How to Counter Possible Political Dangers of Immigration Without Barring Migrants

Source: Cato Unbound
by Ilya Somin

“One flaw in the argument that immigration restrictions are needed to constrain nativist backlash is that survey data consistently shows that most people in both the United States and Europe consistently overestimate the true amount of immigration, and those most opposed to immigration overestimate the most. Given such widespread ignorance, we cannot assume that, say, a 10% reduction in immigration will lead to a parallel reduction in ethno-nationalist sentiment. Indeed, most nationalist voters might not even notice the difference. Nativism is often caused by deeply rooted xenophobic attitudes, rather than by the actual number of immigrants. Hostility to immigration among natives often tends to be greatest in parts of the United States and other countries that have the fewest immigrants.” (07/16/21)