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New Book Offers Innovative Citizenship Policies for Liberal Democracies

Press Release
Monday, July 29, 2002

New Book Offers Innovative Citizenship Policies for Liberal Democracies

Citizenship policies in modern, liberal democracies should be aligned with fundamental norms of fairness and justice that are central to the liberal-democratic ideal, argues a new book, Citizenship Policies for an Age of Migration, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The book-the product of a multi-year study on comparative citizenship directed by T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer-offers detailed policy proposals on four aspects of citizenship policy: access to citizenship, managing dual nationality, political integration, and social and economic rights. The book's policy conclusions are shaped by the thesis that citizenship policies can be an effective tool for promoting the inclusion and integration of new members of a nation. Key recommendations include:

  • States should adopt broader birthright citizenship policies that ensure citizenship for second- and third-generation immigrants.
  • Naturalization requirements should be clear, limited, precise, and objective, with a required period of residence not to exceed five years.
  • Government policy should aim to manage, rather than prevent, incidents of dual nationality, with the aim of fostering an individual's genuine link to the countries concerned.
  • Political integration of immigrants should be a key component of broad citizenship policy.
  • Citizenship should not be used to ration access to welfare and other social benefits; presumptive permanence rather than citizenship should suffice for access to most benefits made available under the welfare state.

Working groups developing the recommendations were chaired by Patrick Weil, University of Paris, Sorbonne; David A. Martin, University of Virginia; Rainer Baubock, Austrian Academy of Sciences; and Michael Fix, the Urban Institute. The book draws on research from two previous books edited by Aleinikoff and Klusmeyer, From Migrants to Citizens: Membership in a Changing World, and Citizenship Today: Global Perspectives and Practices (Carnegie Endowment, 2000 and 2001.)

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, is a senior associate at the Migration Policy Institute and was formerly a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment. He is also a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Douglas Klusmeyer is an assistant professor at the American University, a visiting fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, and former associate with the Carnegie Endowment.

Citizenship Policies for an Age of Migration

T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer

Published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

May 2002/120 pages

$16.95 /paperback: 0-87003-187-2

To order, visit here.

"This final volume on citizenship policies contains comprehensive recommendations. They will not only shape the future debate, but they will also help to promote necessary changes for the benefit of receiving societies and their immigrant populations."

--Rainer Münz, Humboldt University

"This important report on citizenship policies embodies state-of-the-art research by a multinational panel of leading experts from several disciplines. The fruit of their collaboration is a set of balanced and incisive recommendations that no major democracy can afford to ignore."

--Gerald Neuman, Columbia University