Should Racist Voters Justify Racist Policy?

Immigrant rights march on May Day, 2006, in Los Angeles, U.S.

Vote-politics highlight the gulf between the perception and reality of migration.

by John McNeil

There are more migrants in the world now than ever before, and the gulf between attitudes and realities about migration has never been larger. As migration is expected to continue increasing in the coming decades, both origin and destination countries are struggling to ensure public policy on migration meets the needs of an ever-changing situation.

Opinions against migration range from genuine concern about nations losing their cultural identity to racist, bigoted worldwide conspiracy theories. In the age of the Internet and social media, public opinion about such a hot button issue has never been more malleable. Traditional correlations in which negative attitudes about immigration were tied to a country’s unemployment rate no longer exist. Since 2009, attitudes about immigration have become more negative even as economic indicators improve, suggesting there may be…

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