The Economist: The way forward on immigration to the West

24 August, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “An articulated liberal view on migration. Several human rights safeguards are still missing (the idea of a “trade-off” where migrants are considered to have less human rights is anathema, even if human rights do not justify all government benefits), but it is refreshing to hear a voice of reason on migration policy issues. There is a sophisticated vision for the future, not simply a temporary fix for present electoral purposes.”

THE fear of immigration is poisoning Western politics. Donald Trump owes his job to it. Brexit would not be happening without it. Strident nationalists wield power in Italy, Hungary, Poland and Austria, and have gained influence elsewhere.

Even Sweden, long a country of refuge, has soured on migrants. The Sweden Democrats, a thunderingly anti-immigrant party, could win the most votes at an election on September 9th (see article). Though it will not form a government, it has already transformed Swedish politics as mainstream parties seek to halt migrants.

The West risks a backlash of the sort that ended the previous great age of mobility, before 1914. That would be a tragedy. Societies that close their doors to migrants will be poorer and less tolerant. Meanwhile, those to whom the doors are closed will see increased suffering, unable to escape the poverty, climate change or violence that prompts them to move.

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