Illiberal Liberalism: Cultural Restrictions on Migration and Access to Citizenship in Europe
54 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2010 Last revised: 10 Dec 2014
Date Written: May 28, 2009
This article addresses a simple but important and understudied question: Is culture a legitimate criterion for regulating migration and access to citizenship? While focusing on France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark, I describe how these states embrace illiberal migration policies which violate the same values they seek to protect. I then construct a two-stage set of immigration-regulation principles: In the first stage, immigrants would have to accept some structural liberal-democratic principles as a prerequisite for admission; these principles are not culturally-oriented but constitute a system of rules governing human behavior in liberal democracies. In the second stage, as part of the naturalization process, immigrants would have to recognize and respect some constitutional principles essential for obtaining citizenship of a specific state. I call this concept 'National Constitutionalism'. As the American debate on immigrant integration policy comes at a decisive moment, the European experience has some important lessons for U.S. policymakers.
Keywords: Immigration Law, Comparative Law, Political Theory, Multiculturalism, European Law
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