In this memo, a veteran immigrant-rights strategist, Frank Sharry, offers his views on the politics and policy of achieving immigration reform.
Since 2000, the German government has undertaken a series of steps to reform laws and shape public opinion in order to bring about better integration and managed migration. This can be said to constitute a new policy paradigm, the goal of which is to integrate nonnationals and promote harmonious community relations.
What politicians say about a crisis — and the venues they choose tocommunicate with their constituents — have a disproportionate effect on the public‘s perception of that crisis. In the Netherlands, the rhetoric used by right-wing populist politicians is often more effective than that of moderates because their rhetoric conveys passion and emotion, and is more readily picked up by modern media who favor crisis and controversy.
The print and broadcast media in the United Kingdom cover only a very narrow range of migration stories, primarily focusing on asylum seekers, refugees, illegal immigrants, and migrant workers. This report discusses the media's reliance on "templates" to frame migration stories, which is often set from the government's agenda on migration.
Since 1999, concern about immigration in Britain has reached levels never seen before in the history of public opinion research, and surveys show strong support for tougher immigration laws. But opinions vary: younger, better-educated people and those who tend to live in areas with a longer history of immigration are more tolerant than older, less-educated people in more settled communities with low levels of immigration.
U.S. media coverage of immigration has hindered effective policy reform for years, a trend which has been exacerbated by the recent transformation in the ways Americans get their news. This has conditioned and even distorted public perceptions by portraying a largely gradual, orderly, and legal phenomenon as chaotic, criminal, and controversial.
Recent developments in the United States (including the 2008 elections and shifts in organized labor’s stance on immigration) have created new openings for comprehensive immigration reform, possibly including a path to legal residence and citizenship for illegal immigrants. But the author argues that the extent of this opening may be overstated by some advocates.
Germany has de facto been receiving immigrants for the last four decades, but the government only began actively dealing with the long-term impact of immigration a decade ago. Since the 1990s, Germany shifted away from stemming flows to recognizing its identity as a country of immigration and managing the impact of immigration on society.