Is the Immigration Debate Becoming Europeanized?

Is there evidence that the political debate on immigration and integration is becoming Europeanized? We could pick a few anecdotes either way, or we could do it systematically.

In the Support and Opposition to Migration project, we covered newspaper articles on immigration and integration between 1995 and 2009 using a random sample of days for which we coded all articles.

Here is a breakdown of the scope of the individuals or organizations making political claims over time. Claims are grouped into 5 years, and in all contexts the national (and sub-national) scope dominates — the maximum in the figure is 6.5%.

europeanization

Also on figshare.

I note an upward trend in European claims between 2000-4 and 2005-9 in five countries, and downward trend in the two countries perhaps less closely integrated in the European Union.

Do POS Converge Over Time?

Last week I looked at the (lack of) convergence of immigration policies over time. Today, I examine whether indicators of political opportunity structure (POS) converge over time. We collected data to examine this as part of the SOM project (description of indicators).

In the following table I consider just a few indicators of POS. I include both issue-specific and generic aspects of POS for the seven countries covered in the SOM project (AT, BE, CH, ES, IE, NL, UK).

Indicator Convergence
Effective number of parties in legislature No convergence
Seat-share of anti-immigrant parties No convergence
Political parties have special arrangements for immigrant candidates No convergence
Public money for immigrant organizations No convergence
Specific department for migration Clear convergence
Right to vote at national level, TCN All countries the same
Embedded consultation No convergence

There is no convergence for most of the indicators considered here. There is only one real exception: we observe a clear trend to have a dedicated department for migration. In 1995 only Switzerland had such an organizational arrangement, in 2010 only Austria did not have one.

Do Immigration Policies Converge Over Time?

Do immigration policies in Europe converge over time? As part of the SOM project, we collected data to examine this. Using the MIPEX criteria, we cover seven countries 1995 to 2010. We complemented this with an indicator on asylum policies.

Strand Higher Lower SD
Labour Market 7 -7
Family Reunion 3 4 +3
Long-Term Residence 4 3
Political Participation 4 3 -3
Access to Nationality 4 3 +6
Anti-Discrimination 6 1 -7
Asylum Seekers 2 4

This table gives the number of countries where MIPEX scores in 2010 are higher than in 1995 (respectively lower), as well as the difference in standard deviations (AT, BE, CH, ES, IE, NL, UK). So we can see convergence in two strands only: labour market and anti-discrimination.