Accountability, Legitimacy And Immigration Control

The inclusion of social actors in asylum regulation in Norway, Denmark and Germany

Authored by: Tord Skogedal Lindén , Ina Radtke , Karsten Vrangbæk

The Routledge Handbook to Accountability and Welfare State Reforms in Europe

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472470591
eBook ISBN: 9781315612713
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044208


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Immigration constitutes a profound challenge to public administration as it can be labeled a ‘wicked issue’ (Rittel and Webber 1973; Head 2008) characterized by high levels of uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity. For example, there is no definitive knowledge on the impact of immigrants on the welfare system or a consensus on whether immigration should be a human right (Boswell 2000; Guild 2006) within the multilevel, cross-sectoral and multi-actor environment. Thus, the maintenance of legitimacy as basis for the support of stakeholders is a continuous and particularly difficult quest (Head 2008: 102). This chapter focuses on the regulation of asylum seekers where policy formulation and implementation is torn between demands of restriction and liberalization. Public opinion tends to favor restrictive policies in the stage of policy formulation but has a more liberal opinion in the stage of implementation when individual fates are concerned (Ellermann 2006). Thus, the asylum process has been criticized from both sides with a sometimes devastating overall ‘impression of governmental incompetence and incapacity’ (Crisp 2003: 83). The current refugee crisis accentuates the high political salience of asylum policy.

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