The Wall around the West

State Borders and Immigration Controls in North America and Europe

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Even as economic and military walls have come down in the post-Cold War era, states have rapidly built new barriers to prevent a perceived invasion of 'undesirables.' Nowhere is this more dramatically evident than along the geographic fault lines dividing rich from poor countries: especially the southern border of the United States, and the southern and eastern borders of the European Union. This volume examines the practice, politics, and consequences of building these new walls in North America and Europe. At the same time, it challenges dominant accounts of globalization, in which state borders will be irrelevant to the human experience. In short, the volume brings borders back in to the study of international politics.


"As restrictions on trade, capital, and technology flows come down, border control agencies have often become the fastest growing branches of Western governments. The Wall Around the West tackles head-on the central issue of how to reconcile the conflicting demands of economic growth and social coherence in the context of declining birth rates and immigration pressures. This book provides a penetrating analysis of the basic dilemma confronting Western societies." — Samuel Huntington, Harvard University

"The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but the European Union and the United States have built new walls at their borders to keep out migrants from without. This book admirably combines a comparative approach to both international migration processes and the attempts of states to control and prevent such migrations. With subtlety and historical depth, the authors analyze Latin American, Caribbean, and Eastern European migrations as well as U.S. and European Union migrant deterrence and control policies." — Jorge I. Dominguez, director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University

"An important and probing scholarly investigation into one of the most important issues of our time." — Timothy Garton Ash, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford

"This volume is highly recommendable. The volume makes inspiring reading by virtue of its deliberate challenge to radical postmodern theory about the future of the state and its meticulous documentation..." — International Affairs

"Highly recommended for courses focusing on immigration, globalisation, and international relations." — Journal Of Ethnic and Migration Studies

"Peter Andreas and Timothy Snyder have put together an excellent book. The essays in this volume offer a critique of the growing literature on globalization, reminding us that, in spite of trendy arguments about the de-territorialization of the state, borders still matter." — James F. Hollifield, Southern Methodist University

"This volume is highly recommendable.The volume makes inspiring reading by virtue of its deliberate challenge to radical postmodern theory about the future of the state and its meticulous documentation." — International Affairs



“Borders in North America and Europe are being reasserted through ambitious and innovative state efforts to regulate the transnational movement of people. The purpose of this volume is to examine the practice, politics, and consequences of the construction of this ‘wall around the West.’ The trends we describe run counter to the conventional wisdom that borders are increasingly outmoded in an integrating world. As this volume demonstrates, along rich-poor divides globalization can be consistent with the reinforcement of state borders.

This collection of original essays crosses professional and geographic borders, uniting political scientists, historians, sociologists, geographers, and policymakers from both sides of the Atlantic. Although much has been written in recent years on the immigration policies of advanced industrialized countries, this is one of the first attempts to address the transformation of North American and European border controls in historical and comparative perspective.”

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