How Progressives Can Win the Immigration Debate: Lessons from Hungary

The effective progressive response to the hate campaigns against migrants.

My guest article on Political Critique,  a pan-European online magazine for democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation-state.

Progressives are losing

The election of Trump and Brexit revealed that progressives are losing the debate over immigration worldwide. To effectively respond to anti-immigrant invective, progressives should go beyond emphasising the economic benefits of immigration. In the anti-immigrant narrative, immigration itself is not the key problem. Hungary is a good case in point.

The free movement of hate-campaigns

In the last weeks of his campaign, Orban and his party poured its new posters onto the streets of Budapest. The posters depicted marching migrants with an enormous ‘Stop’ sign stamped on the left-hand side. These posters were not only racist, they were also stolen. Fidesz recycled the very same photo that Nigel Farage had used in the Brexit campaign two years ago. During the campaign, British tourists traveling to Budapest could also travel back in time.

The case of this reused British photo in Hungary shows that while party leaders in different countries want to strengthen their borders in order to keep migrants away – either by erecting a fence in Hungary, by building wall in the US, or by leaving the EU – the negative campaign against immigration can easily cross borders. And it falls on fertile grounds in each country. Even though the anti-migrant messages of these different campaigns are very similar, when it comes to statistics about immigrant groups in each nation, Hungary is an outlier.

This is only an intro. Read the whole article on Political Critique. 

Also, read my personal experience with being an alien in the US here, and here

(Alien pic by Lewis Frances on

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