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Updated Dec 19, 2023, 7:45am EST
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The rise of the anti-immigration center-left

Insights from The Washington Post, Financial Times, Der Spiegel, and Bild

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REUTERS/Go Nakamura
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Immigration has traditionally been a bugbear for the right. But parties on the opposite side of the political spectrum have become increasingly willing to crack down on migrants and refugees as the politics of immigration shifts in a range of Western countries.

In the U.S., Democrats are considering limiting the options migrants have to claim asylum, ramping up detention and deportation. In France, centrist President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a landmark immigration bill that would harden the country’s borders. And down under, Australia’s center-left government has vowed to cut immigration levels in half.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Democrats move to the right on immigration

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Sources:  
Vox, The Washington Post, NBC News

On Biden’s first day in office he sent a bill to Congress to “restore humanity” to the immigration system. Now he’s considering harsh crackdowns on immigration in exchange for aid to Ukraine and Israel. This willingness to consider the deal is a sign that more and more Democrats have grown uncomfortable with the border situation in the Biden years, which have featured a surge in crossings and asylum requests, Vox reported. A majority of Democrats now think that migration is at least a “somewhat serious problem” and that the flow of migrants should be slowed, a poll of New Yorkers showed. The GOP has an 18-point lead on handling immigration, and Democrats hope a bipartisan deal would help Biden recover lost ground, NBC News reported.

Anti-immigration backlash builds across the West

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Sources:  
The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times

Rising immigration is a global phenomenon, as tight labor markets attract migrants, The Wall Street Journal said. It has also become a political albatross for some administrations which have failed to convince voters that they can get the situation under control. In both Australia and Canada, center-left governments have vowed to crack down on immigration and tighten up visa requirements in a bid to shore up public support, the Journal reported. But there are risks in gambling that an all-out assault on migrants will lead to electoral success, one Financial Times reporter warned. In Britain, the Tories have bet big on cracking down on immigration. But U.K. voters care less about immigration than they did a few years ago, he argued.

Mainstream parties try to outflank the right on immigration

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Sources:  
Foreign Policy, Der Spiegel, El País, Bild

As Europe faces the biggest surge in asylum seekers since the 2015-2016 refugee crisis, mainstream parties are moving to the right on immigration in a bid to outflank the far-right, Foreign Policy reported. Nowhere is this more clear than Germany, where the once staunchly pro-immigration Green Party and the liberal Free Democratic Party have vowed to stop migrants from arriving. Despite their turn to the right, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland continues to ride high in polls across the country, winning its second mayoral post on Monday. Earlier this year Sahra Wagenknecht made waves by leaving the far-left Die Linke party, vowing to fuse hardline immigration policies and wealth redistribution in a new outfit she is launching in January, which is on track to become the country’s fourth-largest party.

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