Sunday, March 10, 2019

Wouldn't Brexit mean a more racially diverse immigration stream for Britain?

As much as I am interested in the internal politics of foreign countries, I will never really understand any other country's politics as well as my own.

The one thing I cannot get my head around about Brexiters--or at least the portion of Brexiters who were motivated primarily by xenophobia (you know, the ones who were so spooked by the prospect of "Polish plumbers" using the open borders of the EU to take their job)--is the selectiveness of the xenophobia. I mean, when the UK leaves the EU, it will still be part of the British Commonwealth. While the Commonwealth does not have open borders, it does give certain preferences and migratory benefits to citizens of other Commonwealth countries that want to move to Britain. So by leaving the EU, wouldn't that shift the immigrant stream flowing into Britain away from Eastern Europeans and towards Indians, Pakistanis, East Africans, etc.? Sure the net effect of Brexit would be a decrease in immigration into the UK overall, but wouldn't it also encourage immigration from non-European sources to fill the jobs that won't be taken by Polish plumbers because of Brexit?

Is that really what the British xenophobes want? If so that is pretty different from the racist anti-immigrant sentiment I am familiar with the U.S. Many outspoken anti-immigrant folks here don't seem to have a problem with Eastern Europeans (e.g. the President's current and first wife).