The conference on "Comparative Citizenship," held at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia on June 4-7, 1998, was sponsored by the International Migration Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Twenty-five experts from around the world gathered to present and discuss citizenship policies as they relate to rights, access and participation in different non-Western European liberal-democratic states and the supranational European Union.

I.  Citizenship in Emerging States: Russian Federation, Baltic States and Ukraine, and South Africa  
II.  Citizenship in Countries of Immigration: Australia, Canada, and United States  
III. Citizenship Debates: European Union and Mexico  
IV. Citizenship in Ethnocultural States: Israel and Japan  
V. Trends and Comparisons on Citizenship  
List of Participants  

The event's organizers, T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer, hope to use the research and discussion generated by the conference to identify the key emerging issues in citizenship policy and to evaluate methods by which these issues are being addressed. The papers submitted for the conference on the citizenship policies of particular countries (e.g. Australia, the Baltic States, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Mexico, the United States and South Africa) will be published as a book. Another goal of the conference was to determine the future directions of citizenship policy debate. The Carnegie Endowment intends to reconvene participants for further discussion within one year.

In the first panel, on "Citizenship in Emerging States: The Russian Federation, the Baltic States and Ukraine, and South Africa," moderator Kathleen Newland noted several comparative points among the three regions:

  • Gaps between theory and practice, law and policy.
  • Dual citizenship, "a minefield in all three regions," which is often sought as an insurance policy for those who are uncomfortable with evolving political systems.
  • Incentives for more inclusive policies ("good behavior") supplied by external actors.
  • The complex relationship between obligatory military service and application for citizenship.

Working from his paper, "The Making of Citizenship Policy in the Baltic States and Ukraine," Lowell Barrington focused on current issues of political representation and the role of external pressure in changing exclusionary citizenship policies. For example, in Estonia, where political representation is so restricted that a town that is 95 percent Russian has an ethnic-Estonian mayor, the role of international organizations has been positive. Pressure from the European Union persuaded the Estonian government to adopt more inclusive policies with the hope that they might one day join the organization. External pressure from the former Soviet Union, however, backfired. Mr. Barrington explained the Baltics? argument that their citizenship is not ethnically based, noting the importance of recognizing their loss and reclamation of statehood from the Soviet period.

George Ginsburgs focused on the theme of succession in his paper, "Citizenship and State Succession?Who is and Ought to be a Citizen of the Russian Federation." As Ms. Newland commented, the twenty to thirty million ethnic Russians who live outside Russia create "a picture of ambivalence," so that current issues include:

  • Facilitating changes of citizenship.
  • The role of the residency permit.
  • Inconsistent forms of legal status, including forced migrants, refugees, refugees from outside the former USSR, illegal aliens, legal aliens, etc.;
  • Birthright citizenship.
  • Mechanisms for effecting the rights of citizenship.

Mr. Ginsburgs added that Russia desires a more active use of dual citizenship policy in its relations with other former Soviet states, and must confront the problem that some of its own different constituent republics are pushing for differentiated citizenship from that of the Federation. He emphasized that practice and law are totally disparate, creating a rather grim picture for Russia's long-term future.

Jonathan Klaaren's presentation, "Recent Citizenship in South Africa," began with a discussion of South Africa's history of exclusion and discrimination as the basis for its current theme of rectification in citizenship policy. He cited the notion of a racial exclusion clause, the truth and reconciliation process, and the perceived menace of uncontrolled immigration from other African countries as major influences in citizenship policy today. With emphases on political participation, education and enfranchisement, informal administrative action has led toward inclusiveness. However, Mr. Klaaren does not foresee legislative action on citizenship issues in the near future.

Introducing the second panel, "Citizenship in Countries of Immigration: Australia, Canada, and the United States," David Martin remarked on the similarities among the three states, whose overall picture of attractiveness to immigrants reflects the general success of the lawful settlement membership model. He noted four core values common to all three countries: 1) jus soli; 2) jus sanguinis; 3) naturalization requirements (an application, minimum age of 18, residency, language, knowledge/ civics, oath, and good moral character); and 4) dual nationality (an issue of increasing salience). Commenting on his own paper, "Between Principles and Politics: The Direction of US Citizenship Policy," Mr. Aleinikoff suggested that, in the lawful settlement model, drawing lines between citizens and aliens is counterproductive to integrative strategies. He recommended that immigrants be treated as "citizens in training" rather than as foreigners.

In pursuit of an integrative model, J. Donald Galloway focused on rhetoric - specifically, the language of belonging and integration. Referring to Canadian citizenship history since 1910, which he analyzed in his paper on "The Dilemmas of Canadian Citizenship Law," Mr. Galloway warned that such language is derived from an old instrumentalist philosophy, and often allows the state (and its courts) to let stand discriminatory laws in the name of integrated communities.

