Immigrant and would be politician
As an immigrant to Luxembourg, Chairman of the integration committee in Mersch and member of the CSV (political party) and deputy chairman of the CSV international, I spend a lot of time working with what is called “integration”.
That is, I work with political issues regarding refugees and immigrants, families who come to Luxembourg for a new beginning and topics where our municipally would like more details. But even though I spend time in this field, it’s hard for me to answer what exactly successful integration is.
I do not actually understand the word ‘integration’. Every time someone uses it, it opens up more questions than it answers.
When is a person of a different ethnic background really integrated? When he or she can say, ‘Yes, I am now fully integrated into the society’? So what is integration then? I have asked a number of people and haven’t gotten a clear answer yet. I can’t give the answers, when I do not know what integration means, but I can give my input to the debate. Is being a good citizen the same as being integrated? and if one is integrated, does that mean that you are a good citizen?
I have a different ethnic background than Luxembourgish, I am Danish. For me, it is important to work hard to become integrated into our society – or should I say, not to be “reintegrated”. For although that I feel that I am relatively integrated, is there any guarantee that I will continue to be seen as such?
I speak Luxembourgish, and work full-time, as well as having children who are in local schools; I even married a Luxembourger.
But I don’t speak French, does that mean that because of that, I am not integrated?
I sometimes feel that I am at risk of being de-integrated again. If I lose my job, and require unemployment benefits and no longer feel like a ‘useful’ citizen; does that mean that I’m not integrated anymore?
Or if I have a family crisis tomorrow and am not able to be as sociable as now, if I have to isolate myself from society because I feel mentally strained, am I still integrated? My children are part Luxembourgish, will they be seen as Luxembourgish or will they also have to question their integration in the future?
The problem is that there is still no clear definition of integration as there is no consensus, neither among politicians, professionals or in society in general on what integration is. There are, in turn, many concepts that are used synonymously with integration, for example; assimilation.
Every politician and every political party has their own definition.
But if you, as part of an ethnic minority will be fired from your job and do not qualify for unemployment benefits – what happens then? If you overnight go from being integrated to not being integrated anymore?
And what of those who work, and pay taxes, but have no contact with the Luxembourgers and Luxembourg lifestyle, who only works with someone from his or her home country, not knowing what is going on in Luxembourg and has not learned the language. Are they integrated or not?
Maybe over time, I will be able to answer some of the questions here,,,