Immigrants who have become naturalized Americans in recent decades are numerous enough – and now organized enough! -- to be a potential political factor in American voting, including in next week’s Congressional election. As always these days, immigration itself will be an issue and in the U.S. the “immigrant vote” could matter as recent immigrants chose sides in light of their own experience. In some hard-fought Congressional constituencies, the outcome might turn on the votes of New Americans – immigrants or immigrants’ children who have become politically conscious during the recent decades when massive and sometimes disruptive immigration has become a high-profile issue.
The EU’s drive to get all 27 member states included on the US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) has run up against a wall. The view of multiple sources closely monitoring the dossier is that the US Congress will have to pass new legislation before Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania will have any chance of joining the other EU23. Though some on Capitol Hill are sympathetic to their cause, nothing is likely to happen until 2011 at the earliest. Even if Congress changes the rules to make it easier for the EU4 to enter, they still need to be invited to join by the US administration and there is little indication that the Obama administration is interested in expanding the programme.
(October 18) Diving into Germany’s growing anti-immigration debate this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel branded her country’s “multiculturalism” a “total failure”. Speaking at a meeting of youth members of the Christian Democratic Union in Potsdam, Merkel said “At the beginning of the 60s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country. We kidded ourselves for a while - we said, ‘They won’t stay and sometime they will be gone.’ But this isn’t reality. And of course, the multicultural approach and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other... has failed, utterly failed."
(October 12) One of Europe’s most intractable conundrum—the island Republic of Cyprus—is celebrating its 50th year as an independent nation. The celebration is muted, however, by another anniversary—the 36th year since Turkish troops (now numbering 43,000) took control of nearly 40 percent of the island and effectively displaced 180,000 Greek Cypriot refugees.
(October 7) Notwithstanding a “buy America” requirement, European railroad engineering firms are lining up eagerly and in force to enter what they see as a modern day “gold rush” to get a stake in the U.S. high speed rail market, fueled by President Obama’s $8 billion in stimulus funds. So far, 13 routes in a wide geographic area, including California and Florida, have been proposed. See recent European Affairs article raising the curtain on this push.
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