Expanding on the discussion of assimilation and discriminatory history in each country, Gianni Zappalà noted the role of the state in creating minorities, the importance of political incorporation and voting rights, and the denial of these rights in practice to minorities and, especially, indigenous people. In reference to his paper with Stephen Castles on "Citizenship and Immigration in Australia," Mr. Zappalà noted a change in Australian citizenship law from jus soli to jus sanguinis following a period of failed assimilation in the 1970s. Also, since 1996, there has been a movement away from the liberal approach to citizenship (which included reconciliation with indigenous groups) toward instrumental concerns.

The third panel, "Citizenship Debates - Nationality, Dual Nationality, and Supranationality: The European Union and Mexico," moderated by Rainer Bauböck, concentrated largely on the voting rights and obligations of dual citizenship. Manuel Becerra Ramirez's paper on "Nationality in Mexico" highlighted major recent reforms in Mexican citizenship law, which now allow dual nationality to jus soli Mexican citizens. In response to Mr. Bauböck's suggestion that these reforms were motivated by Mexico's dual national trauma of losing territory and population, Mr. Ramirez offered an historical explanation of the difference between citizenship and nationality in Mexico: nationality corresponds to the current open society (in terms of politics, economics, and citizenship); while citizenship is reminiscent of a closed, defensive society that began with the revolution.

The discussion of Marco Martiniello's paper on "The Meaning and Scope of Citizenship of the European Union," focused on the limited rights of EU citizens and the extent to which a sense of "people," or demos, has been or will be achieved. Mr. Bauböck noted that the list of rights established in the Maastricht treaty has been implemented hesitantly and excludes non-EU nationals. According to Mr. Martiniello, this lack of attention to EU citizenship rights is related to the lack of a European civil society. Citizenship policy has come from above; its advances are economically motivated (for example, the right to freedom of movement between EU member states). Martiniello and Papademetriou agreed that visionary leadership is the key to future advances in EU citizenship policy.

Calculating descent and the Law of Return were the main topics of discussion in the fourth panel, "Citizenship in Ethnocultural States: Israel and Japan." Moderator Aristide Zolberg identified the customary matrilineal component and ambiguity of religion in Jewish identity and calculations of descent. Prominent issues in Israel therefore include: 1) the situation of non-Jews in Israel; 2) restrictions on membership that create a caste system of citizenship, especially around the issue of non-Jews; 3) the return of Arabs; 4) the right of the state to restrict entry for security reasons. Presenter Ayelet Shachar elaborated on the issue of non-Jews (or "Arab citizens of Israel"), who constitute one fifth (1.1 million) of Israel's population and are largely settled in the Palestinian area under Israeli army occupation.

Her paper, "Whose Republic? Citizenship and Membership in the Israel Polity," also focused on the concept of belonging, family law, and the Law of Return. In its concept of belonging, Israel views potential members as members as long as they are Jewish. Then, under the Law of Return, arrival in Israel confers citizenship, provided the person expresses an interest and is eligible. Included in this automatic membership is a "package of return," containing benefits such as language training and a stipend, which facilitates integration. However, this caste of membership works inclusively outside Israel while it is restrictive within the state.

A discussion of Miriam Feldblum's paper, "Rationing Membership: New Trends in Policymaking," led off the fifth panel, "Trends and Comparisons on Citizenship." Operating from the central concept of membership rations - defined as attributes of membership that determine access to nationality and citizenship, and define eligibility for rights and benefits - Ms. Feldblum emphasized the multiple, sometimes conflicting modes through which they may be acquired across a broad array of policy domains. She noted two recent historical trends:

  • Diminishing differences between citizens and non-citizens in their access to citizenship and nationality, as well as in the allocation of rights and benefits.
  • An expansion of rationing membership goods.

Although states play a major role in directing and limiting the allocation of membership goods by defining eligibility criteria, international human rights instruments, regional supranational bodies and local community organizations offer alternative, multiple levels for successful claims.

Moderator Douglas Klusmeyer initiated a discussion of the character of rights, whether formal or substantive. Patrick Weil noted a trend in the equalization of rights, as well as a regression of rights for US immigrants and for EU foreigners who have committed a crime. Thus, the equalization of rights is countered by the states' right of expulsion or revocation. Mr. Bauböck suggested that rationing include different dimensions of rights and obligations. The debate ended with Christian Joppke's assertion that rationing needs to be placed in the context of immigration control.

The final panel on "Future Directions of the Comparative Citizenship Project," provided a forum for the event's organizers to ask participants for their suggestions and recommendations for further questions to be addressed. Suggestions ranged from selecting substantive issues to be translated for policy makers, to beginning with a core concept of how citizens relate to immigrants, to approaching citizenship from below by bringing in affected people. Chai Feldblum urged her colleagues to be simple, targeted and relevant. She identified three questions to be addressed:

  • Why should a country want immigration? What are the benefits, and is this relevant?
  • As a matter of policy, should a country want a citizen to be loyal to it and affiliated with it? If yes, are there limits to these demands?
  • What obligations do countries legitimately have to their immigrants?

Mr. Papademetriou emphasized as a final point that, "The quest for citizenship would not have been so relevant today if it had not been about immigration."