Immigration Bureaucracies in an Era of Anti-Immigration Populism by Antje Ellermann

Over the past two decades, populism has swept across the Global North, questioning the legitimacy of policymaking by established elites and framing immigrants as a threat to national identity and economic welfare. This project explores the impact of anti-immigration populism on bureaucratic organizations. The rise of anti-immigration populism challenges the legitimacy of bureaucracies responsible for immigration. It disturbs traditional immigration policymaking, the agreed upon goals of national immigration programs, and official state discourse on immigration. Yet, while much has been written on the impact of populism on parties and elected officials, its impact on bureaucratic organizations, and immigration bureaucracies more specifically, remains poorly understood.

Funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, this project examines how comparatively powerful bureaucracies in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have navigated policymaking in contexts that have been marked by anti-immigration populism since the early 2000s. In particular, this comparative study documents and compares how bureaucratic organizations responsible for immigration define and respond to the legitimacy challenges stemming from anti-immigration populism.

Research Partners
Antje Ellermann, Political Science; Director, UBC Centre for Migration Studies (Co-PI)
Mireille Paquet, Political Science, Concordia University (Co-PI)