Migration and Human Rights (37): Hostility Towards Immigrants Caused by the Economic Recession

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citizenship / data / economics / globalization / international relations / poverty / work
restricting immigration

restricting immigration


I’ve written a few times before about the possible effects of the current economic recession – or of any recession for that matter – on human rights. Now its seems that there’s some proof for the common notion that recessions promote anti-immigrant feelings:

Macroeconomic conditions have long been suspected of increasing hostility toward ethnic outgroups. Integrating prior work on macroeconomic threat with recent threat-based models of prejudice, the current work employs an experimental approach to examine the implications of economic threat for prejudice toward ethnic outgroups. In Study 1, participants primed with an economic threat (relative to a non-economic threat and neutral topic) reported more prejudice against Asian Americans, an ethnic group whose stereotype implies a threat to scarce employment opportunities. In addition, economic threat led to a heightened state of anxiety, which mediated the influence of economic threat on prejudice against Asian Americans. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings by demonstrating that economic threat heightened prejudice against Asian Americans, but not Black Americans, an ethnic group whose stereotype does not imply a threat to economic resources. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the role of macroeconomic conditions in potentiating antisocial responses to particular outgroups. (source)

Anti-immigrant hostility as such isn’t a human rights violation, but it can lead to discrimination and even violence. In most cases, it will just make restrictions on immigration more likely, and we know that migration is an important route out of poverty for many. Hence, immigration restrictions exacerbate poverty, and that’s a human rights violation. Not to mention the right to free movement and residence.

Some data on hostility are here.


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