In EU and US, Virulent Immigration Debate Strains Solidarity

The United States and the European Union project themselves as models for the world when it comes to democracy and human rights. Yet a common issue — migration — is bitterly dividing each of them, testing whether they can maintain solidarity amid virulent debate over border controls, deportations and national values.

In the 28-nation EU, some countries have sought to block the unprecedented flow of migrants fleeing war or poverty in the Middle East and Africa, while Germany — the EU’s powerhouse — is bracing to handle 800,000 migrants this year and wants other nations to step up as well.

In the U.S., the influx of immigrants entering illegally has eased recently, but the political rhetoric is red-hot. Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, is calling for mass deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission, and some of his rivals have joined in proposing to stop granting citizenship to children born to such immigrants and to wall off the U.S.-Mexico border.

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