Resettlement is the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed, voluntarily, to admit them. Since resettlement is subject to State planning and control, it is usually immune from current populist narratives that depicts immigration as contrary to national interests. By looking at the experience of both US and Canada, the paper argues that this is not always the case.
Resettlement involves not only an international dimension of solidarity, but also an intra-national one which, in turn, is both vertical and horizontal. The former refers to the role of the subnational units with regard to the selection and the distribution of refugees crossover the country, while the latter relates to the involvement of civil society in some elements of their identification or reception. A lack of coordination among these multiple dimensions of solidarity may result in local resistances that in the long run can influence the enforcement of national resettlement policy.
A good number of European states have introduced legal provisions providing for integration tests for migrants: knowledge of the host state’s language and civic values are required during all stages of a migrant’s stay, either as a precondition for entry or as a criterion for remaining on the state’s territory. In those states where a common nationwide language exists, the choice of the language utilized for the measurement of integration is unproblematic. However, things are different in multinational countries or in countries with national linguistic minorities, where several languages enjoy an official status, according to criteria based upon territorial subdivision. In such cases, subnational units where national minorities are settled may enforce measures with the aim of compelling immigrants to learn the local language rather than the national one. I brand such developments “cultural regional citizenship”. On the basis of a comparative analysis that takes into account the cases of Italy, Spain and Belgium, this article considers how the issue is influenced by intergovernmental relations between national and subnational jurisdictions, on the one hand, and the protection of fundamental rights and the proportionality principle, on the other.