, we have the first recorded complaint against this people, but it is only in 1526 that a law was passed forbidding their entry in the realm. Unsurprisingly, the law had little effect, and there are records of Gypsies being sent to Angola in the late XVII century, despite the protests of the whites living there. In 1822, the Portuguese Constitution was accepted and according to it, all citizens had the same rights according to the law. They stopped being shipped to Angola against their will, but the Constitution did little to change the way they were seen by the native Portuguese.|
|The Gypsies always segregated themselves, and as a community, have always rejected all the attempts aimed to improve their integration. There is a disproportionate number of Gypsies involved in criminal activities, and since the rest of the community tends to protect its criminal members, they all end up being labelled as criminals by the Portuguese population. They are the only minority living in Portugal which faces real hostility.|
|For about half of her history, Portugal had one of the largest empires in the world. One could expect to find a diverse and multiethnic population, but until very recently, that wasn't the case. Even during the Golden Century of Portuguese history, the bulk of the population was quite poor. From the XV to the XX century, Portugal was a source of emigrants rather than a host country for foreigners. There were obviously foreigners living in the country, but they were few enough to make foreign surnames an oddity until the late 1990s.|
|One of the first foreign communities living in Portugal was that of the Genoans. In the mid XIV century, a Portuguese king called D. Dinis asked a number of Genoan merchants to settle in Portugal to stimulate commerce. Italy provided Portugal not only with an embryo of a merchant class, but also with several scholars. It isn't that uncommon to find the occasional Italian surname, even though there are a handful of real Italians living in Portugal.|
|The English have been in Portugal since its very foundation. Several English crusades were given land to settle in Portugal, and one of them won his place in Portuguese history as Guilherme da Longa Espada (literally, "William the Long Sword"). Nevertheless, the English community in Portugal only became reasonable from the XVII century onwards. The treaty of Methuen gave England an opportunity to exploit the Portuguese Port wine production, and many families took that chance. Until not long ago most of the Port wine brands were owned by British families. That community still numbers some thousands, and it is concentrated in the northern Portuguese city of Oporto. They have a tendency to marry within the community and to keep some aspects of the British culture (namely Protestantism). There is also a completely different British community living in the Algarve (southern Portugal), made up mostly of retired elders.|
|The Dutch are known to have settled in the two Portuguese archipelagos during the XV century. More recently, Dutch and German farmers have been settling in southern Portugal. It is not unusual to find that a foreign surname happens to be of German origin.|
|The Spaniards have always been in Portugal. During the Spanish civil war and WWII, tens of thousands moved to Portugal in search of a better life. Many Galicians started their own successful small businesses (pubs, discos, barbecued-chicken restaurants, small shops, etc).|
|During the 1950s, the number of foreigners living in Portugal was of around 25.000. A decade later, there were 30.000 (40% Spaniards, 27% other Europeans, 22% Brazilians, ~2% Africans). In 1974, the independence of the colonies causes a rush of African refugees, which represents a swift change in the make-up of the immigrant population: in 1960, the African immigrants made up 1,5% of the 30.000 immigrants; in 1980, they already made 44% of 108.000. The African community currently numbers around 100.000, and apparently it isn't growing. Most Africans work in the construction industry.|
|In the mid 90s, Portugal was flooded with Eastern Europeans and Brazilians. The Brazilian immigration comprises two very different types of people: highly skilled and educated individuals, and unskilled labour that will end up finding a job in construction, waiting tables or behind a counter. They are the fastest growing immigrant community living in Portugal. The Eastern Europeans usually have college education, and most come from the Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, and Russia. Most Eastern Europeans work in menial jobs.|
|I couldn't find any recent statistics in the Internet about immigration in Portugal, the most recent that I found was a page that mentioned the values for 2002. According to this page, in 2002 there were 389.000 legalised immigrants (91.000 from Eastern Europe), plus ~100.000 illegals.|
|Fortunately, I recently saw the statistics for 2003 in the Euronews television channel and copied the numbers I remembered (what follows are approximations):|
|- 450.000 legal immigrants
- 30% Ukrainians
- 17% Brazilians
- ~10% Moldavians
- ~10% Cape Verdeans
- 5% Romanians
- 4% Russians
- 4% Angolans
- 5% other African
- 15% other European + other Asian
The Brazilians and the Eastern European communities are the ones that are growing. The African and Asian communities are stable (in terms of growth).
