Germany considers the implementation of Integration Contract

While, as a good ACLU member, the thought of having to sign something like a loyalty oath makes me want to recoil in horror, I think there might be some merit to this new program that they’re considering in Germany. Given the current difficulty they’re having in assimilating immigrants, they’re considering the use of an “integration contract,” which aspiring immigrants would have to sign before entering the country. The contract would serve to affirm that the individual seeking residency shared some baseline of common values, such as a belief in “freedom of speech” and “women’s rights.” Of course, I’d have to read the whole thing before saying whether or not I like the idea, but, at a very high level, I don’t see anything wrong with asking aspiring residents whether or not they share some common values that we feel are necessary to a functioning Democracy. I’m curious as to what others think. I suspect a lot of you will disagree with me.

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  1. Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    There’s a substantial difference between requiring something like that from a prospecitve immigrant or even a resident alien, and requiring it of someone who’s already a citizen.

  2. STP
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how they would enforce such a thing, but I agree that there’s some value to doing it. People entering a democracy should know that certain behaviors (such as the beating of one’s wife) aren’t acceptable under any circumstance.

  3. elviscostello
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Actually, I agree. While I am a progressive, we see the splintering of “common values” as we balkanize ourselves and it occurs in other countries. When people identify themselves more with their homeland than their adopted home, the place they chose to come to to earn a living, raise their families, etc…then their adopted country suffers. If I moved to France, Germany, or Mexico, I would expect to learn their language and customs and not expect them to defer to me.

  4. Fred
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    We’re fortunate here in the U.S. that we’ve still got time to deal with some of these issues. In other countries, like France and Denmark, they’ve essentially got divided countries right now. Muslim immigrants have created their own countries within them.

  5. 'Ff'lo
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I have a similar instinctive opposition to forced declarations, and certainly oppose mandating any such thing for people entering the country. What you want to ask people to say in order to become citizens of the state, I dunno— whatevah. The question I want to raise here is whether you think such a requirement, in practice, would really improve anything. It would, what, stop people with “different values” (the phrase makes me shudder) from coming to Germany? They see the oath, or know of it, and decide shucks, “Germany’s not for me after all,” or “I just can’t do it—women were made to be beaten!” C’mon.

    And I’m not so sure we’re so fortunate that way in the U.S. Clearly we don’t actually have a clean laundry list of shared values, including with respect to freedom of speech and women’s rights. The whole oath business not only smacks of xenophobia encoded into law but also, as I say, doesn’t seem to me that it would change what it’s out to change. Except for maybe letting politicians claim they’ve done something about the scary foreigners when it comes time to try to capture some national(ist)-value votes.

    Not to mention the factor of more restriction on people’s movements across national borders. Speaking of the big picture, I wish we tended to question that big picture more.

  6. Karl
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Call me xenophobic, but I don’t consider the beating of women to be a cultural value worth protecting. I agree, however, that having people sign a form wouldn’t do much to stop the practice. At least it’s something, though. Religious fanatics of all stripes need to know where the boundaries are.

  7. Brackinald Achery
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    “Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

    But to polygamists and wife-beaters,

    quoth the Lady Liberty:


    It’s more effective than an oath or a law because it rhymes.

  8. kjc
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    “Religious fanatics of all stripes need to know where the boundaries are.”

    in that case, maybe we should start with the ones already here. if we can get our own people to stop sucking, then we can work on the rest of the world.

    then again…isn’t acting like we don’t suck while telling the rest of the world what to do one of our common values?


  9. Curt Waugh
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Can we get a “Poe re-write” on all our major documents?

    “We the People, in order to stop that infernal heart from beating…”

  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


  11. Meta
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Time has a piece today on the treatment of women in Islam:

    For his day, the Prophet Muhammad was a feminist. The doctrine he laid out as the revealed word of God considerably improved the status of women in 7th century Arabia. In local pagan society, it was the custom to bury alive unwanted female newborns; Islam prohibited the practice. Women had been treated as possessions of their husbands; Islamic law made the education of girls a sacred duty and gave women the right to own and inherit property. Muhammad even decreed that sexual satisfaction was a woman’s entitlement. He was a liberal at home as well as in the pulpit. The Prophet darned his own garments and among his wives and concubines had a trader, a warrior, a leatherworker and an imam.

    Of course, ancient advances do not mean that much to women 14 centuries later if reform is, rather than a process, a historical blip subject to reversal. While it is impossible, given their diversity, to paint one picture of women living under Islam today, it is clear that the religion has been used in most Muslim countries not to liberate but to entrench inequality. The Taliban, with its fanatical subjugation of the female sex, occupies an extreme, but it nevertheless belongs on a continuum that includes, not so far down the line, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and the relatively moderate states of Egypt and Jordan. Where Muslims have afforded women the greatest degree of equality–in Turkey–they have done so by overthrowing Islamic precepts in favor of secular rule. As Riffat Hassan, professor of religious studies at the University of Louisville, puts it, “The way Islam has been practiced in most Muslim societies for centuries has left millions of Muslim women with battered bodies, minds and souls.”


  12. Insignia
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    What you think about news – GOPers Hold ‘Prayercast’ to Ask God to Stop Health Reform ?

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