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Piloting Immigrant Citizenship Campaigns across Europe: Full Citizenship is Within Reach – Brussels – 20 October 2014

MIPEX-Balkans-pThe naturalisation of immigrants promotes democratic participation and societal integration, according to recent MPG research (ACIT) and a growing scientific literature on the topic. Studies are finding that national citizenship improves immigrants’ employment rate, income, housing situation, and participation in elections and other political actions. Naturalisation improves their perception in wider society. Naturalised immigrants are less likely to experience discrimination from employers, better legally protected against it, and more likely to report it. Naturalisation also advances immigrants’ rights and social inclusion. National citizenship is immigrants’ best guarantee of secure residence and equal rights. Furthermore, the mobilisation of naturalised voters and their descendants is one effective response against the mobilisation of the far-right electorate. The more immigrants become citizens and can vote in elections, the more likely are politicians to listen to them and support inclusive policies. Immigrants can demand a place at the table as politicians negotiate the most difficult issues of our time, such as budget austerity, welfare cuts, education reform, and cultural, religious, and civil rights.

Since February 2014, we have been building a collaborative partnership with local and national organisations around Europe. Together, we have developed a practical model for campaigns that should inform and encourage thousands of immigrants to become citizens, register to vote, participate in politics and turn out for elections. The aim of this meeting is to look for additional partners and support in order to start piloting the campaigns in a number of cities across Europe.

The event is by invitation only.