The Role of the State in Cultural Integration: Trends, Challenges, and Ways Ahead
For more than a decade, states have experimented with a range of civic integration policies that require immigrants to learn the official language of their host country and acknowledge its basic norms and values—or risk losing social benefits and sometimes even residence permits. This raises questions as to what extent governments can and should restrict immigrants’ cultural or religious practices when deemed unacceptable with the host society’s values and norms.
The challenge for liberal states is to strike the right balance between policies that are aggressive enough to further social cohesion, yet restrained enough to respect the moral autonomy of immigrants. This is especially difficult when it comes to regulating sensitive identity issues, particularly with respect to religion. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series examining national identity in the age of migration, explores ways in which states can put forth smart policies that benefit both natives and immigrants in the host countries.
II. Policy Trends
IV. Ways Ahead
A. Guiding Principles