Rotterdam: Immigrants identify with the city, fear deportation

Rotterdam: Immigrants identify with the city, fear deportation

Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb observes an increasing fear of deportation among older immigrants in his city.  "I speak to many people who believe that a moment will come when they'll be deported.  That sentiment is growing," said Aboutaleb (Labor) on Monday in a meeting at Erasmus University.  "There are people who told me they're happy they still have a second house in Turkey."

With the hardening atmosphere against Muslims, the Netherlands is going through a transitional phase, according to Aboutaleb.  In his point of view it's now more important than ever that the "new Dutch", the children and grandchildren of first generation immigrants, let go of their victim role and position themselves as the (future) capital of and for the Netherlands.

A study of the Nicis-Institute presented yesterday confirms a trend which was already spotted in universities and colleges: highly educated immigrant children dream of a future in their parents' land of birth.  In particular, Muslims feel unwelcome in today's Netherlands.  That the PVV with their anti-Islam rhetoric could grow into the second party in the country strengthens this feeling.

The Nicis study is based on talks with 225 Rotterdam residents of Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese origin belonging to the middle class.  Almost all the interviewees have double citizenship.  The study also shows that the immigrant middle-class is just as involved in the city as the ethnic Dutch middle-class.  About half are active as volunteers.  A majority of immigrants in Rotterdam vote for leftist-oriented parties.  A large majority feel tied to the Netherlands too, but their ties to Rotterdam are stronger.

The interviewees have the strongest ties with members of their own ethnic group.  Often they combine that with a strong link with Rotterdam.  Those who feel most strongly linked to Rotterdam, also have the strongest identification with their land of origin.  According to the researchers this shows that people can have multiple identities that merge together and seem to strengthen each other.

Sources: Trouw, Volkskrant (Dutch)

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