Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Constitutional Rights and Civic Incorporation of Immigrants in the United States

Presented at the German-American Conference by Dr Galya Ruffer

In the new millenium an increasing concern for “the limits of liberalism” problematic has arisen, i.e. the worry that the expansion of liberal rights has come at the expense of liberal values. Traditionally the liberal institutionalist constitutional order of the United States has emphasized inclusive citizenship rights to promote integration, but has not payed equal attention to the necessities of cultural identity. Conversely, European liberal communitarian institutional orders have seen and constitutionally protected the necessities of ethnic and religious identities, but, by opening such issues to discourse, have made it possible for such identities to be constructed in a way that ultimately inhibits integration. The paper examines, from a historical point of view, how the notion of liberal rights intersects with different institutional foundations in Europe and the United States.

Galya Ruffer is the Associate Director of International Studies and a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Northwestern University . Her areas of interest include comparative constitutionalism, immigration and citizenship rights with a particular focus on the European Union and political asylum.