Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration.docx

27 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Randall Hansen

Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration Christian Joppke * One of the more popular watchwords of our time is that the nation-state is in decline--"too big" to solve regional problems, "too small" to solve global problems, as the topographical metaphor goes. A related argument is often made regarding an increasing incapacity of states to control immigration. "Strangers at the gate" was the alarmist cry heard in the wake of 1989 and all that. The Economist (March 15, 1991) showed a ramshackle border guardhouse being overrun by a giant bus bursting with all sorts of foreign- looking (and strangely cheerful) characters. Such hyperbole has since disappeared, partially as a result of tightened procedures for asylum across Western states. But there still seems to be a gap between a restrictionist control rhetoric and an expansionist immigration reality. An influential comparative volume on immigration control argues: "[T]he gap between the goals of national immigration policy . . . and the actual results of policies in this area (policy outcomes) is growing wider in all major industrialized democracies." Why do the developed states of the North Atlantic region accept more immigrants than their generally restrictionist rhetoric and policies intend? The phenomenon of unwanted immigration reflects the gap between restrictionist policy goals and expansionist outcomes. Unwanted immigration is not actively solicited by states, as in the legal quota immigration of the classic settler nations. Rather, it is accepted passively by states, either for humanitarian reasons and in recognition of individual rights, as in asylum-seeking and family reunification of labor migrants, or because of the states' sheer incapacity to keep migrants out, as in illegal immigration. The gap hypothesis can thus be reformulated2as the question, Why do liberal states accept unwanted immigration? [End Page 266] That states accept unwanted immigration contradicts one of their core prerogatives: the sovereignty over the admission and expulsion of aliens. As Hannah Arendt wrote with an eye to its totalitarian aberrations, "Sovereignty is nowhere more absolute than in3matters of emigration, naturalization, nationality, and expulsion." Does the acceptance of unwanted immigration indicate a decline of sovereignty? A quick "yes," as in David Jacobson's Rights across Borders, is premised on a simplistic and static notion of sovere4gnty, thus denying its historical variability and chronic imperfection. To answer the question fully, two things should be considered. First, it is important to distinguish between two separate aspects of sovereignty, formal rule-making authority and the empirical capacity to implement rules. The former belongs to international relations theory, in which sovereignty is the defining characteristic of individual states as the units of the international state system; the latter falls within the domain of political and historical sociology, which has preferred the notions of state strength, capacity, or autonomy to investigate the historically varying embodiments of the modern state. Gary Freeman has demonstrated that in both aspects there is little evidence for a decline of sovereignty regarding immigration control: the 7 decision to accept or reject aliens has not been relegated to actors other than the state, and the infrastructural capacity of modern states has not decreased, but increased, over time. Second, whether seen as judicial authority or empirical capacity, sovereignty has rarely been as absolute as conveyed by Arendt's characterization. Internationally, the exigencies of state interdependence have always put the brakes on erratic expulsion or nonadmittance practices because hostility against an alien might be [End Page 267] interpreted as hostility against her state. In addition, international law prohibits both expulsion or nonadmittance on grounds of race and the refoulement of the victims of political persecution in other states. Not only states, but also individuals, are legal subjects under international law--a novelty of the postwar era--and states are increasingly obliged to respect an emergent "law of migrants." Domestically, Western states qua constitutional states are bound by the rule of law, which in impor9ant respects protects the rights of persons and not just of citizens. Various authors have argued that global constraints force states to accept unwanted immigration. Saskia Sassen has identified two such external constraints on state sovereignty: econ10ic globalization and the rise of an international human rights regime. The penetration of peripheral countries by multinational corporations has created the push of an uprooted and mobile labor force seeking entry into the core countries of the world system. In addition, the secondary labor market in the receiving countries provides a powerful pull for immigrants. An emergent international human rights regime protects migrants, independent of their nationality, limiting the discretion of states toward aliens and devaluing national citizenship. Echoing the work of Jacobson, Sassen argues that the basis of state legitimacy has undergone a shift "from an exclusive emphasis on the sovereignty of the people and right to self-determination . . . to rights of individuals regardless of nationality." 