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38 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/compls38 and id is 1 raw text is: 






















                    ARE NONDISCRIMINATORY

  IMMIGRATION POLICIES REVERSIBLE?

                                             Evidence From the

                               United States and Australia




                                                  CHRISTIAN JOPPKE
                                        International  University  Bremen



In the English-speaking settler states, the notion of nondiscriminatory immigration policy has
the precise meaning of eschewing ethnicity, race, and national origins as selection criteria in the
context of past policies that had blatantly resorted to them. There has been an interesting recent
debate over whether the commitment to nondiscrimination has consolidated into a structural
feature of liberal democracy(G. Freeman), or whether it is a conjunctural feature of public dis-
cussion at certain times and places (R. Brubaker), and thus could be easily reversed. Evidence
from the United States and Australia can adjudicate this debate in favor of the structural position.
Three factors are identified that shore up nondiscriminatory immigration policies: the general
acceptance of the nondiscrimination norm, even by those who are opposed to some of its effects;
the shrinking demographic possibility of ethnic selectivity by subterfuge; and the instantly
mobilizeable memory of settler states' racist pasts.


Keywords:  immigration policy; ethnic and race relations; human rights; United States;
          Australia





T he notion of a nondiscriminatory immigration policy seems a par-
     adox, perhaps even nonsense, because  in selecting some, by implication,
all others must be excluded. However,  not all criteria of immigrant selection
are equally  innocent. If one  surveys contemporary   immigration   policies
across Western  states, one will find only three legitimate selection criteria:
skills, family ties, and elementary human need  (which is channeled into the
separate refugee  and asylum   policy domain).  Immigrant   selection on the


AUTHOR'S   NOTE: This article was written while I was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage
Foundation, New York, in 2002 and 2003. 1 would like to thank the foundation's stafffor superb
working conditions.
COMPARATIVE  POLITICAL STUDIES, 1o1. 38 No. 1, February 2005 3-25
DOI: 10.1177/0010414004270887
0 2005 Sage Publications

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