Higley, John, and John Nieuwenhuysen, with Stine Neerup, eds. Nations of Immigrants: Australia and the USA Compared. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009. xii + 206 pages. Cloth, $100.00.
Nations of Immigrants is a product of collaboration by a team of international experts from Australia, Denmark, and the United States with diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to, sociology, economics, government, and political science. Contextualized in two different cultural and political environments, Nations of Immigrants provides a holistic examination of American and Australian immigration policies and their consequences. In this collection often essays organized in see-saw comparison and contrast format following an introductory essay, Nations of Immigrants addresses four important issues of immigration programs in Australia and the United States since the mid-1990s with light reference to the European case. These issues are: trends in immigration, immigration policy shifts, immigration and labor markets, and immigration and social cohesion. Serving as summaries of the two case study countries, the last two chapters assess the current status of ethnic relations and multiculturalism in both Australia and the United States.
The expansion of immigration to Australia is consistent and the origin of immigrants has shifted to predominantly Asia. Emphasis on settlement migration continues to dominate Australia's immigration policy, but opposition to non-permanent settlement immigration is weakening as reflected in a significant increase in temporary entrants on working or business visas. Current U.S. immigration policy manifests an unwillingness to increase legal permanent immigration. Nevertheless, legal entrants of temporary and non-immigrant workers have been on the rise.
Australian immigration policy has shifted from stringent control with low entry to rapid expansion. While family reunion immigration rules have been "comprehensively tightened" (p. 76), the selection system which emphasizes skill-based immigration has been sharpened to better match the supply and demand in its labor market. Coupled with a population building agenda, Australia's current immigration policies allow for a drastic increase of both permanent settlement and temporary skill-based immigration. U.S. immigration policy has shifted from "disordered, incremental expansionism to disordered stalemate" (p. 57). Debate over large-scale permanent settlement...