11Taken together, economic and political globalization "reduce[s] the autonomy of the state in immigration 12 policy making," despite the state's desperate attempts to renationalize this policy area under the sign of populist restrictionism. The diagnosis of globally diminished sovereignty indicates that the West has partially created what it seeks to contain--international migration. But it does not answer the question as to why Western states accept unwanted immigrants. First, the space-indifferent logic of globalization cannot explain why some states, such as the immigrant-receiving states of the oil-producing Middle East, are very efficient at [End Page 268] keeping out, or sending 13 back, unwanted immigrants. Only liberal states are plagued by the problem of unwanted immigration. Second, globalists operate with a hyperbolic notion of strong sovereignty that never was. In terms of economic transactions, the world of the late nineteenth century was no less global than the world one hundred years later. 14If the Bonn Republic allowed its guest workers to stay, while Wilhelmine Germany practiced resolute rotation and mass expulsions, a state weakened by economic globalization cannot be the explanation. The state always had to vindicate itself within and against an inherently globalizing capitalism. Third, and related to this, the very reference to economic factors is insufficient to explain why states accept immigrants, wanted or unwanted. Economic globalization explains the mobilization of potential immigrants in the sending societies, as well as the interest of domestic employers in acquiring them, but not their actual acceptance by the receiving states. Unless one subscribes to the questionable view that the state is always a tool of capitalism, the task would be to identify the domestic processes by which, say, expansionist employer interests cancel out the restrictionist interests of the public in specific times and places. But then sovereignty would turn out to be internally, not externally, diminished. Fourth, the international human rights regime is not so strong as to make states fear and tremble. Jack Donnelly characterized it as a "relatively strong promotional regime," which rests on widely accepted norms and values, but lacks implementation and enforcement powers. 15 Devoid of hard legal powers, the international 16 human rights regime consists of the soft moral power of discourse. This is better than nothing. But globalists have been content with listing formal treaty and convention titles, avoiding the "detailed process-tracing" by which their soft power may become domestically effective. 17 Perhaps there would be little process to trace. For instance, the recent tightening of asylum law and policy across Western states demonstrates that these states have been extraordinarily inventive in circumventing the single strongest norm of the international human rights regime, the non-refoulement 18 obligation. [End Page 269] In the following, I propose an alternative explanation. The capacity of states to control immigration has not diminished but increased--as every person landing at Schipohl or Sidney airports without a valid entry visa would painfully notice. But for domestic reasons, liberal states are kept from putting this capacity to use. Not globally limited, but self-limited sovereignty explains why states accept unwanted immigrants. Gary Freeman identified the political process in liberal democracies as one major element of self-limited sovereignty. 19In contrast to the globalist diagnosis of vindictive yet ineffective restrictionism in Western states, Freeman starts with an opposing observation that the politics of immigration in liberal democracies is, in fact, "broadly expansionist and inclusive," 20 for which he gives two reasons. First, the benefits of immigration (such as cheap labor or reunited families) are concentrated, while its costs (such as increased social expenses or overpopulation) are diffused. That poses a collective action dilemma, in which the easily organizable beneficiaries of concentrated benefits (such as employers or ethnic groups) will prevail over the difficult-to-organize bearers of diffused costs, that is, the majority population. Borrowing from J. Q.Wilson, Freeman argues that immigration policy in liberal states is "client politics . . . a form of bilateral influence in which small and well-organized groups intensely interested in a poli21 develop close working relationships with officials responsible for it." Taking place out of public view and with little outside interference, the logic of client politics explains the expansiveness of liberal states vis-à-vis immigrants. Second, the universalistic idiom of liberalism prohibits the political elites in liberal states from addressing the ethnic or racial composition of migrant streams. Freeman calls that the "antipopulist norm." Its most potent expression is the principle of source country universalism in the classic settler nations, which no longer screen potential immigrants for their ethnic or racial fitness. The antipopulist norm will induce elites to seek consensus on immigration policy and to remove the issue from partisan politics. As I shall argue, a domestic political process under the sway of client politics is one reason why liberal states accept unwanted immigration. But I suggest two modifications to Freeman's model. [End Page 270] First, Freeman ignores the legal process as a second source of expansiveness toward immigrants in liberal states. In fact, the political process is chronically vulnerable to populist anti-immigrant sentiments --even in the United States, as the Congressional anti-immigrant backlash in the wake of California's Proposition 187 testifies. Judges are generally shielded from such pressures, as they are only obliged to the abstract commands of statutory and