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Discrimination and policies of immigrant selection in liberal states

Ellermann, Antje and Goenaga, Agustín LU (2019) In Politics & Society 47(1). p.87-116
Abstract

How should liberal societies select prospective members? A conventional reading of immigration history posits that whereas ascriptive characteristics drove immigration policy in the past, contemporary policy is based on the principle of nondiscrimination. Yet a closer look at the characteristics of those admitted reveals systematic group biases that run counter to liberalism’s core moral commitments. This article first discusses liberal states’ basic moral obligation to treat their citizens with equal respect. It then identifies ways in which the group biases produced by immigration policy violate that principle, when states either deprive their citizens of fundamental rights or stigmatize them through hierarchical constructions of... (More)

How should liberal societies select prospective members? A conventional reading of immigration history posits that whereas ascriptive characteristics drove immigration policy in the past, contemporary policy is based on the principle of nondiscrimination. Yet a closer look at the characteristics of those admitted reveals systematic group biases that run counter to liberalism’s core moral commitments. This article first discusses liberal states’ basic moral obligation to treat their citizens with equal respect. It then identifies ways in which the group biases produced by immigration policy violate that principle, when states either deprive their citizens of fundamental rights or stigmatize them through hierarchical constructions of citizenship. Three mechanisms are presented-structural bias, profiling, and positive selection-by which seemingly liberal admissions policies produce illiberal outcomes. The empirical analysis explores the resulting discriminatory group biases in the context of language and income conditionalities on family migration, excessive demand restrictions against economic migrants, and visa waivers for international travelers. We conclude that immigration reforms that mitigate, if not erase, these morally problematic patterns are within the reach of liberal states.

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organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Discrimination, Equal respect, Family immigration, Immigrant selection, Medical inadmissibility restrictions, Visa waiver programs
in
Politics & Society
volume
47
issue
1
pages
30 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • scopus:85061633952
ISSN
0032-3292
DOI
10.1177/0032329218820870
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5acd5366-8fd8-49dd-933a-b89d860943cc
date added to LUP
2019-03-01 12:00:29
date last changed
2020-10-07 06:19:58
@article{5acd5366-8fd8-49dd-933a-b89d860943cc,
  abstract     = {<p>How should liberal societies select prospective members? A conventional reading of immigration history posits that whereas ascriptive characteristics drove immigration policy in the past, contemporary policy is based on the principle of nondiscrimination. Yet a closer look at the characteristics of those admitted reveals systematic group biases that run counter to liberalism’s core moral commitments. This article first discusses liberal states’ basic moral obligation to treat their citizens with equal respect. It then identifies ways in which the group biases produced by immigration policy violate that principle, when states either deprive their citizens of fundamental rights or stigmatize them through hierarchical constructions of citizenship. Three mechanisms are presented-structural bias, profiling, and positive selection-by which seemingly liberal admissions policies produce illiberal outcomes. The empirical analysis explores the resulting discriminatory group biases in the context of language and income conditionalities on family migration, excessive demand restrictions against economic migrants, and visa waivers for international travelers. We conclude that immigration reforms that mitigate, if not erase, these morally problematic patterns are within the reach of liberal states.</p>},
  author       = {Ellermann, Antje and Goenaga, Agustín},
  issn         = {0032-3292},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {87--116},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Politics & Society},
  title        = {Discrimination and policies of immigrant selection in liberal states},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0032329218820870},
  doi          = {10.1177/0032329218820870},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {2019},
}