|30% of the prison population in Portugal is immigrant|
|According to the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias of the 29 December 2003, more than 4.000 of the 12.000 convicts are foreigners. Most have been convicted for crimes such as dealing drugs, forging documents, and crimes of a sexual nature. Half of the 4079 felons are Africans, and the Eastern Europeans are also well represented. The nature of the crime is related with the nationality:|
|- Pakistanis/Indians - experts in forging documents and in unblocking cell-phones|
|- Africans (1st generation) - forge documents, deal drugs|
|- Africans (2nd generation) - bank robberies, armed robberies|
|- Brazilians - involved in smuggling illegal aliens, prostitution and petty crimes|
|- Eastern Europeans - involved in smuggling illegal aliens, in white-slavery, extortion, racketeering; their crimes affect only their own community|
|Even more worrisome is a poll I read about in a newspaper not long ago (it was probably also in the Diário de Noticias, though I can't vouch for that). In that poll, they asked to 400 young Africans either born in Portugal or that had been living in the country in the past 10-15 years if they felt "Portuguese". Only 4% of them replied "Yes". This is quite tragic, as it shows that any attempt that has been made (?) by the Portuguese governments to promote the integration of the African immigrants has failed utterly. This young Africans' failure to fully integrate in the Portuguese society is perhaps the best explanation why 50% of the immigrants imprisoned are Africans, when they only make 20% of the immigrant population.|
|Politicians, ideologies and immigrants|
|The information and the thoughts that follow these words were the main reason why I bothered to write this page, particularly because I get the impression that almost everyone - except extreme right groups - are afraid to talk about all the aspects that regard immigration. Considering that I was raised as a Portuguese and that one third of my blood is foreign, I think that I am forced if not by reason, at least by my own DNA to remain as objective as possible about such a complex issue.|
|The first thing anyone will notice, is the way how politicians from different ideologies react to immigration.|
|A Portuguese saying states that "in the centre lies the virtue" - meaning that the extremes are always too radical. In Portugal, the centre-left (Socialists) and centre-right (Social-Democrats) are reacting in the easiest way possible: they don't do anything. During the last years of the socialist government, there was a lame attempt to restrict the numbers of new immigrants, and more recently (probably due to the presence of the Christian-Democrats in the new Social-Democrat government) there were the first serious attempts to clamp down illegal immigration. In all truth, they only started doing anything about the problem after Pim Fortuyn's murder. The centrists saw that if they ignored the problem, they could face a rise of the extreme-right all over Europe, including in Portugal. So far that fortunately hasn't happened, but I saw recently a poll that indicated that 75% of the Portuguese were unhappy with the presence of so many foreigners. Some of the present government members were labelled "fascists" by the extreme-left, simply because they had said that there was a need to restrict and control immigration. The minister of Defense (Christian-democrat) was also accused of being a "fascist" when he tried to make sure that young children sang the Portuguese national anthem everyday in school - eventually, he gave up. Welcome to Portugal.|
|In Portugal, the supporters of extreme-left parties such as the Bloco de Esquerda (extreme-left radicals) and the PCP (Communists) are all for immigration, regardless of their numbers. Their main arguments rely on the terrible conditions many immigrants lived and worked in their own countries. They also like to point that France and Germany welcomed Portuguese immigrants in the 60s with open arms (not exactly true). That would be enough reason for Portugal to welcome as many immigrants as... as you can think of. Their own ideology explains their lack of logic: since we live in a market economy, when you have an excess of workers, the employers can take advantage of this situation by lowering the wages. The final result will be not only an increase of the unemployment amongst the native population, but also widespread misery amongst the immigrants. This would benefit greatly those two parties, since their voters are either radical pseudo-intellectuals, or simple labourers unhappy with their pay. As usual in politics, it all comes down to votes.|
