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An immigration policy is any policy of a state that deals with the transit of persons across its borders, but especially those that intend to work and to remain in the country. Immigration policies can range from allowing no migration at all to allowing most types of migration, such as free immigration. Often, racial or religious bias is tied to immigration policy (for example, a country might only allow commonwealth citizens admission). Ethnic relations policy within a county can usually be broadly categorized as either 'assimilationist' or 'multiculturalist'.

Nowadays immigration policy is often closely related to other policies:
  • Tax, tariff and trade rules that determine what goods immigrants may bring with them, what services they may perform while temporarily in the country, etc., and who is allowed to remain, e.g. the European Union has few immigration restrictions within it if any. Any citizen or resident of any of the signatory nations (with the possible exception of a few new member states) may move and seek work anywhere within the E.U. and there is nothing that member states can do to stop it without leaving the E.U. or renegotiating the treaty.
  • Investment policy that permits wealthy immigrants to invest in businesses in exchange for favorable treatment, early issuance of passports and permanent resident status.
  • Agricultural policy that may make exemptions for migrant farm workers, who typically enter a country only for the harvest season and then return home to a developing nation (such as Mexicomarker or Jamaicamarker which often send such workers to USmarker and Canadamarker respectively).
  • Overcrowding which can be blamed for the spread of Tuberculosis or a house price boom
  • Birth rates which are low in developed nations


An important aspect of immigration policy is the treatment of refugees, more or less helpless or stateless people who throw themselves on the mercy of the state they enter, seeking refuge from poor treatment in their country of origin.

With the rise of terrorism worldwide, another major concern is the national security of nations that let people cross borders. The belief is that terrorists can come from overseas. These concerns often lead to intrusive security searches and tighter visa requirements, which can discourage immigration, temporary visitors, and even movement within countries or birth within countries.

There is often pressure on nations to loosen immigration policy or inspections to enable tourism and relocation of businesses to a country, from a destabilized region.

References



Further reading

  • Aristide Zolberg, A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America, Harvard University Press 2006, ISBN 0674022181
  • Philippe Legrain, Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them, Little Brown 2007, ISBN 0316732486
  • Ruben Rumbaut and Walter Ewing, "The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation: Incarceration Rates among Native and Foreign-Born Men," The Immigration Policy Center (Spring 2007). http://www.ailf.org/ipc/special_report/sr_feb07_resources.shtml
  • Bryan Balin, State Immigration Legislation and Immigrant Flows: An Analysis The Johns Hopkins University, 2008
  • Douglas S. Massey, Beyond the Border Buildup: Towards a New Approach to Mexico-U.S. Migration, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [September 2005] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/policy_reports_2005_beyondborder.shtml
  • Immigration Policy Center, Economic Growth & Immigration: Bridging the Demographic Divide, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [November 2005] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/special_report/special_report2005_bridging.shtml
  • Walter A. Ewing, Border Insecurity: U.S. Border-Enforcement Policies and National Security, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [Spring 2006] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/border_insecurity_spring06.shtml
  • Susan C. Pearce, Immigrant Women in the United States: A Demographic Portrait, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [Summer 2006] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/im_women_summer06.shtml
  • Ruben G. Rumbaut, and Walter A. Ewing, The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation: Incarceration Rates Among Native and Foreign-Born Men, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [Spring 2007] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/special_report/sr_feb07.shtml
  • Jill Esbenshade, Division and Dislocation: Regulating Immigration through Local Housing Ordinances, Immigration Policy Center, the American Immigration Law Foundation [Summer 2007] http://www.ailf.org/ipc/special_report/sr_sept07.shtml
  • Jeffrey S. Passel and Roberto Suro; Rise, Peak and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigration; Pew Hispanic Center (Sep. 2005)
http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=53
  • Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior Research Associate; Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population; Pew Hispanic Center (March 2005)
http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=44
  • Jeffrey S. Passel; Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization; Pew Hispanic Center (March 2007)
http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=74


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