chapter  15
Immigration and Terrorism
ByNora V. Demleitner
Pages 15

Despite at best mixed empirical evidence, Western countries remain ideologically and rhetorically attached to a robust connection between immigration and transnational terrorism, especially when radical Islamic ideas ostensibly inspire terror attacks. As the shape of terror has been changing, the connection becomes ever more tenuous, however. Still European countries, Australia and New Zealand, and North America continue to restrict migration, especially for refugees and asylum-seekers, in the name of fighting terror by painting the terrorist as the migrant “other.” Screening and surveillance of foreigners are portrayed as paramount even as attacks increasingly originate from citizens, some of whom are recent converts to Islam or have returned from fighting abroad. As migration laws may sweep too broadly and negatively affect desirable immigration, overall terrorism plays only a subordinate role in migration policy. Still anti-immigrant rhetoric may carry negative ramifications for immigrant groups even though immigration law is clearly unable to address the challenges of terrorism.