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Dutch professor speaks out against 'Participation Contract'07 March 2013, by Mark McDaid
Professor Leo Lucassen, a specialist in the History of Migration at Leiden University, has spoken out against Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher's plans to force migrants to sign a Participation Contract upon entering the Netherlands.
The professor, speaking on the NTR programme De Halve Maan, criticised the Minister's use of "them and us" thinking and disagrees with both the analysis of the problem and the solution.
He feels that the signal sent by Asscher was that there is a big difference between Dutch people and immigrants, and that it is the task of the ruling government to reduce these differences. Lucassen dismisses this as political posturing and states that focusing on cultural differences is too narrow-minded.
Instead, class is posited by the professor as an equally important factor for integration as the lower social classes have very little opportunity for upward mobility. He states that "Migrants usually enter the Netherlands in this lower social class, and they remain there. This situation is different from other places, such as England, where the lower social class is primarily white."
Towards a new concept of migration
There is further evidence that second or third generation immigrants are becoming more upwardly mobile and are reacting to this "them and us" attitude negatively, and speaking out about it. It is paradoxical to think in terms of us versus them while at the same time expecting 'them' to integrate.
Lucassen offers the United States as an example of how he sees migration and integration moving forward in the Netherlands. "Once you have a Green Card and you have taken the Oath of Allegiance, you belong and that’s it. This means that the USA is much more liberal."