constitutional law. The legal process is crucial to explaining why European states continued accepting immigrants despite explicit zero- immigration policies since the early 1970s. In open opposition to a restrictionist executive, which switched from elitist client politics to popular national interest politics, courts invoked statutory and constitutional residence and family rights for immigrants. In Europe, the legal rather than the political process explains why states accept unwanted (family) immigration. In a second modification to Freeman's model, I suggest that there are important variations in the processing of unwanted immigration not just between the United States and Western Europe but within West European states themselves. Freeman lumps together guest-worker- and postcolonial- based immigration regimes and thus overlooks their different logics. In a guest-worker regime, such as Germany's, the state at one point actively lured (de facto) immigrants into the country, and thus is morally constrained not to dispose of them at will once it decides upon a change of course. In a postcolonial regime, such as Britain's, immigration was never actively solicited but passively tolerated for the sake of a secondary goal--the maintenance of empire. Immigration policy is thus by definition a negative control policy against immigration that at no point has been wanted. Differently developed moral obligations toward immigrants in both regimes (among other factors) help explain variations in European states' generosity or firmness toward immigrants. Discussing the two cases of illeg22 immigration in the United States and family immigration in Europe, I suggest that liberal states are internally, rather than externally, impaired in controlling unwanted immigration. The failure of the United States to control illegal immigration, [End Page 271] particularly from Mexico, is due primarily to the logic of client politics and a strong antipopulist norm that feeds upon America's emphatic self-description as a universal "nation of immigrants" and upon the civil rights imperative of strict nondiscrimination. In Europe, legal and moral constraints kept states from pursuing rigorous zero- immigration policies after the closing of new postcolonial and guest-worker immigration in the late 1960s and early 1970s, respectively. Juxtaposing the extreme cases of Germany and Britain, I further suggest that these constraints were most unevenly distributed across Europe, partially reflecting the different logics of guest-worker and postcolonial regimes. Illegal Immigration in the United States America's enduring incapacity to control illegal immigration is the root cause of its heated immigration debate today. Before investigating this incapacity, it is first necessary to destroy the public myth that the United States has lost control over its borders. This myth, shared by policymakers and academics alike, was powerfully established by the 1981 report of the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, U.S. Immigration Policy in the National Interest. It stipulated that immigration policy was "out of control," and that the containment of illegal immigration had to be the first step in regaining control. That perspective, stating a sequence of loss and recovery, is misleading; there had never been a golden age of control. The problem of illegal immigration is a by-product of the attempt to build a unified, national system of immigration control, which no longer exempted Western hemisphere immigration. The three-step effort entailed: (1) stopping (under the pressure of domestic labor unions) the Bracero guest-worker program in 1964, which for more than two decades had provided Western growers with cheap foreign fruit pickers; (2) establishing through the 1965 Immigration Act a ceiling of 120,000 immigrant visas for the Western hemisphere, which had formerly been exempted from numerical restrictions; and (3) applying, in 1976, the Eastern hemisphere individual-country limit of twenty thousand annual visas to Western hemisphere countries, which resulted in Mexico instantly developing a severe visa backlog. Not a loss of control, but the nationalization and standardization of U.S. immigration control is the proper premise for understanding the origins of illegal immigration. Tellingly, apprehension figures--widely used as indicators of the stock and flow of illegal immigrants--rose steeply after the end of Bracero in [End Page 272] 1964. They first crossed the one million mark in 1976, at the very moment the first national immigration regime, which applied the same control criteria to Eastern and Western Hemisphere countries, was completed. Without belittling the physical dimension of a two thousand mile land border that divides the First from the Third World, the problem of illegal immigration is quite literally a social construction. Given this caveat of a control that never was, and bracketing the physical problem of policing an inherently difficult border, the incapacity of the U.S. to stop illegal immigration is due to the logic of client politics, as predicted by Gary Freeman. I will illustrate this, first, through the career of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), and, second, through the failure of the U.S. to establish effective immigration controls in the 1990s. IRCA carried its restrictionist intention in its name. It turned out, however, to be vastly expansionist, legalizing the status of three million illegal immigrants in the United States, while failing to establish effective measures against the inflow of new illegal immigrants. The influence of two client groups is responsible for this