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International Relations

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Claus Hofhansel

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Citizanship In Austria, Germany, And Switzerland, Claus Hofhansel Jun 2011

Citizanship In Austria, Germany, And Switzerland, Claus Hofhansel

Claus Hofhansel

A common claim has been that liberalization of citizenship policy depends on making policy behind closed doors. I challenge one variant of this line of argument, which regards courts as the primary �countermajoritarian� champion of the expansion of immigrant rights, through a comparison of citizenship policy in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. In all three countries subnational authorities play a significant role in the administration of naturalization policy. Courts have played more of a �nationalizing� rather than a �countermajoritarian� role. I also show how differences in federal structures affected recent efforts to reform citizenship policy in these countries.