|On the other side of the political spectrum, you have the extreme-right radicals. They are firmly opposed to immigration, and they base their opinions on many things - amongst those is the partially erroneous idea that the immigrants are stealing jobs from the natives. This is a common myth that needs addressing: the truth is that the immigrants are either doing the jobs that no one wants to do (house keepers, construction workers, waiters, etc), or they are working in areas in the which Portugal is not graduating enough people to suffice our own needs (the presence of the Spanish physicians in Portugal is a good example). It is also true that in a market society, the way to address a shortage of labour in a certain area is to increase wages, thus making a particular job more appealing to the native population. On the other hand, this could destroy the competitiveness of certain industries, either making goods and services more expensive, or possibly even causing the bankruptcy of certain companies... but then again, the presence of immigrants favours the existence of miserable wages, which in the long run will deter the modernisation of the industries - as I said, this is a rather complex issue.|
|One thing I think everyone agrees with, is that the simple fact that Portugal is "importing" much more people than what she "exports" is a good economical indicator - it means that we aren't that bad, and that someone is in a lot worse shape than we are. We have become a desirable destination not only for vacations, and that is definitely a good thing.|
|Does Portugal really need immigrants?|
|In my very modest opinion, yes. Without immigrants, vital sections of the Portuguese economy would literally come to a standstill. Of course, the simple fact that many of our industries still rely on low wages to remain competitive, only makes the country even more dependant on the arrival of new immigrants - a direct consequence of the poor quality and lack of vision of the ordinary Portuguese businessman, always unable to fully comprehend the benefits of investing in the modernisation of his own company.|
|In an ageing Europe, the immigrants also provide a temporary life-line to the social security system. However, unlike what the Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio said in this year's Christmas message, the immigrants are not a valid solution to the downfall of the fertility rate. The only way to revert the decrease the constant decrease of the fertility rate, is to provide solutions to the multiple problems that come with being a parent in Portugal, and that will definitely cost money. Nowadays, being a parent in Portugal is an act of courage. Some things could be done to reverse this, maybe the state could benefit companies that had their own kinder-gardens, and penalise those that don't hire women to avoid a possible (and expensive) pregnancy. Of course, we can always do what we have been doing in the last 40 or 50 years - nothing at all - and pray for the problem to solve on its own (it won't).|
|So we need immigrants. Should we simply let them all in?|
|Until Pim Fortuyn's assassination, that was the general opinion expressed by the European media. It was "taboo", "racist" or even "fascist" to have a critical opinion about unrestricted immigration. We all remember the public outcry in Europe when a radical politician called Jorg Haider managed to place his party in the coalition that came to form the Austrian government. When the only people talking about immigration were extremists, it was fairly easy to be taken for one by simply having a critical view on how the immigration issue was being dealt with. Then, the mentioned Dutchman was murdered, all of Europe saw that he was actually respected by the mainstream Dutch population, and that his views about restrictions on immigration were shared by both the native Dutch and even by the immigrant population in the Netherlands. Our politicians realised that they had been neglecting something that mattered to Europeans, and they finally started thinking about the mess they had been avoiding for the last 50 years, all in the name of something called political correctness.|
|Political Correctness, Afrocentrism, and freedom of speech|
|In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement achieved a series of victories that finally granted the more than deserved rights to several minorities in the United States, particularly the African-American community. It didn't take long for Afrocentrism to rise from the ashes of this social revolution. Afrocentrism was born when white American scholars naively believed that the reason why African-Americans weren't as successful was their white neighbours, was because they lacked positive black role models. That was when the so called Afrocentrist "historians" started forging universal history, and worst of all, they started teaching it in American Universities. This is a perfect example that the end doesn't always justify the means. African-Americans still blame slavery for their personal failures, while the white Americans are almost bottle-fed with a sense of guilt for things that happened when they weren't even born.|
|More recently, the MTV culture provided the last cultural blow, by showing that it was "cool" to be "black", but that it wasn't so "cool" to be "white". MTV tends to promote the "gangster-rap" culture, where women are sexual objects, and where the criminal lifestyle is glorified. This is not only insulting to the hardworking and law-abiding African-Americans, but it is also a cultural genocide for an entire generation of white Americans that are being taught to hate their own ancestry and culture. This has a name, and it is called "racism" - and it is being promoted by the media.
