In Search of a New Equilibrium: Immigration Policymaking in the Newest Era of Nativist Populism (MPI)

This research, commissioned for the eighteenth plenary meeting of the Transatlantic Council of Migration, an initiative of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), examines the entanglement of immigration with broader concerns about the economic, social and cultural effects of globalization, as well as the public’s growing lack of confidence in government to manage issues such as immigration.

The authors of this report step back to assess the web of factors driving support for populism. “The rise of nativist populism,” the authors write, “is inextricably bound up with anxiety about the rate, form, and manner in which immigration has grown in recent years.” In many countries, it is also a reflection of concerns about lost livelihoods and socioeconomic status amid an uneven recovery from the 2008-09 global recession, and perceived threats to social norm and “community,” however defined.

After reviewing the drivers of public anxiety about immigration and the implications of seismic shifts in political systems, the report lays out a roadmap to forge more responsive policies that serve the interests of the broader society.

The authors conclude that mainstream policymakers must determine how to respond to the forces that have driven support for populism in the first place, among them concerns about cultural identity, rising inequality, pressure on limited public resources, deepening political polarization and the politics of fear and resentment. They also will need to figure out how to build a new consensus on immigration, the authors write, including rebuilding public trust in the integrity of migration management systems and redressing the uneven costs of immigration, globalization and economic crises.

Authors: Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Kate Hooper, and Meghan Benton

Publication Date:
Thu 08 Nov 2018
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