Nations of Immigrants

Nations of Immigrants

Australia and the USA Compared

Monash Studies in Global Movements series

Edited by John Higley, John Nieuwenhuysen and Stine Neerup

This timely book examines the immense surges in immigration since the mid-1990s in Australia and the United States, two of the world’s most important settler-receiving countries.

Chapter 1: Introduction

John Higley and John Nieuwenhuysen

Subjects: development studies, development studies, migration, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


John Higley and John Nieuwenhuysen During the years since Nations of Immigrants: Australia, the United States and International Immigration (edited by Gary P. Freeman and James Jupp) appeared in 1992, Australia and the US have experienced similar economic and immigration needs, but their responses have differed substantially. Australia has fine-tuned its immigration programme in reaction to strong economic growth and resulting labour shortages up to the end of 2008. The US has made no comparable adjustments in its programme, despite a spectacular high-tech boom in the late 1990s and an equally unbridled ‘housing bubble’ during most of the 2000s. This book picks up where Nations of Immigrants left off, by comparing and contrasting Australian and American immigration programmes since the mid-1990s. Immigration policies in Australia and the US necessarily reflect important historical and institutional similarities and differences between the two countries. Both originated as British settler colonies and societies, with independence in the US dating from the late eighteenth century and in Australia from 1901. Both have long been liberal democracies, albeit with quite different political institutions. The US is a presidential republic with a marked separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers. Australia is technically a constitutional monarchy (the British monarch is head of state) with a Westminster parliamentary system that has, however, important ‘American’ features, such as a bicameral parliament with more or less co-equal chambers, a written constitution and a High Court with powers of judicial review. Both countries are federal political systems in which states (50...