outcome: ethnic and civil rights groups, who argued and mobilized effectively against allegedly discriminatory employer sanctions; and employers, particularly Western growers, who pushed for a guest-worker program that became acceptable only through adopting the features of a second, small amnesty for temporary workers. In a settler nation, where nation building has coincided with immigration, immigration policy is a highly institutionalized process, in which pro- immigrant interests have a legitimate, entrenched role in policy-making. During the first round of the six-year IRCA saga, which ranks among the more embattled legislations of recent times, the opposition of Hispanic interest groups to the introduction of employer sanctions was key to preventing temporarily any legislation on illegal immigration. As recommended by the Select Commission in 1981, the stick of employer sanctions was to accompany the carrot of amnesty. Unless it was illegal for employers to employ illegal workers--so reckoned the Select Commission-- the legacy of the infamous Texas Proviso was not to be beaten. 23 But because Hispanics formed the majority of illegal immigrants in the U. S., any measure against illegal immigrants must have appeared as anti- Hispanic. As Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, a congressional leader of immigration reform [End Page 273] throughout the 1980s and 1990s, put it, "Any reference to immigration reform or control turns out, unfortunately, to be a code word for ethnic discrimination." 24 In their opposition to the "anti-Hispanic" employer sanctions, the Hispanic lobby skillfully exploited the fact that even the slightest hint of ethnic or racial discrimination was anathema in the era of civil rights. In fact, in the battle over employer sanctions, Hispanics first emerged as a unified national force capable of blocking legislation detrimental to their perceived interest. Twice, in 1982 and 1983, the Hispanic lobby succeeded in stalling the House version of the Simpson-Mazzoli (immigration reform) bill after it had won comfortable majorities in the Senate. Democratic House majority leader Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill caustically defended his refusal to hold a vote on the second Simpson-Mazzoli bill in October 1983: "[I]t has to be acceptable to the Hispanic Caucus." 25 The Hispanics were joined by civil rights groups, who feared that the introduction of an employment verification system (dubbed a "national ID card") would be detrimental to civil liberties in general, and lead to a "culture of suspicion." 26 This perception was shared across the ideological spectrum. A leading conservative columnist branded the introduction of an ID card as "this generation's largest step toward totalitarianism," concluding that "it is better to tolerate the illegal movement of aliens and even criminals than to tolerate the constant surveillance of the free." 27In his refusal to have a vote on the second version of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, O'Neill struck a similar chord: "Hitler did this to the Jews, you know. He made them wear a 28 dog tag." Against such wide opposition, which linked the civil rights imperative of nondiscrimination with traditional American antistatism, the plan of a standardized employment verification scheme had to be dropped. A first severe crack in the control dimension of IRCA had been inflicted. During the second round of IRCA, compromise-seeking agricultural employers broke their initial alliance with the less compromise-prone ethnic and civic groups, but demanded a guest-worker program as the price for their support of an immigration control law. The growers' insatiable appetite for cheap immigrant labor was equally disliked by Simpson, whose honest but quixotic mission was to craft immigration law and policy in the national interest: "The greed of the growers . . . is [End Page 274] insatiable. There is no way they can be satisfied. Their entire function in life is that when the figs are ready, the figs sho29d be harvested and they need four thousand human beings to do that." A third, more drastic version of the Simpson Senate bill, introduced in spring 1985, brought the moderate part of the Hispanic lobby aboard by threatening to drop the amnesty provision altogether. In this "final inning" of the Simpson-Mazzoli saga, 30the joint energy of immigration control advocates and of the ethnic and civil rights lobby focused on neutralizing the growers' initiative for a guest-worker program. This initiative was spearheaded by the later immigration foe Pete Wilson, then a Republican senator from California, who asked for an annual contingent of 350,000 foreign workers to harvest perishable fruits for up to nine months a year. Interestingly, the idea of guest workers was liked by no one except the growers, with the European negative experience firmly in mind. The inevitable compromise with the growers thus had to consist of beefing up the civil rights of the workers they asked for. Mediated by liberal Congressman Charles Schumer, the eventual compromise transformed the guest-worker program into a second amnesty. The so-called Schumer proposal, which became a part of IRCA, provided permanent-resident status, and eventually citizenship, for illegal aliens who had worked in American agriculture for at least ninety days from May 1985 through April 1986, while granting the same possibility to "replenishment" workers in the future. "For the first time in American history," said an exuberant Lawrence Fuchs, "outsiders brought in to difficult, temporary jobs would be given the full 31 Constitutional protections and many of the