Nativism (politics)

Nativism is the political policy of promoting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants,[1] including by supporting immigration-restriction measures.[2]

In scholarly studies "nativism" is a standard technical term. Those who hold this political view, however, do not typically accept the label. Oezguer Dindar wrote, "[N]ativists ... do not consider themselves [to be] nativists. For them it is a negative term and they rather consider themselves as 'Patriots'".[3]

Arguments presented for immigration restriction

According to Joel S. Fetzer, opposition to immigration commonly arises in many countries because of issues of national, cultural, and religious identity. The phenomenon has been studied especially in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as in continental Europe. Thus nativism has become a general term for opposition to immigration based on fears that immigrants will "distort or spoil" existing cultural values.[4] In situations where immigrants greatly outnumber the original inhabitants,[5] nativist movements seek to prevent cultural change. Similar to the white nationalist belief of The Great Replacement, nativists fear immigrants could eventually "swamp" native populations due to a lower birth rate among natives.[citation needed]

Contemporary opponents of immigration often scapegoat immigrants for many of the same problems that Adolf Hitler blamed on Jewish people, including unemployment, crime, harm to the environment, housing shortages, and overwhelming social services such as hospitals, police.

Immigration restrictionist sentiment is typically justified with one or more of the following arguments against immigrants:[6]

  • Economic
    • Employment: Immigrants acquire jobs that would have otherwise been available to native citizens, limiting native employment; they also create a surplus of labor that lowers wages.
    • Government expense: Immigrants do not pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the services they require.[7]
    • Welfare: Immigrants make heavy use of the social welfare systems.
    • Housing: Immigrants reduce vacancies, causing rent increases.
  • Cultural
    • Language: Immigrants isolate themselves in their own communities and refuse to learn the local language.
    • Culture: Immigrants will outnumber the native population and replace its culture with theirs.
    • Patriotism: Immigrants damage a nation's sense of community based on ethnicity and nationality.
  • Environmental
    • Environment: Immigrants increase the consumption of scarce resources, if the move to a country that pollutes more from one that pollutes less.
    • Overpopulation: Immigration contributes to overpopulation.