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With the opening of borders and the aging of populations in industrialised states, immigration takes on new importance. More young workers are needed to support the social contract established with the baby boom generation and immigration offers one practical solution. However, many countries have little experience with large scale immigration and, especially in the current political and economic climate, a strong resistance to it. This work examines immigration statues and policies and the societal reactions to immigrants in seven industrialised nations. Comparing the experience of these nations demonstrates how different policies are and how these different policies have facilitated or complicated the accommodation of immigrant populations. Using public opinion data, crime rates and measures of social integration, the authors go on to show how some countries absorb immigrants to positive effect by addressing worker shortages and enhancing social diversity.
James P. Lynch is Pofessor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University. Rita J. Simon is Professor of justice, law, and society at American University.