Hinweis: Die Prozentangaben in Klammern zeigen die Gewichtung der einzelnen Aufgaben.
Teil A – Sprachmittlung
While working as a volunteer for a local British newspaper, you are asked to research the situation of immigrants without documents in Germany. Summarize the article at hand. (Material 1)
Teil B – verkürzte Textaufgabe
- Summarize the Guardian article. (Material 2) (25 %)
- Compare British concerns about immigration and cultural diversity (Material 2) to those in the US as shown in material dealt with in class. (40 %)
- “As U.S. astronaut José Hernández gazed back at his home planet during a six-million-mile mission to the International Space Station in 2009, this space traveler, who is also a son of Mexican immigrants, observed something peculiar. ‘What surprised me is when I saw the world as one. There were no borders. You couldn’t distinguish between the United States and Mexico,’ he was quoted as saying.” Using the quotation as a starting point, discuss whether a wall / fence is a viable means of regulating illegal immigration. (35 %)
Deutsche Welle, a German online radio station, published an article online on 20th June, 2009, which is called “Without any perspectives – refugees in Germany”.
The author reflects about the low chances of refugees to be given the right of residence. About 99% only get a short-term residence permit, or just live illegally in Germany.
There is the example of Gassan from Palestine. He has been living in Hamburg for three months now without any documents. The reasons for leaving his country are war, hunger and unemployment.
Refugees like him can take the chance of learning German in language courses. This is also what Akwasi Asiamah from Ghana does. He has been living in Germany for 20 years. He was safe and legal as long as he was married to a German woman. But now he is divorced; the custody for his children was given to his ex-wife. This is why he has lost his residence permit, and he cannot see his children as they live in another town. He is not allowed to leave Hamburg or to work.
Asiamah fled from Ghana because he felt politically persecuted. In Germany he was given a short-term residence permit, but now he fears he will be deported. Basically, he has just one dream: to live with his children in Germany.
Furthermore, the article informs about the typical situation of refugees in Europe. Elizabeth Adjei, head of the “Immigration Service” in Ghana, demands treaties between Europe and Africa and a circular migration, which means refugees can return to their countries after living and working legally in Europe. This would provide mutual advantages.
The given text published in The Guardian on 13 January, 2013, deals with the need for politicians to discuss national concerns about cultural diversity.
Most people are concerned about high immigration rates and fear a negative influence on society.
Unrealistic promises may only minimize the trust in parties and politics. A British report states that people tend to identify immigration as being responsible for national tension. But even local tension can be seen, for example, in the north-east and in Wales, as well as in high-migration cities like London or other places of rapid change. Both here and there, it is about managing the pace of change in housing, health and school.
Although anxiety could be curbed, national concerns cannot be resolved. They should not be seen as imaginary, but important, meaningful ideas to most people.
The majority of the public does not want to close the borders, but to manage the pace of change. They want to welcome those who want to contribute positively, or need protection as refugees. Nevertheless, governmental evidence that immigrants want to work rather than rely on social benefits have not affected anxieties about migrants.
Furthermore, there are political discussions about minimizing the difference between the numbers of immigrants and emigrants to 100,000 without harming economic growth. This would mean 500,000 immigrants per year. Thus, Britain is definitely a multi-ethnic and multi-faith country.
Next to immigration, integration is important. Essential foundations like the need to speak English and the respect of freedom of speech need to go hand in hand with respect for cultural diversity.
At the end of the article, the author emphasizes that diversity is beneficial for Britain.
The text at hand shows some concern about immigration and thus cultural diversity in Great Britain. Many people hold the opinion that immigration is too high and is not managed properly, and therefore could weaken society. Unrealistic promises may reduce the trust in politics and lead to slogans like “British jobs for British workers” (l. 6). This creates local as well as national tension. One can read about anxiety within the population regarding high immigration and about polarizing and noisy debates, but on the contrary, most people do not want to close the borders. They want to welcome those immigrants who are willing to contribute positively to the development of the country, or refugees needing help and protection. Unfortunately, there are also people who do share anxieties about immigrants who just want to profit from social benefits, although the government tries to show that most immigrants really intend to work and not live from any support.
Finally, the author states that immigration does not work without integration, and that the country itself can benefit from diversity due to new people coming into GB, despite the fact that many inhabitants are not completely convinced of the positive effects on everyone.
Cultural diversity is caused by people who leave their home country, migrate to another one and do not leave their entire heritage behind. Thus they can make the new country richer by making it a more interesting place to live - when we think of food, for example. Cultural diversity can make a country stronger and better able to compete in the global economy when we think of language skills, new ways of thinking or creative solutions to difficult problems.
Looking at the USA, we find sources of cultural diversity already back in the times of colonization. First Europeans, later on Africans, Asians and people from Latin America came to what is today the USA because of different reasons. They all have created a country which at the beginning was thought of as a melting pot, making all ingredients into a new nation. The newly arrived then felt integrated into American culture. But does it really exist? No group can call itself more American than others, because they all have come to a new place to live. The already-existing culture of the Native Americans, who did not really count when it came to talking about American origins, was more or less ignored.
All in all, the many different groups of immigrants have started a unique and exceptional fusion of culture, so that everyone is at the same time proud of their cultural heritage and of America. America would not be the nation it is today without this rich mixture of religions, races and cultures. Core values like family, charity and education are shared by almost all Americans. All this is the source of the strength of a country which is still a superpower.
