Immigration: For France a winning formula

French national team

On his recent visit to Europe, US President Trump asserted that immigration is “changing the culture, I think it is a very negative thing for Europe.” He warned that in countries like Germany, which has received large numbers of immigrants in recent years “they better watch themselves because you are changing culture.” Changing in his view is not a positive development, but rather “very bad”. British Prime Minister May countered that “immigration has been good for the UK. It has brought people with different backgrounds, different outlooks here.” Anyone who has visited Britain and enjoyed the infusion of Indian and Pakistani food into the UK way of life can testify to the benefits of immigrant communities when it comes to food. Similar perspectives could be offered for Germany, where Turkish influences have changed the culture not only in terms of food (döner kebab) but also enriched film and literature: Turkish-German authors and directors are among the most creative and popular country-wide in Germany.

The victory of the French national team (“Les bleus”) in the World Cup today is testimony to the benefits of immigration for excellence in sports. The French football (soccer) team has a large number of players with immigrant backgrounds. Out of the 23 players, 16 are from families recently immigrated to France, most from African countries; 7 are Muslims. The team won not just due to the individual talents of the players, but because they played as a team; in the words of Roger Bennett, host of Men in Blazers, they “subsumed their egos and played as a collective.”

The US national team didn’t qualify for the World Cup this time. Maybe immigrant communities could help?