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Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration Author(s): Christian Joppke Source: World Politics, Vol. 50, No.

Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration Author(s): Christian Joppke Source: World Politics, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jan., 1998), pp. 266-293 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25054038

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WHY

LIBERAL

UNWANTED

STATES ACCEPT IMMIGRATION

By CHRISTIAN JOPPKE*

of the more

popular watchwords

of our time is that the na

ONE

small"

related

states

tion-state

is in decline?"too

to

solve

global

problems,

argument

is often

made

to

control

immigration.

as

big"

the

to

solve

regional

problems,

topographical

metaphor

goes.

regarding

an

increasing

incapacity

"too

A

of

"Strangers

at

the

gate"

was

the

alarmist

cry heard

1991)

giant

in thewake

of 1989 and all that. The Economist

border guardhouse

all sorts of foreign-looking

being

(March 15, overrun by a

(and strangely

showed

a ramshackle

bus bursting with

cheerful)

a result

there

of

still

characters.

tightened

seems

to be

Such

hyperbole

procedures

for

a gap

between

has

since

disappeared,

asylum

a restrictionist

across Western

control

partially

states.

rhetoric

as

But

and

an expansionist

on

immigration

immigration

reality. An

control

argues:

"[T]he

tional

immigration

policy

.

.

. and

the

influential

comparative

gap

actual

between

results

of

the goals

policies

volume

of

in

na

this

area (policy

outcomes) is growing

wider

in all major

industrialized

democracies."1

Why

do

the

developed

states

of

the North

Adantic

re

gion

accept

more

immigrants

than

their

generally

restrictionist

the gap

rhetoric

between

immi

immigra

by

and policies

The

intend?

phenomenon

policy

of unwanted

goals

and

solicited

by

nations.

immigration

as

Rather,

and

it

reflects

legal

is accepted

migrants

restrictionist

of

expansionist

states,

outcomes.

in the

Unwanted

quota

gration

tion

states,

rights, as in asylum-seeking

of

or because

is not

the

either

actively

classic

for

the

settler

passively

of

out,

humanitarian

states'

sheer

reasons

family

in recognition

of

individual

as

il

and

reunification

to keep

labor migrants,

in

incapacity

legal immigration. The

gap hypothesis

can

thus be reformulated as the

question,Why

do liberal states accept unwanted

immigration?2

*

This

Integration

Rainer

1

M?nz

Wayne

article was

of

the

Cornelius,

first presented

invitation.

Philip

at the conference

University

"Effects

of Berlin,

Immigrants,"

for

Humboldt

Martin,

and James Hollifield,

of Policy

on Migration

Patterns

November

eds.,

Controlling

1-2,1996.

My

Immigration

Immigration

and

thanks

the

to

(Stanford,

Calif.:

Stanford

University

3.

literature?see,

While 2

Control

Press,

in the

1994),

Annals

frequently

used

Migration?"

for

Unwanted

of theAmerican

example,

Gary

Freeman,

Academy

of Political

"Can Liberal

and

Social

Science

States

534

WorldPolitics 50 (January 1998), 266-93

LIBERAL STATES& UNWANTED IMMIGRATION

267

That

states

core

c o r e prerogatives:

prerogatives:

accept

the

unwanted

sovereignty

immigration

over

the

contradicts

admission

and

one

of

expulsion

their

of

aliens.

As

Hannah

Arendt

wrote

with

rations,

"Sovereignty

emigration,

naturalization,

is nowhere

more

nationality,

an

eye

to

absolute
absolute

absolute

its

totalitarian

than

in matters

aber

of

and

expulsion."3

Does

the

ac

ceptance of unwanted

immigration

indicate a decline of sovereignty? A

quick

"yes,"

as

inDavid

Jacobson's

Rights

across Borders^

is premised

on

a simplistic and static notion of sovereignty, thus denying

its historical

variability

and

chronic

imperfection.4

it

To

is

answer

important

the

question

to distinguish

fully,

two

between

things

two

should

be

separate

considered.

