Immigration is shaking up electoral politics around the world. Anti-immigration and ultranationalistic politics are rising in Europe, the United States, and countries across Asia and Africa. What is causing this nativist fervor? Are immigrants the cause or merely a common scapegoat?
In Blaming Immigrants, economist Neeraj Kaushal investigates the rising anxiety in host countries and tests common complaints against immigration. Do immigrants replace host country workers or create new jobs? Are they a net gain or a net drag on host countries? She finds that immigration, on balance, is beneficial to host countries. It is neither the volume nor pace of immigration but the willingness of nations to accept, absorb, and manage new flows of immigration that is fueling this disaffection. Kaushal delves into the demographics of immigrants worldwide, the economic tides that carry them, and the policies that shape where they make their new homes. She demystifies common misconceptions about immigration, showing that today’s global mobility is historically typical; that most immigration occurs through legal frameworks; that the U.S. system, far from being broken, works quite well most of the time and its features are replicated by many countries; and that proposed anti-immigrant measures are likely to cause suffering without deterring potential migrants. Featuring accessible and in-depth analysis of the economics of immigration in worldwide perspective, Blaming Immigrants is an informative and timely introduction to a critical global issue.
Neeraj Kaushal is professor of social policy and chair of the doctoral program at the Columbia University School of Social Work. She is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany.