Friday, June 17, 2016

WAPOR Paper Comparing Impact of Refugee and Immigration on European and U.S. Policy

Nationalism and nativism are sweeping European and U.S. politics in 2015 and 2016 and the result is likely to be significant. In a World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) panel on refugee politics, my paper compared key elements of the refugee and immigration events in 2015 and 2016 and their impact on the politics of the Continent and U.S.

Center-right and center-left ruling parties and politics are in disrepute on both continents. Immigration was the major factor in political upheaval in late 2015. In Europe, the crisis was caused by the volume of refugees and the sense the EU had no plan to resolve it. In the U.S., the lingering effect of no resolution of 11 million undocumented immigrants due to a gridlocked Congress was the biggest catalyst of voter anger. The circumstances on each continent offered a fertile environment for a highly impassioned debate on immigration, with nativist (policy of favoring native-born or established inhabitants over immigrants) arguments having the advantage.

The politics of 2016 and 2017 in the broadest sense are being altered due to immigration. Donald Trump’s nomination is a product of his immigration position more than any other factor. His anti-Mexican campaign rhetoric at his June announcement and his anti-Muslim position in November led to his dominance of the Republican field.

The E.U.’s open-border policy and Brussels’s general credibility have been undermined due to immigration issues. Nationalist and nativist parties and candidates are now the story. In Austria, a far-right candidate nearly won the presidency. In 2017, a host of center-right and center-left leaders and coalitions are on the defensive. Anti-immigrant politics is a deciding factor in the Brexit vote about to take place in Britain.

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