Non-Governmental Cooperation among Immigrants and Local People

by Hiroki Matsukura

In class, listening to the talk of Ms. Ishihara, a staff member of the Filipino Migrants Centre in Nagoya, I finally started to think that the only way to perfectly “save” immigrants is the network of host country’s local community. After all, there is no need to say, but the government is too precarious for immigrants to be faithful to and depend on it. We can say that a host developed country, such as Japan, sometimes seems not to be helpful or cooperative to immigrants especially ones without citizenship there. The government does not have an obligation to provide the immigrants with perfect service, such as welfare. Instead, it regulates and controls them. Thus when it does not like them, it will easily arrest them and send back to their home countries. These might be the governments’ opinions about one of the immigration aspects. On the international norm, the governments have to keep their security with their sovereignty and help their own national people in the world anarchy system. So, in the worst cases the governments will think the immigrants as just menace for them. Additionally, the immigrants without citizenship cannot participate in democratic politics system. Thus, they cannot reflect their desires to policies at all.

In such a reality, the supports of local cooperative network must be pragmatically helpful for immigrants. We can pick up three important points about the cooperation. The first one is being not governmental, but private. NGO and NPO are quite effective on this issue. They do not have to think legality, which the government always has to think when it does something, so they can be privately closer and more intimate to immigrants. And, they can take actions more flexibly than governments. That is also a characteristic point. The second point is being local. The local level has most contacts with immigrants, so support from the local can be the most direct and can response fastest to problems. Contra laterally speaking, the level which find most complaints about the existence of immigrant will be the local. Thus, we can understand that coping with problems among the local level is quite effective. At last the third one is both participations of the locals and immigrants. Cooperation between them will bring about their relation of trusting and relief. These points can complement the support for immigrants in short of the governmental help.

What I believe we need to aim at about immigrants issue in the local level is the inclusion of them. The inclusion is not assimilation but not being excluded. Showing the local members that immigrants can introduce advantage into the host local communities, immigrants can be the existence which the local community cannot ignore and exclude. Of course, we can point out the interactive communication, but also the participation of both sides with interactive benefits. Additionally we can think about another potential on this. After achieving the inclusive local network, they can extend the network to inter-community level, or establish a coalition of the cooperative local networks. The local power to intend including the excluded comers will intimately empower immigrants’ position.

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