Immigration Policies in the EU: Failure or Success? Evidences from Italy

  • Elena Ambrosetti
  • Angela Paparusso


As stressed by Boswell and Geddes (2011), two approaches can be followed to analyze immigration policies in the European Union (EU) context. The first approach is the so-called “policy failure,” and it highlights the limited success of immigration policies in regulating and controlling migration (e.g., Bhagwati, 2003; Castles, 2004a, b; Cornelius, 2005). According to this approach, states are not able to perfectly define the migration outcomes and to limit migration for several reasons. First, immigration policies cannot influence structural factors, such as socioeconomic inequalities, labor market shortages, and political conflicts in origin countries (Czaika and de Haas, 2013). Second, while migration is a long-term and “self-sustaining process” (Castles, 2004b: 222), immigration policies are often shortterm rules with limited and populist goals and clear-cut targets. Third, liberal states have moral obligations towards migration since they have to respect international laws and human rights, such as the right of family reunification and the right of asylum (Joppke, 1998; Weiner, 1996). Finally, governments often need to conciliate the natives’ feelings of rejection towards migrants, declaring zero immigration, with economic interests (Freeman, 1995), such as the employment of lowskilled and low-wage workers. This can produce paradoxes (Geddes, 2008) and unintended consequences, such as irregular migration. From this perspective, immigration policies can be considered, to a certain extent, unintentionally permissive toward migrants. Failing in their objective of affecting migration inflows, immigration policies foster movements of people across borders.


European Union Asylum Seeker Immigration Policy European Union Member State Migration Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Elena Ambrosetti and Angela Paparusso 2015

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  • Elena Ambrosetti
  • Angela Paparusso

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