An aim of my upcoming project is to situate the species of immigration policy in the genus of multicultural policies. Defining multiculturalism as Banting and Kymlicka do, to refer to “an ideology that attaches positive value to cultural diversity, calls for the equal recognition of different cultural groups, and calls upon the state to support groups in various ways”, I will consider immigration policy as a multicultural policy.
Immigration policy can deal with expanding legally covered circumstances of entry. By this I mean that by expanding the opportunities for legal immigration at border crossings and ports of entry. Immigration policy can also deal with the relationship an immigrant has with the state apparatus once the immigrant is in the new state. Immigration policy, in this aspect, deals with the interactions an immigrant has with the state and any policy that affects such interactions. This may include multicultural policies in the way currently understood in the literature. This is related to the question of whether increasingly multiculral policies negatively affect the welfare state (under the very plausible assumption that immigrants’ first interactions with state apparatus is through the welfare state).
Another thing of note in the readings so far has been David Miller’s argument that should the state not retain the right to admit immigrants, it relinquishes control of the cultural pulse of the nation, thus compromising the state. The state should seek to admit those who are culturally similar to the state’s culture. In my view this presents some problems prima facie. I am inclined to believe that selecting on this criterion is a proxy for selecting based on race. In a closely related sense, selecting on this criterion inherently values certain cultural norms not because they are good in themselves, but purely because they are similar. This may have the undesirable effect of valuing certain cultural traits as if they were inherently good.