The Emerging Migration State1


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    I would like to thank Rainer Bauböck, Klaus Bade, Ewald Engelen, Christian Joppke, Douglas Massey, Rainer Münz, Christopher Rudolph, and Dietrich Thränhardt, as well as the editors of this volume, Josh DeWind, Mark Miller, Alejandro Portes, and Lydio Tomasi, for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.


Since 1945, immigration in the core industrial democracies has been increasing. The rise in immigration is a function of market forces (demand-pull and supply-push) and kinship networks, which reduce the transaction costs of moving from one society to another. These economic and sociological forces are the necessary conditions for migration to occur, but the sufficient conditions are legal and political. States must be willing to accept immigration and to grant rights to outsiders.

How then do states regulate migration in the face of economic forces that push them toward greater openness, while security concerns and powerful political forces push them toward closure? States are trapped in a “liberal” paradox — in order to maintain a competitive advantage, governments must keep their economies and societies open to trade, investment, and migration. But unlike goods, capital, and services, the movement of people involves greater political risks.

In both Europe and North America, rights are the key to regulating migration as states strive to fulfill three key functions: maintaining security; building trade and investment regimes; and regulating migration. The garrison state was linked with the trading state in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen the emergence of the migration state, where regulation of international migration is as important as providing for the security of the state and the economic well being of the citizenry.