Roundtable: Asylum Policy and the Rise of the Right II
(Population, Migration and Refugees)

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Serenity (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Ruth Ellen Wasem, LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas
Moderators:  Donald M. Kerwin, Center for Migration Studies, Executive Director
Speakers:  Ruth Ellen Wasem, LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas, Barbara Laubenthal, Department of Germanic Studies, the University of Texas at Austin, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, Centre d’Etudes et de recherches internationales (CERI) and Georg Menz, Goldsmiths' College

As the much of the world struggles to cope with a massive refugee crisis, right-wing political figures in the European Union and the United States are stoking the electorate with anti-immigrant rhetoric. This panel provides comparative perspectives from Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States on the impact of right-wing politics on migration governance. A core issue is whether evidence-based policy analysis remains viable on such a highly-charged policy domain. Key questions include: What asylum policies are actually generous and has such generosity sparked a genuine backlash among the citizenry? What is the impact of international terrorism on national asylum policies, and how do right-wing populist actors connect the issue to anti-Muslim feelings? Do asylum seekers pose serious national security threats to the receiving countries, or are screening policies largely effective? Are right-wing politicians exaggerating the threats posed by asylum seekers to mobilize their base, or are they responding to nascent fears of the citizenry? To what extent do anti-immigrant rhetoric and its crippling of humanitarian migration policies undermine the stability of the sending and receiving nations? What are possible policy options to move forward in the protection of refugees in the face of right-wing assaults on asylum policy? "New right-wing populism in Germany – a danger for democracy?" by Barbara Laubenthal addresses the reasons for the recent rise of the party Alternative für Deutschland in Germany. The paper aims at tracing the reasons for the AfD’s recent success, asking in particular how the AfD frames the topic of immigration. Overall, the paper will analyze the AfD’s impact on the party system of the Federal Republic of Germany and on public debates on human rights and democratic values. "More than a Wall: Analyzing the Trump Reversal of U.S. Refugee Policy," by Ruth Ellen Wasem explores whether evidence-based policy analysis remains viable on such a highly-charged policy domain. It analyzes refugee and asylum admissions to the United States over the past 30 years, links asylum trends with data on terrorist threats to the United States and factors in changes to national security screening procedures for refugees/asylees. It explores how the world refugee crisis may have sparked the success of the political right and how the rise of the political right may alter migration governance. "Migration and Asylum Crisis," by Dr. Catherine Wihtol de Wenden studies the acute politicization of migration and refugee issues in the European context, exploring the relationship between the reality of new flows and policy decision. It presents a crisis constructed from humanitarian responses to border security approaches by political parties, polls, and some national European countries. The construction of the crisis consist in a redefinition of the conditions of reception, altering migration governance to maximize the needs of cohesion of each country to refuse asylum seekers in a context of austerity and political turmoil.