Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2019


In a backdrop of rising nationalism and far-right populism, the position of refugees and asylum seekers in the European Union (EU) since the 2015 immigration crisis has been placed under stress in both policy and practice. The identity of many of these recent immigrants as Muslim has further compounded the barriers faced in the immigration process as religiously motivated forms of marginalization through policy, practice, and rhetoric have been increasing in salience. This context allowed for the research question driving this thesis to develop as: How does the relationship between immigration and religion shape the experience for Muslims asylum seekers in France and Hungary? Policy analysis and its implementation will be the central focus of this paper.

The mainstream quality of Islamophobia is contributed to in France and Hungary, as well as across the rest of the EU, by the presence of far-right populist parties which stake their political motivations in highly exclusionary nativism which most frequently targets foreign-born populations. Though the populist leaders and groups in France and Hungary are not the causation of xenophobic sentiments, their existence has catalyzed the integration of radical right politics into the regular sociopolitical climate in the EU. Thus, the correlations examined in this paper are between the immigration and religious polices, practices, and sentiments in both France and Hungary as related to their citizens, Muslim immigrant groups, the EU system, and populism. The analysis and research findings are rooted in literature review of primary and secondary sources as well as quantitative data and value sets. Ultimately, this paper argues that the EU has been weak in implementing and enforcing immigration policy.