European Immigration Policies in Comparative Perspective: Issue Salience, Partisanship and Immigrant Rights
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This paper examines the impact of issue salience and political partisanship on the restrictiveness of immigration laws in France, Germany, and the UK, from 1990 to 2002. Our first hypothesis is that immigration policymaking in liberal states is normally dominated by client politics, which minimizes restrictiveness towards immigrant rights, but under conditions of high issue salience and prominent media coverage, policy becomes more restrictive. Our second hypothesis is that Left and Right parties are equally restrictive vis-à-vis policies to control immigration, but Right parties are more restrictive vis-à-vis policies to integrate already-resident immigrants into society. We statistically test both of these hypotheses in Western Europe, while controlling for the impact of unemployment, GDP growth, and numbers of immigrants and refugees. Our analysis confirms that issue salience is a predictor of the restrictiveness of national immigration laws and that partisanship plays a role in policies towards the integration of already-resident immigrants, but not towards controlling the inflow of new immigrants.
Keywordsimmigration immigrants refugees asylum citizenship issue salience
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