11 July 2019, The Tablet

Migrants bring gifts, not burdens


 

Opposition to immigration is one of the main forces behind political change across Europe, squeezing out the traditional consensus-based centrist parties and driving public opinion towards extremes. And the European Union’s attempts to mitigate the impact of immigration have made little impression. The British need no reminding that resistance to immigration was one of the pillars of the pro-Brexit campaign in 2016, though that opposition has since abated.

But what if migrants were to be viewed as assets rather than as liabilities or a threat? What if their ingenuity and courage in crossing frontiers in search of a new beginning were to be regarded as admirable, bringing new hope to depressed communities like an injection of fresh blood into a tired body? Almost the only public figure who has been brave enough to make this imaginative leap is Pope Francis. He is inspired by an optimistic, faith-centred personal philosophy; and he does not have an electorate to consider.

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