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date: 15 July 2019

Summary and Keywords

Migration is linked to various dimensions of politics: the procedural or distributional dimension (who gets what, when, and how), the legal or statist dimension (which involves issues of sovereignty and legitimacy), and the ethical or normative dimension (which deals with questions of citizenship, civil society, justice, and participation). The key concept surrounding migration and politics is one of interest. According to Gary Freeman, the demand for immigration policy is heavily dependent on the play of organized interests. An alternative to Freeman’s explanation is the historical-institutional approach, also known as the “liberal state” thesis, which contends that, irrespective of economic cycles, the play of interests, and shifts in public opinion, immigrants and foreigners have acquired rights. Therefore, the capacity of liberal states to control immigration is constrained by laws and institutions. The extension of rights to non-nationals has been an extremely important part of the story of international migration in the post-World War II period. In an age of increasing globalization, the pace of migration accelerated and created the so-called liberal paradox, perfectly illustrated by the difficulty of using guest workers for managing labor markets in Western Europe. International migration is likely to intensify in coming decades. There are several challenges that immigration scholars need to address, such as devising a framework that will allow us to understand the relationship between the politics of immigration control and the politics of integration.

Keywords: Gary Freeman, immigration policy, organized interests, immigration control, liberal state thesis, rights, international migration, globalization, liberal paradox, politics of immigration control

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