Protest and Reform in Asylum Policy: Citizen Initiatives versus Asylum Seekers in German Municipalities, 1989-1994

in German Politics and Society
Author: Roger Karapin
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Many writers have argued that anti-immigration politics in Germany

and other West European countries have been driven by radical-right

parties or the electoral maneuvering of national politicians

from established parties. Others have argued that waves of violence

against immigrants and ethnic minorities have spurred anti-immigration

politics, or that racist ideologies and socioeconomic inequality

are the root causes. By comparison, authors have paid relatively little

attention to anti-immigration mobilization at subnational levels,

including the public positions taken by subnational politicians and

the activities of movement groups, or “challengers.” Nonetheless,

research has shown that subnational politicians are often important

in pressing national campaigns for immigration controls. Moreover,

as I have argued elsewhere, anti-immigration politicians in Britain

and Germany have responded in large part to local challengers, who

were aided by political elites at local and regional levels.

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