The European Union agreed on a major deal of immigration reform, reducing some of the pressures of migration on its southern members.
The Pact on Migration and Asylum will limit entries into the EU and make it easier for states to process deportations, while spreading some of the burden of receiving new migrants across the bloc.
Voters and governments shift right on immigration
Anti-immigration policies have been flourishing in recent months, and even left-wing and center-left parties have sought to reduce migration. The U.S., Australia, and France are all looking to come down hard on immigration, and politicians who have promised to reduce migrant numbers have swept recent elections. The shift partly comes from voters who think established parties ignore their concerns about immigration, driving them to the far-right for whom immigration has always been a talking point, one expert told Foreign Policy. “Mainstream [parties] acted like the issue didn’t exist—they didn’t want to tackle it. That irritated people,” said Jakub Wondreys, a political scientist at the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies in Dresden.
But the rich world’s anti-immigrant turn may seem like “an aberration” soon
There is an “immigration boom” underway in wealthy nations where foreign-born populations are reportedly rising faster than ever before, The Economist noted earlier this year. While part of this is a post-lockdown surge of people with visas who had delayed their moving plans during COVID-19, the primary reason could be the “post-pandemic economy” in rich countries where unemployment is low and demand for labor is high. Some rich governments are trying to attract more students to counter their ageing populations, the Economist wrote, and in countries like the U.S., immigrants bring new enterprises, ideas, and innovation, ultimately generating more tax revenue. “Before long the rich world’s anti-immigrant turn of the late 2010s will seem like an aberration,” The Economist argued.
Journeys for migrants are expensive, and deadly
Across the Atlantic, more than 500,000 people have attempted to traverse Panama’s treacherous Darien Gap crossing this year, which connects South and Central America — doubling the number of people who made the attempt in 2022. Many of the migrants setting out across the region’s dense jungle originate from Venezuela and hope to reach the U.S., which closed two border crossings with Mexico this year in response to 2.5 million encounters with migrants at its southern border. Those with means are taking a different route, paying up to $5,000 to travel by sea from Colombia to Nicaragua, The Wall Street Journal reported. That journey is deadly, and 100 people have gone missing over the last two years.