Thursday, May 14, 2009

Japan pays immigrants to fly home

The United States is far from the only country trying to get a handle on a broken immigration system. Italy and Japan have very different approaches to dealing with the problem.

Italy's largely unpatrolled coastline and proximity to Africa makes it a popular destination for smuggling operations. Some 36,000 migrants from Africa and elsewhere arrived by boat last year.

Italian lawmakers voted for a new bill to fine illegal immigrants up to $13,670 and jail people who house them. The Associated Press reports that Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative government is being pressured by the anti-immigrant Northern League party in its coalition to halt illegal migration as Italy's economy shrinks in the global downturn.

Under the new Italian legislation, which still needs Senate approval, migrants would not face prison time. But the bill provides for up to three years in prison for anyone who knowingly rents housing to an illegal immigrant.

Critics say the legislation would further marginalize those living in Italy illegally by making them afraid to seek medical help or to register their children at birth for fear of being turned in to police and deported.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Japan is offering to pay hundreds of thousands of blue-collar Latin American immigrants to fly back home. So far, at least 100 workers and their families have agreed to leave the recession-racked country.

In 1990, Japan -- facing a growing industrial labor shortage -- started issuing thousands of special work visas to relatives of their resident immigrants. Today, an estimated 366,000 Brazilians and Peruvians live in Japan.
Under the emergency program, introduced this month, the country's Brazilian and other Latin American guest workers are offered $3,000 toward air fare, plus $2,000 for each dependent -- attractive lump sums for many immigrants here. Workers who leave have been told they can pocket any amount left over.

One condition: They can't come back.

Photo: AP


Anonymous said...

So what? Who cares what Italy and Japan are doing in regards to illegal immigration? What does this have to do with "This Land," other than to make some sort of immaterial comparison?

Why don't you stay focused on the national and local scene and how it affects us here, rather than writing about something that has no bearing on the current local situation?

Or are you suggesting that federal and local governments pay illegal immigrants to return to their countries of origin? Surely you aren't that naive.

Anonymous said...

with the last comment, are you kidding me????

The point of why we should care about what Japan and Italy are doing, because they are actually doing something that isn't ENTIRELY unrealistic, like building a big wall, like this country. Believe it or not all good ideas don't come from this country. God forbid we don't have an ignorant outlook like only we as americans can come up with solutions that actually work.

The issue is immigration. Japan and Italy share a similar issue. One is taking a very right wing conservative approach, Italy, and Japan is taking a more left wing approach in sending them home. Though neither might fit this country, watching other countries and their approach can give us insight as to what works and what doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Japan and Brazil are no where near close to each other, nor share a border, therefore this is proof that a wall can't stop em'.

Why does the USA continue building a way that doesn't stop crossing.