POLA01H3 Chapter Week 10: POLA01 - Notes on Multicultiralism Week 10
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Week 10 – Concept of “Multiculturalism”
Multiculturalism is fundamentally about the treatment of immigrants after they
have settled, rather than about who is admitted in the first place.
However, multiculturalism for settled immigrants is more controversial in
circumstances where citizens fear that they lack control over their borders, and
hence lack control over who is admitted.
Multiculturalism has had an easier time in countries such as Australia and Canada,
where immigration is overwhelmingly the result of state selection, with few
Having a sense of control over one’s borders, and hence the capacity to determine
who enters and in what number, has several consequences.
First, it reduces fear of being swamped by unwanted migrants — it, therefore,
lowers the temperature of debates, and makes citizens feel secure that they are in
control of their own destiny.
Second, in most Western countries there is a strong moralistic objection to
rewarding migrants who enter the country illegally or under false pretences (i.e.,
economic migrants making false claims about escaping persecution).
Such migrants are seen as flouting the rule of law, both in the way they first enter
the country, and often in their subsequent activities (e.g., working illegally).
Most citizens have a strong moral objection to rewarding such illegal or dishonest
Moreover, such migrants are often seen as “jumping the queue,” taking the place
of equally needy or equally deserving would-be migrants who seek entry through
There is also a prudential objection to providing MCPs for unauthorized
immigrants, since this may encourage more illegal migration.
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