Repenser l’immigration

LONDRES – Dans les heures qui ont suivi la réélection du président américain Barack Obama le mois dernier, une croyance tenace a pris corps : Obama avait gagné grâce au très large soutien des électeurs latino-américains. Soudain, le parti républicain, connu pour sa ligne dure à propos de l’immigration, a commencé à parler de la nécessité de réformes approfondies. Les experts ont affirmé que si les républicains s’opposaient à ces réformes, ils perdraient les voix des Latino-américains pour la prochaine génération et placeraient leur parti dans une situation d’opposition quasi permanente.

Cela pourrait ou pourrait ne pas être vrai. Mais les implications de l’élection présidentielle américaine vont au-delà de l’opportuniste politique – et comportent des leçons pour les gouvernements du monde entier. La rapidité surprenante à laquelle les positions anti-immigration se sont écroulées démontre que ce veulent avant tout les Américains est une approche rationnelle ; ils veulent que leurs dirigeants politiques assument leur responsabilité sur cette question, au lieu de s’en distancer.

Sur la question de l’immigration, les politiciens sont généralement gouvernés par la peur – une tendance qui s’est accentuée depuis le début de la crise financière mondiale. L’émergence d’extrémistes nationalistes dans des pays comme la Grèce et la Finlande a renforcé l’idée que parler de l’immigration, sauf à s’y opposer, est politiquement risqué. Les politiciens parlent donc de l’immigration dans le contexte de la sécurité des frontières ou de l’identité culturelle, ou éludent ce débat.

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