Managing International Migration in Australia: Human Rights and the “Last Major Redoubt of Unfettered National Sovereignty”


  • I am indebted to Siew-Ean Khoo, Carolyn Adams and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on a draft of this paper.


This article challenges the view of many commentators that the capacity of liberal democracies to regulate international migration has been significantly compromised by the growth of international human rights norms and the role of independent judiciaries in enforcing those norms. Focusing on three Australian case studies that deal with deportation, mandatory detention of refugee claimants, and judicial review of migration decisions, the article concludes that international and domestic legal constraints still leave very substantial latitude to liberal democratic States to regulate the size and composition of international immigration flows. With only modest qualifications, migration policy remains “the last major redoubt of unfettered national sovereignty.”