If Nativists Have Their Way


Anti-immigration animus is the single biggest issue driving the global wave of populist authoritarianism in Europe and the United States. That sentiment propelled the Brexit movement in England, the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the U.S., the appeal of an autocrat like Viktor Orban in Hungary, the impressive election performance of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France and much more. Immigration has been blamed for decimating the West’s working class, straining its welfare state, diluting its culture, overcrowding its cities and contributing to its institutional decline. Nativists have used these and other anxieties to catapult themselves into the political mainstream and challenge the very basis of a liberal, pluralistic and tolerant society.

On May 17th from 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. EDT, Mercatus Center Resident Fellow Shikha Dalmia will lead a discussion with three world renowned experts about the future that would await the West if nativists have their way. Will countries that seal their borders offer better living standards, cultural health and freedom to their citizens, or the opposite?

Mercatus Center Senior Fellow Jack Goldstone, Virginia E. and John T. Hazel, Jr. Chair Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and Director of Schar’s Center for the Study of Social Change, Institutions and Policy will discuss the demographic impact of nativist policies at a time that fertility rates around the world, particularly the West, are declining.

Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development, Michael Clemens, will discuss the impact of nativist policies on the economy and the welfare systems of Western countries.

Former head of the London School of Economics’ Department of Government and the Dean of Political Science at the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Chandran Kukathas, will discuss the impact of nativist policies on the political rights and liberties of Western citizens.