Policy & Practice - A Development Education Review



Development Education and Migration
Spring 2024

Guest Editorial: Development Education and Migration

Stephen McCloskey

The myths of migration

Migration is often framed negatively in political discourse as an impediment to development, competition for native employment, a drain on resources or a threat to border security.  The British Home Secretary, James Cleverley, for example, wrote in December 2023:

“It is clear that net migration remains far too high.  By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain”. 

This kind of immigrant framing is becoming increasingly common across Europe.  In a longitudinal study drawing upon data from 22 countries over 18 years, Schmidt-Catran and Czymara found that ‘anti-immigrant attitudes increase when political elites express more exclusionary sentiments towards immigration’ and they result in ‘polarisation along political and socio-economic dimensions’ (2023: 85).  On the other hand, inclusionary political rhetoric toward migrants can result in more public openness to inward migration (Ibid.: 101).  This tells us that disinformation about migrants, refugees and minority ethnic groups can set ‘the tone of the political discourse surrounding the management of migratory phenomena and the policies governing them’ (Neidhardt and Butcher, 2022).

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