Recently, a movie called Save the last dance told the story of a white girl (Julia Styles) who was an aspiring ballet dancer. Her mother dies in a car crash when Sarah (Julia Styles' character) was in an audition, and she hangs up her ballerina shoes out of guilt (pretty lame argument... Hollywood must be really desperate for a decent script). Anyway, Sarah moves to Chicago where she frequents a predominantly African-American school. In that school, she eventually befriends a black student that teaches her how to dance to hip-hop - at this time, the viewer will witness a scene where Sarah (who was white and had no "style" because she wasn't into African-American culture) suddenly becomes "cool" after being taught how to dance to hip-hop by Sean Patrick Thomas' character (the black student). After the dance they become romantically involved. Not only is the script as cheesy as it gets, but this is clearly racist.
|I saw recently an episode of "The Prince of Bel-Air" where all the people waiting tables (attending to the all-black cast) where whites. That tends to be the rule: in "black" shows, the few white actors always have menial jobs (waiters, butlers, etc). In the "white" shows, the black cast-members will be the friendly black neighbour, the friendly physician, the honest and interested black congressman fighting the corrupt white system (for the later, see The distinguished gentleman with Eddie Murphy). This has been happening for years, and nobody does anything about it.|
|Not long ago, a white girl was attacked by a 15 feet-long shark, and she lost her left arm to the predator. A black ABC radio-host called Tom Joyner cruelly made fun of the girl, mentioning that she was white and that "When that shark bites / He bites only Whites / Stay out de water, White people / Shark's gonna bite you / That's why he keeps on bitin' White" -- followed by mocking laughter. You may find the full story (with audio) in this page. It is hosted by a "White Nationalist" site (thus its ridiculously anti-Semitic tone), but I have no reasons to believe that the story is false - particularly when they provide the audio file. Tom Joyner may be a prick who is unrepresentative of the black population, but would anything similar be tolerated if the roles were reversed (white host making fun of black handicapped)? I honestly don't think so. As shocking as this story is, it is a extreme sample of the kind of things we are being taught to tolerate: cruel racist bigots (in this case a black man) making fun of a teen just because she happens to be white. This case is even more serious considering that the young girl was severely injured as a result of the shark attack|
|This happened in America. In Europe, Afrocentrism is overwhelmingly unknown. In the 1960s, there was no civil rights movement in Europe, we never had a sizeable black community, and we never had the racial tensions that shaped the American society. What Europeans got, is the "colonialist guit", which basically means that we have to put up with everything, because our ancestors colonized the world. It isn't hard to guess that when a European finally realises some of the Afrocentrist claims ("Socrates was black", "Ancient Egyptians were black", "Jesus Christ was black"), he bursts into laughter. Europe also has a different legacy: fascism. Until the 11 of September of 2001 showed the true meaning of the word "Intolerance", it was considered extremist to show the slightest concern for the ethno-cultural turn Europe was taking. And then, the 911 happened and the world changed forever.|
|War against terror or war against Islam?|
|Everyone knows what happened in the 11th of September of 2001. What almost no one could guess was what was to come. Prior to the 911, whenever a Palestinian suicide-bomber blew himself in a crowded bus-station, the common remark was "Sigh... those Muslim terrorists are barbarians!". After the 911, the ordinary person in the street started thinking "It could have been me...". The 911 made everyone realise that no one was safe, and that we were all possible targets. But targets for whom? What have we done to them?|
|The answer to the first question is "Islamic terrorists". The answer to the second is "We exist, we are different, and that is enough to be hated". The understand why we are hated, all we have to do is to some sentences from Islam's holy books: the Koran and the Hadith. It won't take long for the reader to realise that Islam is an intolerant religion, despite the tolerant ways of many Muslims as individuals.
Unlike Christianity, Islam was never reformed since the VII century AD, which is why so many of their ways are not acceptable to XXI century westerners. One might say that Catholic priests have also been involved in hideous crimes such as paedophilia. The difference is that the no Catholic has ever tried to explain or justify his/her crimes through religion in the last 200 years. Islam as a religion is imperialistic, and our way of life and some of the Islamic teachings don't mingle that nicely - in fact, they clearly clash with each other. Add to all this western prosperity and the generalised poverty in the Muslim countries, and you have a recipe for envy and disaster. This obviously doesn't mean that the ordinary Muslim husband will beat up his wife or stab his daughter to death in the name of religion, but it does mean that the ones that will aren't that few - after all, it's all in the Koran and it all depends whether you follow it literally, or decide to interpret it in a more moderate way.
