Immigration and National Security: Comparing the US and Europe

By Givens, Terri E. | Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Immigration and National Security: Comparing the US and Europe


Givens, Terri E., Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations


In the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2008, the United States administration officials emphasized that economic security needed to go hand in hand with national security. Immigration is an often overlooked yet major component of both economic and national security. Much is made of capital flows, trade agreements, treaties, and military action in the broader scheme of international relations. However, the flow of people, particularly people from a variety of ethnic and national backgrounds, has always played a key role in international relations, including on security issues.

This article discusses the role that immigration plays in the development of national security policy. The article further demonstrates that there are significant differences in how migration issues play out in the US and Europe. Several factors are explained that impact immigration policy, such as terror attacks and economic concerns. Immigration is then defined to understand the various factors that impact different policy areas and explain the types of immigration policies. The next section outlines the basic differences between the US and Europe. The following sections examine recent issues of immigration and immigrant integration in the US and compare these issues with Europe. In the conclusion, the tensions between security and economic growth in the context of immigration restriction are discussed.

The main reason that immigration reform in the US is so difficult is the fact that the public has difficulty seeing beyond the cultural and ideational issues raised by the flow of people, whereas border control is a clear security issue. In Europe, the visibility of immigrants and concerns about cultural homogeneity, as seen in the popularity of populist anti-immigrant parties, keeps the focus of securitization on the integration of immigrants.

THE IMPACT OF TERROR ATTACKS AND OTHER FACTORS ON IMMIGRATION POLICY

In academic literature, there has been a new (or perhaps renewed) focus on immigration as a security issue since the terror attacks of 9/11, the London subway bombings, and the Madrid train bombings. This includes two volumes, Immigration Policy and Security, edited by Gary Freeman, David Leal, and myself, and Immigration, Integration and Security by Ariane Chebel D'Appolonia and Simon Reich.1 The authors in these books found that 9/11 did not actually trigger the securitization of immigration; rather, many of the measures put in place were planned prior to the terror attacks.

The impact of 9/11 on immigrants, however, was clearly the result of securitizing immigration. Givens, Freeman, and Leal note:

The American response to terrorism imposed more costly measures on migrants than have been seen in the other settler societies or in most parts of Europe. The attack on the Twin Towers clearly derailed what would have almost certainly been a major expansion and liberalisation of American immigration law that the Bush administration had promised President Vicente Fox of Mexico.2

It was expected that the new Bush policies would include guest worker programs, at a minimum, and many legislators called for legalization programs. However, these issues were not completely removed from the agenda post-9/11. Despite the fact that security was the main focus of US immigration policy after 9/11, attempts were made at passing comprehensive immigration reform, as I describe below. However, legislation that attempted to deal with the flows of undocumented immigrants stalled in Congress, while measures for controlling the border passed.

In Immigration, Integration and Security, Chebel D'Appollonia and Reich point out:

The purported transatlantic divide shrinks if we examine the commonalities on this issue. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic seise upon the images of riotingyouth, human and drug traffickers, and terrorists. They do this to generate domestic support for the securitisation of immigration policies, intent as they are on patching holes in the fabric of their civil societies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Immigration and National Security: Comparing the US and Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.