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.