privileges of insiders." Signed into law in early November 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act was certainly a "left-center bill," 32in which the control aspect was barely visible. Putting to an end the Texas proviso, IRCA imposed a sanction scheme on employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. But in a concession to Hispanics and employers, sanctions would be abolished if the General Accounting Office were to find discrimination or undue burdens on employers in the future. Most importantly, IRCA included a far-reaching antidiscrimination provision that [End Page 275] added the concept of "alienage" to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship. This amounted to the "only expansion of civil rights protection in the whole Reagan era." 33 Of IRCA's dual amnesty-sanctions agenda, only the amnesty component worked as intended. Nearly 1.8 million illegal immigrants applied for legal status under the general legalization program, and 1.3 million under the small amnesty of the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) program. But IRCA failed to reduce the stock and flow of illegal immigrants. After a temporary drop of apprehension figures in 1987 and 1988--attributable less to the effectiveness of sanctions than to a wait-and-see response among potential immigrants--by 1989 the illegal flow was back to pre-IRCA levels.34 In 1993 the size of the illegal population in the U.S. was estimated 35 to be as high as ten years ago--between three and four million persons. Why did IRCA fail to control illegal immigration? A major reason is a toothless sanctions scheme, which resulted from the "odd coalition" pressure by Hispanics and employers. 36 From early on, a good-faith clause had been inserted into the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, which released employers from any obligation to check the authenticity of employees' documents: a document check conducted in good faith constituted an "affirmative defense" that the respective employer had not committed the "knowing hire" misdemeanor. 37In effect, employers were immune from punishment if they filled out and filed away routine I-9 forms that attested to the document check. Because the introduction of a national ID card had been blocked, some twenty-nine documents--including easily faked U.S. birth certificates, so-called breeders--served to satisfy the control requirement. The positive affirmative-defense incentive was complemented by a negative antidiscrimination incentive: demanding a specific ID constituted an "unfair immigration related employment practice." So employers were better off accepting the document passively offered by the prospective employee. As David Martin put it, [End Page 276] IRCA's sanctions scheme "tells employers that it is more important to avoid even an appearance of discrimination than it is to wind up employing unauthorized workers." The 38 civil rights imperative of nondiscrimination has obviously stood in the way of effective immigration control. As I would like to argue in a second step, even the anti-immigration movement of the 1990s has been unable to do away with expansive client politics. The inability of political elites to deal effectively with illegal immigration provoked the biggest anti-immigrant backlash in seventy years. In November 1994, Californian voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187, dubbed the "Save Our State" (SOS) Initiative, which would bar illegal aliens from most state-provided services, including health care and education. This was no less than a political earthquake. Transmitted by the most conservative Congress in half a century, with both houses falling to Republican control in the same November elections, the aftershock was immediately felt in Washington. A sweeping overhaul not only of illegal, but also of legal immigration seemed to be in the making, turning the clock back before 1965, the legislative opening of America to mass immigration. Two years later, the earthquake is reduced to a tremor. The planned restriction of legal immigration has been shelved, perhaps indefinitely. Until it was signed into law as the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, an initially drastic proposal to combat illegal immigration was watered down significantly. Once again, client politics came in the way of "put[ting] the interests of America first." 39 It is no accident that the anti-immigrant earthquake had its epicenter in California. Initially rural and peopled by the white farmers' flight from the dust-bowl misery of 1930s Oklahoma, California not only lacks the "nations of immigrants" nostalgia of the East Coast cities, with the Statue of Liberty and other new world symbols, but more importantly, it also is the residence of almost half of the estimated national total of four million illegal immigrants. The Urban Institute calculated that they cost the state close to $2 billion per year in education, emergency medical services, and incarceration. Against this, the $732 million in state revenues from sales, property, and income taxes on illegal aliens appear paltry. 