Lobbying for Inclusion: Rights Politics and the Making of Immigration Policy

Lobbying for Inclusion: Rights Politics and the Making of Immigration Policy

Lobbying for Inclusion: Rights Politics and the Making of Immigration Policy

Lobbying for Inclusion: Rights Politics and the Making of Immigration Policy

Excerpt

We live in an age when people can travel across oceans and continents in just a few hours. Multinational corporations frequently relocate their employees from one country to another. Manufacturers and providers of services readily import foreign workers from abroad. As the mobility of international labor has increased, national borders have become remarkably permeable. And as the nature of borders has changed, immigration policy has assumed an increasingly important role in delineating the boundaries of the nation-state.

National governments have only gradually adapted their immigration policies to globalization. Relatively quick to implement policies that encourage the free trade of goods, the governments of highly industrialized democracies have been reluctant to adjust their laws to achieve an orderly and humane flow of labor into their national territories. Immigration policy is slow to change because it remains both a formal mechanism and a powerful symbol of national sovereignty. By specifying who can be admitted to—and who must be excluded from— the national political community, modern democratic states define themselves.

I first became interested in how immigration policies are made because of their capacity to shape not only the makeup of the citizenry but also the character of the state. Immigration laws are enormously complex, a fabric woven of the many economic and cultural forces at work in domestic and international politics. In my analysis here, I focus on one of those forces, ethnic rights groups, organizations that have received relatively little attention in the immigration literature. In particular, I address . . .

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