subtitle and description

Migration | Migración

Complements and extends | Complementa y extiende

April 26, 2022

Europe: nativism imperils immigrants

Boat carrying refugees drifts in Mediterranean Sea. Credit: Italian Navy / Massimo Sestini

By Peter Costantini

In much of Europe, government policies and public attitudes towards immigration - mainly from Africa and the Middle East – have hardened over recent years.

“The European Union’s borders continue to be a site for the punishment and weaponization of people trying to find a better life.”, writes Kenyan political analyst Nanjala Nyabola. … [M]ainstream politics across the region has made room for the far right to shape narratives around migration, particularly migration from the Global South. … The border crisis in Europe is a moral crisis. A region which positions itself as a worldwide moral arbiter has demonstrated that its moral imagination cannot extend to the safe movement of people who come through its borders.”
- Nanjala Nyabola. “Migration: Europe’s Achilles’ heel”. Oxford, UK: New Internationalist, February 15, 2022.


In the April 24 presidential election in France, centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron easily defeated extreme-right challenger Marine Le Pen by 17 percentage points. Le Pen, however, increased her share of the electorate by 7.6 points since the 2017 elections, gaining 41.5 percent of the vote.

While softening her signature anti-immigrant rhetoric, Le Pen maintained white nationalist and restrictionist positions on immigration, including calling for asylum seekers to be processed abroad (in an echo of Trump’s "Migrant Protection Protocols"). However, she also campaigned on some left-leaning economic and social policies, in contrast to Macron’s unpopular weakening of labor protections and proposal to raise the retirement age.

“This election has further scrambled the traditional divide between left and right in France,” according to Rachel Donadio of The Atlantic magazine. “Ms. Le Pen has managed to widen her consensus by combining far-right positions on immigration with a left-leaning defense of public spending and social welfare.”
- Rachel Donadio. “Marine Le Pen has already won”. New York Times, April 24, 2022.

Algeria’s war of independence from France, which ended in 1962 after more than 130 years of colonization, continues to haunt France’s debates on immigration and national identity.

“Grim conspiracy theories about replacing white, Christian French with Muslims from North Africa. Vows to limit immigration from the region. And the evocation of memories of a supposedly glorious colonial past in Algeria. … [T]he long shadows of that past … have increasingly pervaded the campaigns of right-wing candidates in next month’s presidential elections.”
- Constant Méheut. “Shadows of Algerian War Loom Over Election Campaign in France”. New York Times, March 19, 2022.

Eastern Europe

A sudden influx of over five million Ukrainian war refugees into countries of eastern and central Europe has mostly been welcomed with outpourings of generosity. However, the contrast with the cold shoulder offered in some cases to African and Middle Eastern refugees has incited accusations of racism.
- Nadine White. “UN admits refugees have faced racism at Ukraine borders”. London: The Independent, March 1, 2022.

English Channel / La Manche

Lorenzo Tondo, Luke Harding & Vincent Ni. “‘Good anti-sinking capacity, lifejacket optional’: journey of a ‘refugee boat’”. London: The Guardian, December 28, 2022.


Sebastian Skov Andersen & Gabriel Geiger. “Rule of Silence”. Oxford, UK: New Internationalist, January 20, 2022.

Alex W. Palmer. “They Came to Help Migrants. Now, Europe Has Turned on Them.” New York Times Magazine, March 2, 2022.


Ian Urbina. “The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe”. The New Yorker, November 11, 2021.

March 3, 2022

Report on root causes of migration | informe sobre las causas raíz de la migración


No Queda de Otra: An Exploration of the Root Causes of Forced Migration to the Southern Border

No Queda de Otra: Una exploración de las causas raíz de la migración hacia la frontera sur

November | noviembre 2021

Hannah Hollandbyrd, Policy Specialist, & J. Omar Ríos L., Humanitarian Support Coordinator, Hope Border Institute, El Paso,Texas.

No queda de otra (There is no other way) is a report based on interviews with 51 mainly Mexican and Central American immigrants in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the border city across from El Paso, Texas. They asked: “What led you to leave your home?”. It also inquired about experiences with immigration enforcement. “The answers revealed a confluence of natural and human-made disasters, economic structures that impoverish and state failure to protect people experiencing both generalized and gender-based violence.” Their research also found that “climate change and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are accelerating the underlying drivers of forced migration from Central America and Mexico”. The report includes recommendations to the Biden administration on root causes of migration, better legal pathways, the journey through Mexico, and access to asylum.

No queda de otra es un informe basado en entrevistas con 51 inmigrantes, principalmente mexicanos y centroamericanos, en Ciudad Juárez, México, la ciudad fronteriza frente a El Paso, Texas. Les preguntaron: "¿Qué le llevó a abandonar su hogar?". También investigaron las experiencias con las autoridades de inmigración. "Las respuestas revelaron una confluencia de desastres naturales y provocados por el hombre, estructuras económicas que empobrecen y la incapacidad del Estado para proteger a las personas que sufren violencia generalizada y de género". Su investigación también descubrió que "el cambio climático y el impacto de la pandemia del COVID-19 están acelerando los motores subyacentes de la migración forzada desde Centroamérica y México". El informe incluye recomendaciones al gobierno de Biden sobre las causas fundamentales de la migración, la mejora de las vías legales, el viaje a través de México y el acceso al asilo.

“The Hope Border Institute (HOPE) brings the perspective of Catholic social teaching to bear on the realities unique to our US-Mexico border region. Through a robust program of research and policy work, leadership development and action, we work to build justice and deepen solidarity across the borderlands.”

“El Instituto Fronterizo Esperanza (HOPE) trae la perspectiva de la Doctrina Social de la Iglesia a las realidades particulares de nuestra región fronteriza de México y Estados Unidos. A través de un robusto programa de investigación y trabajo de política, desarrollo de liderazgo y acción, trabajamos para construir justicia y profundizar la solidaridad a través de las fronteras.”