- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In the post-September 11 era, Americans abroad enjoy a unique perspective on the actions of their nation and the reactions of their new homes to shifts in American policy. While the United States tackles many of the difficult questions that will help shape the future, America’s European partners are trying to resolve important questions that the United States cannot answer, no matter America’s might.

For those of us in Western Europe, the questions raised in the Madrid and London attacks brought home the immediacy of the issues facing our adopted homes. These questions will differ in degree and severity depending on the country of residence, but a time of reckoning is at hand for Europe; the continent is in the process of choosing its future as part of the liberal political and economic order of Western civilization or as a colony and political subject of Islamic demography.

In Europe there is a slow but steady realization that the heretofore unspoken problems of mass immigration of Islamic workers cannot be ignored any longer. We turn on our televisions and see Parisian suburbs burning; we walk our streets and see businesses advertising in Arabic and Farsi rather than the lingua franca of our adopted lands; we see European politicians demand greater cultural understanding while being unwilling or unable to enforce our laws equally within ethnic enclaves.

As an American in Ireland, I live in one of the most dynamic, prosperous and free societies of Europe. Ireland respects equal protection before the law, property rights and the free market. Ireland is one of the engines of European economic growth, a testament to the prosperity that a free people can achieve through hard work and diligent application of market principle. Ireland’s historical reputation for poor economic performance, narcoterrorism links and criminal behavior are increasingly things of the past.

With that prosperity come certain problems — Ireland has one of the world’s tightest labor markets, and increasingly native Irish are less apt to fulfill menial labor roles. While the policies of U.S. immigration enforcement since September 11 have prompted the return of large numbers of the Irish diaspora, the pace of Irish economic growth has outstrapped the supply of repatriated citizens.

As Ireland has lifted itself from the bottom rungs of the European economic ladder, it has increasingly turned to the model perpetuated by Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, utilizing immigrants to sustain prosperity. This has led to new and unusual practices that strain Irish immigration law; the right of citizenship for those born in Ireland has been ensconced in constitutional law. But this problem is compounded by a lack of laws geared toward keeping every would-be asylum seeker or immigrant from coming to Ireland to gain citizenship for unborn children.

Irish law requires that every asylum applicant be allowed to enter the state. One’s asylum application need not have any merit, so long as it is able to tie up the Irish judicial system long enough for childbirth to occur and citizenship to accrue to the child. While Irish law doesn’t require parental asylum, the system is hesitant to break up families. My own residence in Ireland was secured simply by marriage to an Irish citizen, a process that took a fraction of the time it would take to bring a spouse legally into the United States.

Ireland is far from alone in struggling with the immigration issue. France, Germany, Italy and most of the continent are divided on how best to protect cultural identity and national security without sacrificing economic prosperity. These problems are magnified when existing immigrant populations opt to refuse assimilation, and reject the standards and practices of their new societies.

In recent months, we have seen the product of failed policy. Immigrants and their anti-assimilation descendants in Clichy-sous-Bois seem to believe their criminal proclivities have precedence over French civil law, and the French have never done anything to dissuade them of the notion like enforcing the law in ethnic communities.

Politicians call for greater understanding, tolerance and wider implementation of multicultural initiatives, while immigrant populations continue an unrepentant rejection of pluralism. Thankfully, not all of Europe is marching in lock-step with the apologist agenda.

These are the opening volleys in a war for the future of Europe that will have consequences that should concern every American. There are times that I despair for the future of Europe, though increasingly Europeans are waking up to the reality of the problem in their midst. Looking out my living room window into the city streets of Dublin, I think I can sometimes see the writing on the walls for Europe’s future. Unfortunately, it all too often isn’t in English.

Will Sample is an American living and working in Dublin, Ireland.

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