40[End Page 277] California epitomizes three problems of contemporary immigration to the U.S.: its extreme regional concentration; the disproportionate costs incurred by some state governments, while the main benefits in terms of federal taxes and social security payments are reaped by the federal government; and the increasing focus on immigration's negative welfare rather than labor-market implications. Accordingly, the leaders of SOS and their staunchest supporter, Republican governor Pete Wilson, went out of their way to stress that Proposition 187 was not about immigration control (which is the prerogative of the federal government), but about a squeezed budget. The budget crunch was real, given that California was just undergoing its most severe economic recession since the first oil crisis, which resulted from the post-cold war restructuring of the U.S. defense industry. It was clear up front that Prop41ition 187, which openly defied the Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe, would get stuck in local and federal courts. However, also supported by one-third of Latino and the majority of Asian and black voters, Proposition 187 was essentially a symbolic measure to the political elites who had so recklessly evaded realities and responsibilities for years. And if Congress picked up the ball at the national level (this was the more than symbolic reasoning of the initiative leaders) the Supreme Court might reconsider Plyler v. Doe and eventually uphold the restrictionist state law. Congress indeed picked up the ball without delay. A federal Commission on Immigration Reform immediately proposed drastic changes of existing immigration law and policy. Headed by Barbara Jordan, the former black Congresswoman from Texas, and spiked by liberal pro-immigrant politicians and academics, the commission in its final report in March 1995 recommended that legal immigration should be cut by one-third, the extended family categories should be scrapped altogether, and employers should find it more difficult and costly to hire foreign professionals. Interestingly, the commission did not touch the nation-of-immigrants myth, but stated that "the U.S. has been and should continue to be a nation of immigrants." 42 But this proposal, supported also by the Clinton administration, went even further than Proposition 187 and Governor Wilson, who had targeted only illegal immigration. [End Page 278] Regarding illegal immigration, the commission already in late 1994 had advocated a national employment verification system, which would compile the names and social security numbers of all citizens and legal aliens authorized to work in the U.S. and make it mandatory for employers to call it up before hiring new workers. The proposal stopped short of introducing a national ID card, which continues to be anathema in the U.S. But, predictably, it was seen by a plethora of ethnic, civil rights, and business organizations as being just that: a national ID card in disguise. The commission's recommendations were incorporated in similar House and Senate bills, introduced by Lamar Smith, a Republican congressman from Texas, and Senator Alan Simpson. Both bills centered around three measures: cut legal immigration by slashing the nonnuclear family categories and reducing skilled immigration; combat illegal immigration by screening the workplace more tightly and fortifying the borders; and, in a windfall from the parallel congressional effort of welfare reform, making illegal and legal aliens ineligible for most public services. Hardly had the ink dried, when the machine of client politics was set in motion. An unusually broad "Left-Right Coalition on Immigration" included not just the usually odd immigration bedfellows of employers and ethnic and civil rights groups, but also the Home School Network, a Christian fundamentalist group rallying against the antifamily measures to curtail legal immigration; Americans for Tax Reform, who disliked--along with Microsoft, Intel, and the National Association of Manufacturers--to have employers pay a heavy tax on each foreign worker they sponsored; and the National Rifle Association, upset by the employment verification system (If 43 you're going to register people, why not guns? they shouted). Richard Day, the chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, characterized this unusual line-up as "Washington groups" against "the American people," who had asked for "some breathing space" from immigration. 44 Such is the logic of immigration as client politics. The first success of the client machine was to split the omnibus bill in two. The machine was helped in this by divisions within the Republican Party. A large section of free-market and family-value Republicans (such as Jack Kemp, William Bennett, and Dick Armey) favored legal immigration. In addition, Republicans from California, where the problem of illegal immigration was most pressing, feared that rifts over [End Page 279] legal immigration would improperly delay the impatiently awaited crackdown on illegal immigration. In March 1996, the Senate Judiciary Committee, with the parallel House committee following suit, decided to postpone legislation on legal immigration and to concentrate on illegal immigration first. The "big one" had suddenly shrunk to a smallish immigration tremor. Only a few months earlier, Republican Lamar Smith had boasted that "the question is no longer whether legal immigration should be reformed, but how it should be reformed." 