In England, it was called the Tebbit Test. The right-wing politician Norman Tebbit suggested in 1990 that immigrants from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean would not be truly assimilated until they supported their new country, rather than their respective homelands, in cricket. Thankfully, we have no such test in the United States; in a nation of immigrants, plenty of people feel allegiance to more than one team. But why is the American World Cup squad winning over more and more people with strong links to other nations?

n January 2014, I was released from a maximum-security prison in the middle of a desert in the United Arab Emirates. I had been imprisoned for nine months, all but two weeks without a conviction. The reason? UAE authorities accused me of threatening the country's national security by creating a sketch-comedy video parodying teenagers in Dubai and posting it on YouTube.

This week Saudi authorities resumed a sweeping crackdown on foreign workers violating local labor laws. Officials arrestedmore than 20,000 people over two days, according to the Jeddah-based Saudi Gazette, and deported many of them. The crackdown, which King Abdullah had suspended in July for six months to allow time for workers to regularize their status, primarily targets workers who do not have valid residency or work permits, but also affects workers with valid documents who are not working for the employer the documents designate.

Saudi authorities rounded up thousands of illegal foreign workers at the start of a nationwide crackdown, according to media reports. "Since early [Monday] morning, the security campaign got off to a vigorous start as inspectors swung into action," Nawaf al-Bouq, a police spokesman, told the Saudi Gazette newspaper. Police carried out raids on businesses, markets and residential areas to catch expatriates whose visas are invalid because they are not working for the company that 'sponsored' their entry into the kingdom.

The French are checking their pockets and searching their souls. The problem is the in-your-face presence of a few thousand Roma immigrants, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania, who are blamed for petty thievery, begging, camping illegally on public lands, sleeping under bridges or on grates in the city street and a host of minor crimes that the French authorities seem unable to control.