of

First,

sover

aspects

eignty,

formal

rule-making

authority

and

the

empirical

capacity

to

im

plement

which

rules. The

sovereignty

former

belongs

is the defining

to

international

characteristic of

relations

theory,

in

individual states as

the

units

domain

notions

torically

of

the

international

state

of political

and historical

system;5

the

latter

falls within

sociology, which

has preferred

of

state

varying

strength,

embodiments

capacity,

of

or

autonomy

the modern

to

investigate

the

state.6 Gary

Freeman

the

the

his

has

demonstrated

that in both

aspects there is little evidence for a decline

of

sovereignty

regarding

immigration

reject

the

creased,

aliens

has

time.

not

been

capacity

Second,

infrastructural

over

relegated

of modern

whether

control:7

actors

states

to

the

other

decision

than

to accept

the

state,

has

not

decreased,

but

or

and

in

seen

as judicial

authority

or

empir

ical

capacity,

sovereignty

Arendt

s characterization.

has

rarely

been

Internationally,

dependence

admittance

have

always

put

practices

because

the

brakes

hostility

as

the

on

absolute

exigencies

erratic

as

conveyed

of

by

state

inter

or

might

non

be

expulsion

an

alien

against

(1994),

( 1 9 9 4 ) ,

may

be

viduals

17-30;

criticized

with

Cornelius,

on

clear-cut

Against

sense,

Martin,

and Hollifield

that occurs

States,

the

(fh.

grounds.

1), 5?the

Analytically,

notion

of

"unwanted"

states

term with

is used

here

state policies.

"unwanted"

immigration

indi

analytical

and normative

Normatively,

I wish

it reifies

righting

as collective

academic

preferences.

such objections,

it endows

to point

out

despite

first case

a political

that

and

discussed

re

in a purely Qualify

requires

spectability.

descriptive

"unwanted"

against

explicit

as

here,

denoting

immigration in the United

ing illegal immigration

no

further

form

elaboration.

zero-immigration

Family

immigration

since

the

in Europe,

early

the

second

case,

Harcourt

Hopkins

is rendered

Brace

University

"unwanted"

by uni

278.

3 Hannah

4 David

policies

The Origins

Rights

"Westphalia

1970s.

Arendt,

Jacobson,

of Totalitarianism

(San Diego:

Johns

Jovanovich,

Press,

Keohane,

eds.,

1973),

1996).

across Borders

(Baltimore:

and All

Cornell

That,"

University

"State

Sovereignty

Rueschemeyer,

Press,

of

1985).

Sovereignty?"

the United

States

See

Ideas and

Stephen

Foreign

Krasner,

5

See

Policy

in Judith Goldstein

Press,

1993).

in International

and Theda

and Robert

(Ithaca, N.Y.:

Janice Thomson,

Relations,"

Skocpol,

International

International

Bringing

Challenge

University

Studies

Quar

t h e State Back
t h e State Back

the State Back

to theNation-State:

to theNation-State:
to theNation-State:

Press,

1998).

n i v e r s i t y Studies Q u a r t h

eds.,

In

terly 39 (1995) ,213-33.

6

See

Peter

Evans,

York:

(New

7 Gary

Cambridge

Freeman,

Immigration

Dietrich

University

"The Decline

Europe

and

inChristian

Joppke, (New York: Oxford

inWestern

268

WORLD POLITICS

interpreted as hostility

against her state. In addition,

international law

prohibits

refoulement

both

of

expulsion

the

victims

or nonadmittance

on

grounds

of

of

political

persecution

in other

race

and

states.

the

Not

only

law?a

states,

but

n o v e l t y

novelty

also

of

the

individuals,

postwar

are

legal

subjects

era?and

states

are

under

international

increasingly

obliged

respect

qua

tant

Various

to

an

emergent

protects

authors

"law of migrants."8 are bound

by

the

rights

argued

Domestically,

rule

and

of

not

Western

in

states

impor

to

such

and

constitutional

respects

states

have

on

the

law, which

just

of

of persons

that

Saskia

citizens.9

force

states

two

global

Sassen

constraints

has

economic

accept

external

unwanted

constraints

immigration.

