Immigration and Nationalism
Immigration is one of the realities of the post-industrial era. The developed Nations are facing sudden increases of immigrants WHILE simultaneously experiencing increased income inequality. The mix of increasing income inequality (and wage drag, less than 2% growth in EU over the past 10 years) and increased immigration has lead to real political headaches in the US, Canada, and the EU.
EU and Canada
The EU and Canada need high levels of immigration to offset a demographic headache. They need immigrants to offset their aging populations. At the same time, the immigrants coming in cause culture shock. The immigrants coming into these countries are ethnically, politically, and religiously VERY DIFFERENT than the host countries. Muslims entering secular-christian countries really struggle to integrate. Those communities become scapegoats to local populations as domestic politics get tough. Working people the world over are frustrated due to economic shifts and slow downs. When the pocket book gets hit, the demons of human nature rear their ugly heads. Xenophobia is one of the first demons let loose. (This is happening in Canada too).
Nationalism outside the US will be a major theme in 2018. Populism will be the other. National Populists will all go after immigration populations.
This is bad timing for displaced people, as refugee populations continue to grow and grow. These people don’t have anywhere to go AND the places they are stuck will fall into chaos.
Keep an eye on Angela Merkel, German Prime Minister, who is on the front lines of this National Populist shift in the electorate AND how that shift interacts with immigration policy. If she gives up OR is out maneuvered it will be the end of humanitarian immigration into all of the EU. (Canada will keep doing the right thing, as long as the US doesn’t do something to mess their situation up).
The United States
Trump’s first speech on the campaign trail was all about immigration. Since then, violence connected with the drug trade has increased. Mexico saw its most violent year EVER in 2017. Mexico registered 23,101 murders for 2017. If the Drug wars in Mexico spill over into US towns along the border OR WORSE, if cartel activity is found in major Northern US cities, Trump’s rhetoric will increase. (The Cartels are as violent as ISIS or even worse).
Democrats up for reelection in 2018 or Democratic challengers for seats in 2018 need to pay attention to drug activity in US communities. If violence spills over into the US, Trump’s position and rhetoric will get more and more support.
I worry that hardliners on immigration are going to grow louder and find more people wanting to listen in 2018.
The first big test will be in March when the DACA program expires. Pay close attention to how everyone reacts when the program expires. I don’t expect the Republicans to renew the DACA program. I don’t think they will create a pathway to citizenship either.
Time will tell, but 2018 is going to be hard on immigrants and their families.