45Now he lay flattened by the client machine. "Congress has liste46d to lobbyists more than public opinion," wrote an angry immigration foe. After cracking the omnibus bill, the effort of the pro-immigration lobby concentrated on smoothening some drastic features of the remaining bill on illegal immigration. One target was the proposal for a mandatory, nationwide, employment verification system, denounced by a libertarian critic as "dialing '1-800 Big Brother.'"47An amendment by Senator Edward Kennedy watered down the proposal, which was to be in place within eight years, to a variety of voluntary pilot programs in high-immigration states, to be reviewed by Congress after three years. The weakened proposal meant that without new legislation, there would be no nationwide employment verification system. This was an important step away from the recommendation of the Commission on Immigration Reform, which had called a mandatory national verification system the linchpin of combating illegal immigration. In addition, an amendment by Senator Orrin Hatch, a pro-immigration Republican from Utah, eliminated a hefty increase in fines against employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens--a victory for small business owners. When signed into law by President Clinton in early October 1996, the "Maginot line against illegal immigration" 48looked more like a Swiss cheese, with big holes eaten into it by America's clients of immigration policy. The drastic Gallegly amendment in the House (named after its sponsor, California Republican Elton Gallegly), which would allow states to bar the children of illegal immigrants from public schools and thus would turn into national law California's Proposition 187, was dropped from the final bill, also because of a safe presidential veto. A watered-down employment verification system is unlikely to fix the biggest deficit in illegal immigration control, ineffective workplace [End Page 280]screening and employer sanctions. The control impetus in the new law thus boils down to stricter border enforcement; doubling the number of border patrol agents to ten thousand by the year 2000: requiring the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to build a fourteen-mile long, ten-foot high, triple-steel fence south of San Diego; and imposing stiff penalties on the flourishing business of smuggling aliens into the U.S. This only reinforces existing policy. As in its various border operations, "Gatekeeper" or "Hold the Line," the Clinton administration had cleverly preempted Republicans from monopolizing the immigration-control discourse during the 1996 Presidential election campaign. It must be conceded that, whatever means it chooses, the United States can perhaps never expect to reduce illegal immigration to zero. As Peter Schuck correctly noted, "A vast, prosperous nation with strong due process and equal protection values and a 2,000-mile border with the Third World cann49 eliminate illegal migration; it can only hope to manage it." Chances are that the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996 will not be of much help in accomplishing this task. Family Immigration in Europe Whereas America's debate about illegal immigration is alive and evolving every day, Europe's debate about family immigration is historically closed, reflecting a fundamental difference in immigration on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States, immigration is a recurrent process. Not even the most severe anti-immigrant backlash in the last seventy years has managed to slam the Golden Door, and mass immigration (legal and illegal) continues unabated. By contrast, Europe closed its doors to new immigration over twenty years ago. Postwar immigration to Europe has been a nonrecurrent, historically unique process, with immigrants acquired not by will, but by default. The family became the site for closing down guest-worker and postcolonial immigration, torn between the opposite vectors of the individual rights of migrants and the right of sovereign states to admit or reject aliens. In this, European family immigration differs from American family immigration, which is defined in the language of quotas, not rights, and has become the chief mechanism of acquiring new wanted immigrants. European states did not actively solicit the belated arrival of the spouses and children, not to mention the extended family, of its labor migrants. They had to accept family immigration, recognizing the [End Page 281] moral and legal rights of those initially admitted. In this sense, European family immigration is unwanted immigration. As I shall argue, its acceptance can not be understood in terms of client politics. There is no entrenched pro- immigration lobby in Europe comparable to the United States. After the shift to zero-immigration policies from the late 1960s to early 1970s, the European politics of immigration became national interest politics. States now uniformly disregarded their single strongest client, employers interested in cheap foreign labor, and acted on behalf of collective goals such as social integration or the integrity of nationhood. The immigration that still occurred was as of right or morally tolerated immigration. It pitted a state that would rather not see it happen against the immigrant who only sought what liberal states cannot deny--family unity. In handling family immigration, European states accepted a language of primary and secondary immigration that is unknown in the United States. Primary immigration is actively recruited, as in a guest-worker regime, or passively tolerated in the absence of restrictions, as in a postcolonial regime. Secondary immigration occurs after the recruitment stop or the introduction of restrictions, in recognition of the family rights of primary immigrants. In each European state there is a historically particular core of primary immigrants, such as South Asians or Afro-Caribbeans in Great Britain or Turks in Germany, for whom a specific, elaborate discourse of rights and moral obligations evolves. This approach has allowed European states to act humanely and generously toward those once admitted, while slamming the door to everyone else. In this sense, the principle of source-country universalism and the norm of not addre
More Less

Related notes for POL207Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.