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Who’s Really Threatening Europe?

Opponents of immigration into the EU typically make one or more of four arguments: immigrants are weakening Christian values, undermining liberal democratic institutions, bringing terrorism, and burdening public budgets. But none of these claims withstands scrutiny.

YAOUNDÉ – Opponents of immigration into the EU typically make one or more of four arguments: immigrants are weakening Christian values, undermining liberal democratic institutions, bringing terrorism, and burdening public budgets. If these claims were true, the EU would be justified – if not obliged – to close its borders. In fact, none of them withstands scrutiny.

Begin with the loss of Christian cultural values, which has lately received a lot of attention in scholarly, political, and policy circles. Immigration opponents often point to the precipitous drop in the share of Europe’s population that identifies as Christian – from 66.3% in the early twentieth century to 25.9% in 2010which they blame partly on the combination of high immigration from Muslim-majority countries and declining birth rates among native Europeans.

But anti-immigration groups have offered no significant empirical evidence to support this claim. In fact, when one actually looks at the data, the holes in their argument quickly become apparent.

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