state

identified

sovereignty:

globalization

the

rise

of

an

countries

international

human

by multinational

rights

regime.10

entry

secondary

for

The

has

penetration

the

of

peripheral

corporations

seeking

the

pull

protects

of

created

into

labor market

An

the push

core

coun

in the

emer

of

of an u p r o o t e d

an uprooted

of an u p r o o t e d

tries

of

the world

receiving

receiving

and mobile

system.

countries

c o u n t r i e s

provides

gent

of

international

nationality,

national

that

the

human

their

limiting

citizenship.

of

on

state

the

to

to r i g h t s

rights

devaluing

argues

exclusive

determination

basis

emphasis

labor

In

rights

force

addition,

a powerful

regime

immigrants.

migrants,

states

toward

independent

aliens

and

Sassen

"from

to

an

self

nationality."11

the

discretion

Echoing

legitimacy

sovereignty

of

individuals

the work

has

of

undergone

Jacobson,

a shift

of

the

people

regardless

and

of

right

Taken

tonomy

desperate

populist

The

together,

economic

and

political

globalization

of

the

state

attempts

in

to

immigration

renationalize

policy

this

making,"12

policy

area

restrictionism.

diagnosis

of globally diminished

sovereignty

"reduce[s]

despite

the

under

the

the

au

state's

sign

of

indicates that the

West

has

partially

it does

created

not

what

answer

why

it seeks

the

to

contain?international

as

to why Western

such

the

logic

East,

are very

mi

states

of glob

at

gration.

accept

alization

receiving

But

unwanted

cannot

states

question

the

immigrants.

explain

of

the

First,

some

space-indifferent

as

states,

Middle

immigrant

efficient

oil-producing

8 R

9

Perruchoud,

Ferrajoli

"The Law

decimates

postnational

individual

and had

of Migrants," T. H. Marshall's

3.

"logic

(legal

revolved

(Manuscript,

the

Press,

logic

1994),

Sovereignty

95.

International

identification

of

is then

rights

in liberal

around

universal

European

of personhood,

chap.

8.

in an Age

Migration

24

individual

(1986),

rights with

699-715.

Luigi

shows

citizenship

Instead,

invested

rights,

Ferra

in na

from which

joli

tional citizenship

the Citizen

Institute,

a new

that most

to Rights

Florence,

University

Sassen,

of personhood"

social)

and

construed

as a departure.

been

From

European

Limits

states had

never

Ferrajoli,

always of the Person

1995-96).

On

1996),

(fh.

of

Losing

chap

Chicago

Control?

4);

Sassen

(fn. 10),

(fn.

10), 98.

personhood.

the Rights

University

to Citizenship

Columbia

Uni

of

Forum

on Citizenship,

Soysal,

see Yasemin

of Globalization

(Chicago:

10 Saskia

versity

11

Press,

Jacobson

12 Sassen

(New York:

LIBERAL STATES& UNWANTED IMMIGRATION

269

keeping

out,

or

sending

back,

unwanted

immigrants.13

Only

liberal

states are plagued by the problem of unwanted

globalists

operate with

a hyperbolic

notion

of

immigration.

Second,

strong sovereignty that

never

nineteenth

was.

If

In

terms

of

economic

no

less

transactions,

than

the world

one

of

the

late

years

century

the

Bonn

was

global

allowed

the world

hundred

later.14

Wilhelmine

Republic

its guest

workers

to

stay, while

rotation

and mass

expulsions,

cannot

be

the

explanation.

Germany a state weakened

by

practiced

resolute

globalization

economic

The

state always had to vindicate

itselfwithin

and against an inherently

globalizing

 

capitalism.

