Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/rvhtwt

Mind the gap? Looking into restrictionism of elites and the public on integration and border policy

24 January 2019


Investigating the construction of these two realms manifests the weighty social dilemma of hosting asylum seekers: on the one hand the desire to safeguard borders and limit entrance and allocation of social goods to non-nationals; on the other hand, the moral and legal obligations to maintain international agreements fortifying human rights and humanitarian conduct in general. [...] The paper is organized as follows: First I present the Danish setting with regards to immigration and asylum, followed by the two theoretical pillars of the study: categorization of asylum policy areas (border and integration) and the nexus between public opinion and public policy on asylum. [...] In sum, faced with growing numbers of asylum-seeker and family-reunification populations, accompanied by a decrease in the need for foreign labor, from the mid-1970s the public and the elites in Denmark expressed deepening concern as to the country’s ability to absorb the new populations. [...] Focusing on the case study of Denmark, I investigated two main social levels: the political elites that are in charge of setting the agenda on asylum policy, and the public – as 23 the main source of legitimacy of the state. [...] In terms of the gap on asylum policy between the publics and elites, the data show that on both the issue of border and integration policy, the government actors deploy a parallel moderate to low restrictionist tone respectively, to that of the public.


Center for Comparative Immigration Studies