Immigration Controls: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States

Immigration Controls: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States

Immigration Controls: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States

Immigration Controls: The Search for Workable Policies in Germany and the United States

Synopsis

Comparing the United States and Germany, two of the 4 extended essays in this volume concern enforcement of immigration laws. The other two address techniques for managing high-volume asylum systems in both countries.

Excerpt

Kay Hailbronner and Hiroshi Motomura

I n recent years, immigration has emerged as one of the most heavily debated social and political issues in the industrialized West. Much of the concern stems from the seemingly endless stream of migrants, many of them spurred to leave their native countries by economic misery, political instability, and civil war. These migrant flows have put the major receiving countries of the West under growing pressure to revise existing immigration law and policy, as well as to formulate new law and policy where none has existed. As a result, immigration law and policy throughout the industrialized West have undergone substantial changes of late. The United States and Germany are two countries that have felt these immigration-related pressures with particular force. For this reason, their experiences -- including their responses in the form of immigration law and policy -- are particularly instructive, not just for each other but for other receiving countries as well.

The problems that the United States and Germany face have much in common, in spite of differences in their traditional attitudes to immigration and their approaches to administrative law and government regulation generally. In Germany, the traditional notion governing immigration law and policy has been that Germany is not an immigration country and therefore that non-Germans (unless they are citizens of a member country of the European Union) may not enter Germany to take up permanent residence. In fact, however, these traditional principles have not kept Germany from becoming a country of immigration. Its noncitizen population increased by 2.3 million from 1988 to 1993, a historically unprecedented flow of immigrants. In sheer numbers, this increase is comparable only to that in the United States, which has a population almost four times as large. The presence of this immigrant . . .

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