New wave of migrants puts US and other countries to the test
After years of neglect, a new wave of migrants entering Europe is forcing governments to reexamine issues of immigration and integration.
By Molly Liss-Riordan
March 28, 2012
The U.S. and many other European countries are facing new levels of immigration as they attempt to ease the burden of government-sponsored long-term care for people who are elderly or disabled.
While some of the immigrants — particularly those from Afghanistan — are fleeing war and conflict, others are escaping poverty and government pressure to find jobs and provide the financial support they need. Some of the most common forms of government support for these families are social services grants, which range from $300 to $2,500 per month by state and local government.
In Britain, about half of the population receives such assistance, and in Germany and Austria, the figure is even higher. As many as 1.2 million Britons depend on a range of government programs that provide the funds needed to pay for rent, food and clothing and provide financial support, medical and care services.
In the United States, the average recipient of state and local government assistance is $2,400 a year and includes the elderly, people with disabilities and people seeking long-term care. The assistance grants, which are often used to buy groceries, are meant to help individuals and families to provide the basic necessities in life.
The United Kingdom, where long-term care is provided for only 5 percent of the elderly, was recently the first European country to make the controversial decision to give legal status to unaccompanied children and to allow unlimited numbers of them to enter the country.
In Germany, where long-term care is provided for about a third of the elderly, about 10,000 unaccompanied children began arriving in the country last year.
In some countries, the influx of immigrants has led to growing tensions over immigration. In France, voters have narrowly rejected a constitutional amendment that would