Over the last several decades the intensification of international migration has had a transformative influence on states across the world. These historically unprecedented levels of mass migration present the developed democracies of Western Europe, North America, and elsewhere with a series complex policy dilemmas and challenges. On the one hand, immigrant recruitment offers policymakers solutions to domestic labor shortages, employer demands, and the demographic challenges of aging populations. The legal and normative obligations of these liberal states concurrently commit their governments to protect asylum seekers fleeing political persecution, reunite families, and incorporate newcomers. On the other hand, public concerns about the cultural integration culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse migrant populations often makes immigrant admission and incorporation a politically challenging and contentious task. In fact, across many liberal democracies anti‐immigrant sentiments have been on the rise, as citizens fear the social transformation engendered by immigration and question the capacity of newcomers to become fully integrated into their host societies and of the state to regulate and enforce such integration.
In this seminar students will trace and analyze the recent trends in international migration and the many political debates that have accompanied them. Specifically, we will focus primarily on the cases United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. Using these cases, we will examine four broad themes: the factors that facilitate and shape trends of international migration, the development of immigration policies across states, the acute challenges of maintaining border control, and the complexities of immigrant integration. In exploration these topics we will examine a host of issues including: the challenges engendered by the increasing numbers of asylum seekers who seek refuge in the global north, unauthorized immigration, the impact of social movements and public opinion on state policies, the influence of domestic and international institutions on policy-making, the normative constraints that liberal states face while attempting to seal their borders and exclude non-citizens, and the divergent impact diverse migrants groups have had on their host societies.