|Well, but what can we do? There are two possible solutions: the one that was followed in the United Kingdom, and the one followed in France. The UK chose to follow the root of open multiculturalism. This means that the state doesn't interfere in the culture of the minorities in any way, except in instilling a sense of social pride in its own diversity. All the cultures will contribute to shape a new national culture out of the old one and hopefully find some sort of social and cultural equilibrium. France on the other hand, chose the way of the integration of the immigrants into the French culture. France has been quite successful in assimilating immigrants: most of the second generation Portuguese immigrants in France consider themselves French first, and Portuguese second. The French model's ultimate aim is to produce a stable society by absorbing the minorities - if not physically, at least culturally. The British model can work (particularly if the rate of inter-ethnic marriages is large enough, as seems to be the case in Britain), but inherent with this model is the replacement of the old culture for a new one. In fact, if nothing is done, Britain will be the first western European Muslim country in a matter of two or three generations - by 2010, London will become the first European capital where native Britons will be a minority.|
|It all comes down to one's beliefs: I am a conservative and I like Portuguese culture as it is. I wouldn't mind "spicing" it with foreign cultures, but there is a clear difference between "spicing" and "changing the ingredients". Depending on the number of immigrants and on the success to fully integrate them in the host country, will ultimately depend Portugal's capacity to deal correctly with the arrival of large quantities of new immigrants.
[read Steve Sailer's essay about immigration here]
|Selecting the best: discrimination or common sense?|
|It is pretty obvious that immigrants from similar cultures are more likely to adapt faster to the host country. It is reasonable to assume that a Spaniard physician will need to adjust less to his new life in Portugal, than an Eastern European who doesn't speak a Latin language. Who should we choose? Here are some aspects to have into account:|
|For obvious reasons, the first to be allowed in the country should be those that have Portuguese blood (ex. the Portuguese community in Venezuela, the Portuguese community in South Africa, Brazilians, etc.)|
|People from countries or regions related to Portuguese history (Brazil, East-Timor, Portuguese-speaking Goans, our former African colonies) are likely to adapt faster to Portugal than people from neighbouring countries who had no historical or cultural ties to Portugal.|
|Catholics in particular (and Christians in general) are less likely to cause social instability for religious reasons - after all, Portugal is a Catholic country.|
|«At the time of her retirement, Muslims will be the majority in Denmark» - unfortunately, this isn't a lie for most of Northern Europe either.|
|The immigrants should preferably come from western countries, or countries that have adopted the western culture. Culture is by far the most important issue.|
|The immigrants should preferably be Caucasians, to avoid changing too much the racial make-up of the host country. Race stops being a serious problem when the majority of the host population is properly educated, and when the immigrants have fully adopted the host country's culture (the later takes generations)- thus becoming less likely to be singled out solely on account of their race. In Portugal's case, Brazilians represent the best possible solution. The bulk of the immigrant population should always be of a similar ethnic background to that of the host population, to ensure a speedy assimilation. That does not mean that all immigrants should be of Iberian, or even European stock.|
|Highly skilled and educated immigrants should always be chosen first, regardless of everything else (save for culture). Educated individuals are less likely to become violent or engage in criminal activities.|
|Portugal has been quite fortunate in the kind of immigrants it has recently received, since most of our immigrants are either Brazilians or Eastern Europeans. The Brazilians share a similar culture, and while the Eastern Europeans may have a harder time learning Portuguese, they are still Europeans and Christians. However, if we have been luckier than such countries as France, Britain or Germany in the kind of immigrants we received, we shouldn't sit still enjoying our good fortune. Europe is facing one of the greatest challenges of her history: the survival of her unique identity. Some European states already started acting (Germany, France) while others haven't (Britain). The survival of our culture forcefully depends on the increase of the fertility rate - regardless of the arrival of new immigrants. The state will have to promote a higher fertility rate, particularly amongst the wealthier classes. There must be some sort of control, we simply cannot allow everyone in: for our sake, and for the sake of the immigrants that are already living in Portugal. We should always remember that it is much cheaper to prevent a problem from ever happening, than to wait for it to blow over our heads and then be forced to clean a mess that could have been avoided in the first place.
Right now, most Europeans are feeling abandoned by their politicians when it comes to immigration. It is the duty of our moderate political class to defend the interests of the Portuguese people, of the immigrant population residing in Portugal and of our (and theirs) unborn children. If they don't, they risk provoking the rising of popular support for neo-nazi groups, they risk social instability, and in the long run they risk something much worse: remember Kosovo?
|- Advised reading:Imigrantes Somos Todos (in Portuguese)|