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The gap between ‘rhetoric’ and ‘reality’: Portuguese immigration policies and the visions of associations’ leaders and young Angolans Ribeiro, N., Malafaia,

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Presentation on theme: "The gap between ‘rhetoric’ and ‘reality’: Portuguese immigration policies and the visions of associations’ leaders and young Angolans Ribeiro, N., Malafaia,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The gap between ‘rhetoric’ and ‘reality’: Portuguese immigration policies and the visions of associations’ leaders and young Angolans Ribeiro, N., Malafaia, C., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Neves, T., Coimbra, J. L. & Menezes, I. Paper presented at the Surrey PIDOP Conference on “Political and Civic Participation”, April 16 th -17 th, 2012, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

2 Introduction Immigration policies play an important role in the civic and political participation of the immigrants. Koopmans (2004) considers that local and national integration and citizenship regimes can be seen as political opportunity structures that may stimulate, embarrass or block immigrants’ involvement and participation. At national level, there are also studies which show the similar conclusion: - Sardinha (2007): Portuguese policy is not systematic; - Grassi (2009) and Marques & Santos (2000): some groups of immigrants distrust the State.

3 Introduction Portuguese immigration policies have been very positively evaluated by various international organisations (e.g., United Nations Development Programme, 2009; International Organization for Migrations, 2010; and the MIPEX, 2011). However some empirical findings, collected on PIDOP project, suggest a different evaluation.

4 Aim Analyse the immigration policies in Portugal, contrasting the legal framework with the public discourses of immigrant associations and young Angolans. In other words, contrast a macro analysis, which refers to the immigration policies implemented, with a micro analysis that draws on the experiences and perceptions of people who interpret the policies (the text itself) and enact or resist them - ‘Advocacy Coalition Framework’ (Sabatier, 2005).

5 Data and methodology Immigration Law in general, i.e. Nationality Laws, regularisations processes and other policy measures (macro level). Six interviews with associations’ leaders on the topic of civic and political participation of young immigrants; and five focus groups with young Angolans involving 30 participants (micro level).

6 Data and methodology Data generated from the interviews and focus group discussions were analysed using Thematic Analysis following the principles and the procedures described by Braun and Clarke (2006).

7 Portuguese Immigration Policies i) Historical background, with emphasis on the process of decolonization; ii) the need to regulate illegal immigration of the 90s; iii) the labour market demands; iv) and, finally, the decline of the labour market, which is accompanied by less restrictive immigration policies. The analysis suggests that there is a clear predominance of the market over immigration policies. Immigration policies tend, above all, to reflect the economic interests. In other words, immigration policies tend to be determined by factors other than ideological ones (see Castles, 2004; Bauder, 2008; Athukorala 2006; Spoonley 2006).

8 Associations’ leaders Emphasized three perspectives, which contributed for a very critical evaluation about the immigration policies: i) the social care approach of the policies, since they do not promote an effective autonomy and empowerment of immigrants; ii) the immigrants’ victimization through the lack of civic and political rights which prevent them from being full citizens; iii) and the cynicism of the politicians and policies (realpolitik) in order to calm down those who feel threatened by the immigrants.

9 i) Perspective “the mission of Association Solidarity International is precisely the intervention on the inclusion of disadvantaged people and ethnic minorities or social minorities [...] when the immigrant participates in the project and comes here to the service, we use the strategy of empowerment […] And another question, we want that the service be the least possible of social care” (International Solidarity Association).

10 ii) Perspective “Well, I disagree with this approach because the rights are not divisible, are not stratified, if not, the citizen is not a citizen... For me, this is what I understand. And the politics of immigration has been this, the squeeze of the rights. Today you have access to it, tomorrow will have access to other...As the process of full citizenship also need to consider the citizenship itself”(SOS Racism).

11 iii) Perspective “There is political cynicism, this is the political cynicism around this speech because EU knows perfectly well that needs immigration because of the demographic status, because of the economic issues, but at the same time has to do a bit of realpolitik, to calm down the public opinion, because there is a feeling of invasion, then you have to play in that balance. That is pretty nasty, because it allows the growth of the extreme right wing. They do not realize, do not know why! The European Parliament never was so far right as it is now. This should be a lesson for our politicians”(SOS Racism).

12 Young Angolans Emphasized the excessive bureaucracy that constrains their legality and, therefore, their access of civic and political rights and services. In this respect, they particularly complain the legal paradox (i.e. without employment contract they cannot be legal; if they are not legal, they cannot have an employment contract) that prevent them to find a legal work and consequently to be legal.

13 Young Angolans “It is true that Portugal since 2001 insists in this miserable policy? (...) How the government does encourage the illegal work? Get out a law that says that to be legalized must have an employment contract. As they have no contract, they will not be legalized, and since they are no legal they cannot fight for the right to employment contract” (Solidarity Immigrant Association).

14 In sum… This analysis suggests that there is a gap between the rhetoric of the international organisations regarding Portuguese immigration policies and the reality suggested by policy analysis and visions expressed by associations’ leaders and young Angolans.

15 The PIDOP project is supported by a grant received from the European Commission 7th Framework Programme, FP7- SSH- 2007-1, Grant Agreement no: 225282, Processes Influencing Democratic Ownership and Participation (PIDOP) awarded to the University of Surrey (UK), University of Liège (Belgium), Masaryk University (Czech Republic), University of Jena (Germany), University of Bologna (Italy), University of Porto (Portugal), Örebro University (Sweden), Ankara University (Turkey) and Queen’s University Belfast (UK)

16 Thank you for your attention! Norberto Ribeiro 17.04.12

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