As already mentioned, the USA is a country of immigration. Unfortunately, the view of the American population on people coming in has changed over the centuries. Although first welcomed as new labor forces for building and enriching the country, the immigrants who then came in bigger waves and groups were stopped, or the number of those accepted was limited. Therefore, today we face a lot of illegal immigration, which is seen as dangerous and expensive for the country. Tragic events like 9/11 have also influenced public attitudes. So people of Muslim origin are seen as a threat for the safety in the country, and racial tensions have increased.
Looking at both legal and illegal immigration, one can state that there are positive as well as negative effects on the country. On the one hand, a growing population is closely connected to the need of more food, schools or houses. This may create more working places and thus improve the economy. On the other hand, immigrants, primarily the illegal ones, are not necessarily well-educated or skilled. This is why they feel more comfortable living in more densely populated areas, where they find people of the same background. Next to this, the immigrants settle in areas where people of the same origin already live. Unemployment leads to poverty, and to a lack of health insurance. Low education with their children is just one effect that cannot be denied. In contrast, those of a high socio-economic status prefer living in suburban areas.
After all, we must admit that today’s groups of immigrants are culturally and linguistically different from earlier ones. They do not really see the necessity of learning the English language, they do not aim at mixing and coexisting with the others, they focus on keeping their own culture alive. One can see signs of separation among the American population.
When it finally comes to comparing British and American views, there are no big differences. In both countries we find immigrants being welcomed with open arms. They are willing to contribute to the new life, to develop the new country. They integrate, but keep their own heritage alive.
However, there are tendencies toward refusing immigration due to fears in politics and among the population that immigrants are terrorists and want to destroy the existing society. The indigenous population may see a threat because some immigrants tend to separate themselves from the rest of the people and come together in special places to live there. They even refuse to learn the new language or to accept rules. This leads to anxieties about the new inhabitants. A growing overall population because of growing communities of immigrants can also be seen as a danger to already-existing social and political ties. Some may even fear that their own standard of living will be negatively influenced by immigrants.
For the reasons mentioned above, I would like to emphasize that positive aspects of immigration and cultural diversity should weigh much more than any negative ones. We live in a globalized world where giving and taking must be balanced for the good of every single human.
Seeing the world as one without any borders between single countries is obviously the best view of our planet and the life on it. It means there is no thought of political differences or economic interests, there is no thought of being superior to other races, and no thought of fighting each other. It just means we are one. When José Hernandez saw the world from space, he could only identify land masses and water - nothing else. There is no distinguishing between races or religions, rich or poor, developing or developed countries to be seen. It just means we are one.
Unfortunately, this view of the world as one is not shared by all people. In the following, I would like to work out if walls or fences are viable means of regulating illegal immigration.
Fences and walls are designed to separate, to mark clear barriers. History has shown that political leaders have used walls to imprison their people within their own country; for example, when we think of Germany. With a separation of the population, Vietnam was and Korea still is divided into two different political systems. Taking walls and fences metaphorically, one can add the world’s division into two completely different political systems which are hostile toward each other; this was highlighted in the times of the Cold War. Nonetheless, all this has never stopped people from secretly and illegally leaving their home countries, which in many cases did not end successfully.
Illegal immigration refers to migration of people across national borders in a way that violates immigration laws of the destination country. Entering a country without official authorization contradicts existing laws and is persecuted by police forces. Here the question arises if countries should have the right to not accept or even deport all illegal immigrants, no matter for which reasons they had to leave their home countries.
Look at recent events in Europe, where refugees from many different countries are seeking asylum because they are politically or religiously persecuted. Others belong to groups that are forbidden in their former countries of citizenship; they flee from prejudice, abuse, genocide, conflict or natural disasters. If they do not find a country that takes them in, their life will not be worth living any longer, their children will not grow up in a peaceful surrounding. Thus their urgent will to cross borders cannot be broken by fences or walls.
As a consequence, these humans would take any risk to flee their situation and to get to a safer place. Armed police or army forces may intimidate the prospective immigrants, but will not hinder them from trying to enter. Some will succeed, some will not. Next to this, longing for immigration opens doors for people who try to smuggle people into a country. In many cases they need to sell everything they possessed to pay these smugglers, so in the end they do not have a single base to live on if they had to return to their original place of residence.
The border between the USA and Mexico, also known as the Tortilla Curtain, has shown that fences and walls of about 3,000 kilometers cannot stop millions of people every year from crossing it illegally. They are chased by police forces and so-called minute men, who voluntarily patrol the border. The Mexicans know that they are not welcome at every place in the US, as Americans may fear cheap Latino workers would take away their jobs, but nonetheless they try hard to cross the border to improve the quality of their lives.
These above-mentioned fears can be faced in today’s Europe as well. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have found their way to our continent. Here they hope to lead a life free of persecution and without the daily fight for survival. After some European countries have closed their borders to refugees, these refugees seek and find other ways to enter the new country. They are too desperate to weigh the risks for themselves or their families; more important is the attractiveness of freedom or just a better chance of living.
In the final analysis, we can say that fences and walls have never stopped people from migrating. Illegal immigration cannot be stopped as long as the living conditions in the countries of origin are not acceptable. Turning illegal into legal immigration could help to improve the status and the position of the people in the new country, and thus they could enjoy all rights that are given to permanent citizens. In fact, this could enrich the life of everyone in the country of destination.
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