In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that migrant job-seekers whose English is poor and who don't take state-funded language classes risk losing their unemployment benefits. This is extreme in two ways: It rightfully leaves non-integrators little choice but to blend in at least linguistically, and it places the burden of integration on the taxpayer. Rather than getting to the point where blackmail is required for immigrants to learn the language of their new country, perhaps friends or relatives could have sent them some Rosetta Stone tapes so they'd be functional members of society when they arrived. The government could have also, long ago, chosen to limit non-English-speaking immigration to the odd qualified refugee.
A good example of a moderate measure to combat an intrusive societal problem was announced last week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was in pre-election campaign mode: having juvenile delinquents participate in military camps run by former military personnel as an alternative to incarceration. Little Jean or Jacques doesn't have to actually go dodge bullets in a conflict zone for, say, snatching iPhones from the hands of unsuspecting public-transit passengers.
The urchins should be thankful for the opportunity to be straightened out via fake boot camp. If urban-youth crime is allowed to progress any further because minor wrist-slapping continues to prove ineffective, then taxpayers will gladly pay to have the little punks dropped into a war zone.
(c) 2011 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.