Federalism and immigration: models and trends

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Abstract

Although immigration policy has traditionally been considered a realm of exclusive central government authority, recent trends evidence a greater role for federal units in the area. This article summarises and evaluates those trends as they relate to immigrant rights, immigration enforcement, and immigration benefits under three basic models of federal governance: central government hegemony, cooperative federalism, and devolutionary federalism. The article concludes that affording increased discretion to subnational authorities over immigrant and immigration policy will ultimately work to the net benefit of immigrants, and that even while complete devolution remains impracticable cooperative federalism has emerged a desirable approach in the area.

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