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Del Savio, Lorenzo ORCID: 0000-0001-8234-4541 (2020): Anti-Immigration Backlashes as Constraints. In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 23, No. 1: pp. 201-222
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Migration often causes what I refer to in this paper as ‘anti-immigration backlashes’ in receiving countries. Such reactions have substantial costs in terms of the undermining of national solidarity and the diffusion of political distrust. In short, anti-immigration backlashes can threaten the social and political stability of receiving countries. Do such risks constitute a reason against permissive immigration policies which are otherwise desirable? I argue that a positive answer may depend on a skeptical view based on the alleged constraints that certain political facts - especially facts about human nature - pose on political intervention. This view does not stand conceptual and empirical scrutiny in the case of anti-immigration backlashes, where feasibility comes in degree. Yet focusing on the recalcitrance to change of these facts is practically important when devising action plans. This pragmatic core of the skeptical view yields a gradualist and naturalistic way of thinking about constraints in political theorising about migration, and elsewhere.