The global migration wave of the 21st century has little precedent. In much of North America, Europe and Oceania, the share of the population that is foreign-born is at or near its highest level on record.

In the United States, that share is approaching the previous high of 15 percent, reached in 1890. In some other countries, immigration increases have been even steeper in the last two decades:

This scale of immigration tends to be unpopular with residents of the destination countries. Illegal immigration is particularly unpopular because it fosters a sense that a country’s laws don’t matter. But large amounts of legal immigration also bother many voters. Low-income and blue-collar workers often worry that their wages will decline because employers suddenly have a larger, cheaper labor pool from which to hire.

As Tom Fairless, a Wall Street Journal reporter, wrote a few days ago:

Record immigration to rich countries is sparking more backlash around the world, boosting populist parties and pressuring governments to tighten policies to curb migration. …

The backlash repeats a long cycle in immigration policy, experts say. Businesses are constantly lobbying for more liberal immigration laws because this reduces their labor costs and boosts profits. They draw support from pro-business politicians on the right and pro-integration leaders on the left, leading to immigration policies that are more liberal than the average voter wants.

The political left in both Europe and the United States struggled to devise a response to these developments. Instead, many progressives have dismissed concerns about immigration as merely a reflection of bigotry that must be overcome. And opposition to immigration is often infused with racism: Right-wing leaders like Marine Le Pen in France traffic in hateful stereotypes about immigrants. Some, like Donald Trump, tell outright lies.

But favoring lower levels of immigration is not inherently bigoted or always right-wing. The most prosperous large countries in Africa, Asia and South America tend to have much smaller foreign-born portions of their population. Japan and South Korea make it particularly difficult for foreigners to enter.

In earlier eras, the political left in the United States included many figures who worried about the effects of large-scale immigration. Both labor leaders and civil rights leaders, for example, argued for moderate levels of immigration to protect the interests of vulnerable workers.

“There’s a reason why Wall Street and all of corporate America likes immigration reform, and it’s not, I think, that they sleep at night worrying about undocumented workers in this country,” Bernie Sanders said in 2015. “What I think they interested in the fact that we’re seeing a process by which we can bring low wages at all levels into this country to drive down wages for Americans, and I strongly disagree with that.”

Today, however, many progressives are uncomfortable with any immigration-skeptic argument. They have become passionate advocates of more migration and global integration, arguing – correctly – that immigrants usually benefit by moving from a low-wage country to a higher-wage country. But immigration is not a free lunch any more than free trade. It also has costs, including its burden on social services, as some local leaders, such as Mayor Eric Adams of New York and officials in South Texas, have recently emphasized.

With today’s left-wing and centrist parties largely accepting high levels of immigration, right-wing parties have become attractive to many voters who favor less immigration. The issue fueled the growth of far-right nationalist parties in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland and elsewhere, as Jason Horowitz of The Times explained in a recent article. Jason focuses on Spain, another country where the anti-immigration party is growing.

The latest case study is the Netherlands. The government coalition there collapsed on Friday after centrist parties refused to accept part of the conservative prime minister’s plan to reduce migration. Rather than change his plan, the prime minister, Mark Rutte, dissolved the government, setting up an election this fall.

Rutte, in particular, is not a member of the extreme right. He is a leading Dutch conservative who has tried to marginalize the country’s extremist anti-immigrant party. However, he believed that reducing immigration was “a matter of political survival” for his party, my colleagues Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Claire Moses reported.

Although the details are different, President Biden has also recently taken steps to reduce unauthorized immigration. So far, his new policy — which includes both more border enforcement and expanding legal avenues to apply for entry — appears to have reduced the growth of migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. Still, the issue clearly divides Biden’s party. Many liberal Democrats criticized his policy as heartless and said the United States should accept more migrants, not fewer.

Democrats often like to point out the many ways Republicans are out of step with public opinion, including on abortion bans, the minimum wage, taxes on the wealthy and background checks for gun owners. Immigration cuts the other way, surveys show. It is an issue on which much of the Democratic Party, like the political left in Europe, is in a different place than many voters.

Since Israel’s first invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, the nation felt emboldened in its apartheid policies, Tareq Baconi argues

“We don’t tell parents like parents,” Governor Spencer Cox of Utah said in an interview with Jane Coaston on children’s access to social networks. “The law empowers parents.”

Here is a column from David French on Christian political activism.

Release the navel: More men are baring their bellies in crops.

i don’t: Marriage rates in China are at a record low. Young people explain why.

Monster Marlin: They caught the fish, but the $3.5 million prize was gone.

Silence: Simon and Garfunkel were right. It really is a sound.

Lives Lived: Benno C. Schmidt Jr. was a constitutional law scholar who became one of the country’s leading education executives, bringing reforms to Yale. He died at 81 years old.

Northwest: Football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired after an investigation into harassment allegations. Here is a timeline of the scandal.

Provider outlet: Shohei Ohtani, the baseball superstar, reiterated that he is tired of losing, even during the best season of his career. A trade could be coming soon.

Rising star: Kim English runs a basketball program in the Big East – and he is only 34 years old.

Hollywood strike: Writers in New York are picketing the set of “American Horror Story,” one of the few TV shows to continue production through the writers’ strike. Most shows stopped, in part because well-meaning producers felt that the changes they regularly made during filming were a form of scripting. “Writing doesn’t stop with the script,” Sarah Montana, screenwriter, told The Times.

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  • Instead of using Craigslist, some Americans are calling their local radio stations to buy and sell things.

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