Third,

and

related

to

this,

the

very

reference

to

economic

factors

is

insufficient

to

explain

why

states

accept

immi

grants,

wanted

or unwanted.

Economic

globalization

 

explains

the mo

bilization

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

ques

tionable

view

that

the

state

is always

a tool

of

capitalism,

the

task would

be

to

identify

the

domestic

processes

by which,

say,

expansionist

 

em

ployer

interests

cancel

out

the

restrictionist

 

interests

of

the

public

in

specific

times

and

places.

But

then

sovereignty

would

turn

out

to be

in

ternally,

rights

not

regime

externally,

is not

so

diminished.

strong

as

Fourth,

to make

the

states

international

human

fear

and

tremble.

Jack

Donnelly

which

tation

rests

and

ternational

discourse.16

characterized

on widely

enforcement

human

This

it

as

a "relatively

norms

Devoid

and

consists

strong

values,

of

of

But

hard

the

promotional

lacks

regime,"

implemen

the

in

power

of

con

accepted

rights

but

powers.15

regime

than

legal

soft moral

have

powers,

is better

nothing.

globalists

been

tent with

tailed

listing

formal

process-tracing"

domestically

effective.17

treaty

and

by

which

convention

their

Perhaps

there

would

titles,

soft

be

avoiding

may

process

power

little

the

become

to

"de

trace.

For

instance,

the

recent

tightening

of

asylum

law

and

policy

across

Western

states

demonstrates

inventive

tional

in circumventing

rights

human

regime,

that

the

the

these

single

states

have

strongest

non-refoulement

been

norm

extraordinarily

of

the

interna

obligation.18

13

Myron

14 Janice

Weiner,

Thomson

in Ernst-Otto

Mass.:

The Global

T h e Global

and

Stephen

Czempiel

C z e m p i e l

Lexington

Books,

"International

Migration

Crisis

(New

Krasner,

and James

1989).

Human

"Global

Rosenau,

Rights:

A

eignty,''

(Lexington,

15 Jack Donnelly, no.

16

40,

3

(1986).

York:

HarperCollins,

Transactions

and

1995),

80-83.

the Consolidation

eds.,

Global

Changes

and Theoretical

of

Sover

Challenges

Regime

Analysis,"

International

Organization

Soysal

17

Martha

(fn. 9).

Finnemore,

"Norms,

and

Culture

50,

State

alism,"

International

18 Christian

Organization

"Asylum

no.

Joppke,

2

andWorld

(1996),

339.

Sovereignty,"

Politics:

Insights

from

Comparative

Political

Sociology's

Institution

Studies

30, no.

3

(1997).

270

WORLD POLITICS

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

entry

visa

would

painfully

states are kept from putting

notice.

But

for

domestic

this capacity to use. Not

reasons,

globally

but

self-limited

sovereignty

explains

why

states

accept

unwanted

a valid

liberal

limited,

immi

grants.

Gary Freeman

identified the political process

in liberal democracies

as one

major

element

of

self-limited

sovereignty.19

In

contrast

to

the

globalist diagnosis of vindictive yet ineffective restrictionism inWestern

states,

immigration

inclusive,"20

Freeman

starts with

an opposing

gives

two

observation

that

the politics

of

in liberal

for which

democracies

he

is, in fact, reasons.

"broadly

First,

expansionist

of

and

immi

the benefits

gration

while

diffused.

(such

its costs

as

(such

cheap

as

labor

or

reunited

social

action

families)

are

concentrated,

increased

a collective

expenses

or overpopulation)

the

are

easily

or

dif

That

groups)

poses

dilemma,

benefits

in which

(such

organizable

ethnic

beneficiaries

will

of

concentrated

over

the

as employers

of

prevail

difficult-to-organize

bearers

fused costs, that is, the majority population. Borrowing from J.Q^Wilson,

Freeman

argues

that

immigration

policy

in liberal

states

is "client

poli

tics

groups

a form