Integration and Recognition of Asian Immigrants: A Critical Exposition of Kymlicka’s Polyethnic Rights | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


This paper argues against Kymlicka's claim that immigrants’ cultural rights only pertain to certain kinds of polyethnic rights. Using the concrete examples of Asian immigrants living in Canada, the USA, and Britain, where they constitute a large proportion of the population, Kymlicka identifies their lower sense of attachment to their societal culture of origin than national minority groups. Based on the argument of choice luck, Kymlicka further justifies polyethnic rights by outlining the aspects of immigrants’ lives that are chosen and unchosen. However, Kymlicka’s understanding of immigrants and of their cultural rights raises four fundamental questions: Is migration ever really a fully voluntary choice? And, if so, would this justify a less extensive set of polyethnic rights for those who choose to migrate? If immigrants overcome disadvantages they suffer, why should they still benefit from polyethnic rights? And finally, does it make any sense in a liberal society for immigrants to not have access to their original societal culture and its institutional embodiments, since they intend to integrate into the receiving society? I contend that Kymlicka does not have convincing responses to these questions.


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