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Příspěvek Terezy Kušnirákové na mezinárodní konferenci "Multiculturalisms: Theories and Practice" na Cardiff University, UK

PhD studentka GEOMIGRACE Tereza Kušniráková 16. května 2012 přednese svůj příspěvek "Czech Assimilationism in a Coat of Integration: Alien vs. Immigration Policy" na mezinárodní konferenci "Multiculturalisms: Theories and Practice" na Cardiff University, Walles, Spojené království.



Over the last twenty years, the immigrant community in Czechia has increased from literally zero to half a million persons, almost 5 % of the total population, and Czechia has been forced to implement measures to regulate the entry and residence of foreigners on its territory. In the year 2000, Czechia adopted two immigration acts (Act on the Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic and Act on Asylum) and the Concept of Foreigner Integration Policy (FIP), which was later revised in 2006. From the beginning, Czech migration policy has been considered uncoordinated and full of contradictory steps; it is the most criticized for being unstable, utilitarian, nonsystematic and non-politicized. It lacks long term vision, relies on the EU and is overly bureaucratic. Unlike the EU migration policy, which stems from long-term plans, the Czech plan is often shaped and based on ad hoc decisions reflecting current state needs. Due to the ill-conceived and bureaucratic nature of Czech migration policy, this policy is a kind of "catdog" between liberal rhetoric of the official and the real action towards foreigners. While the responsible officials mostly use the terms "multicultural coexistence" and "integration" which they have borrowed from their more experienced Western colleagues, their real action towards foreigners relies on restrictive measures, controls and assimilationist tendencies. Organized expulsion of "unwanted" foreigners, a technique adopted from the Czech socialist history, is also employed. Although Czech migration policy has a concept of integration, there is no Act on Integration, and the Alien Act itself does not include the terms “immigrant” or “settlement”. All migration policy documents rather use alien than immigration policz terminology; despite the integration rhetoric of officials and some politicians, no concrete steps have been implemented concerning the support of immigrants’ integration. The paper will discuss this contradiction in Czech migration policy, as well as the dominant discourse of governmental officials and their real action. The paper discusses the prevailing tendency to blame multiculturalism for subverting European tradition and culture, and for considering such ideology as a potential threat for the coherence of Czech society. Multiculturalism has been part of the ongoing debate among governmental officials and some high politicians, including the Czech president, despite the fact that multicultural society has not been experienced in Czechia since the violent expulsion of Czech Germans in 1945.