Immigration Federalism : Towards a Broader, Comparative and Subnational Research Agenda

Xhardez, Catherine


In many federal states, subnational governments are increasingly involved in immigration policy making (i.e. immigrant recruitment, selection, settlement or integration), which has resulted in the decentralization of powers and resources, and important policy development at the subnational level. For example, several American states have adopted a more proactive stance on immigration and issued pro-immigrant laws to counter the federal government’s policies (Reich 2018; Colbern and Ramakrishnan 2018). In Belgium, immigrant integration is a matter of subnational jurisdiction and subnational governments have therefore stepped in to develop fully-fledged civic integration programs (Adam, Martiniello, and Rea 2018; Xhardez 2016; 2019). In Canada, immigrant selection has been partially decentralized to the provinces so that they can select their economic immigrants (Baglay and Nakache 2014a; Paquet 2019). The growing involvement of subnational governments has profoundly changed the landscape of immigration policy making, which will have long-lasting consequences in terms of migration flows management, intergovernmental relations, and the distribution of power in federal states. The involvement of different levels of government in immigration-related activities has been studied through the lens of ‘immigration federalism’.

Xhardez, C. (2019). “Immigration Federalism : Towards a Broader, Comparative and Subnational Research Agenda”, Federal Governance, vol.15, no 2, p.49-52.

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