If there’s one thing the recent Brexit vote shows, it’s that minor signs of civil unrest can quickly escalate into something serious in a very short period of time. Just a year ago, hardly anyone took Briton complaints about the European Union seriously, with government officials chalking up the discontent to ignorance of economic policies, as well as racism and xenophobia in the midst of immigration tensions. At the time, it seemed these murmurings came from the minority.
But as last week’s referendum shows, a narrow majority of Britons voted against EU membership, forcing a departure from the league of nations that account for nearly half of Britain’s export revenue. On June 24, voters opted to leave the EU, despite repeated warnings from economists, allied nations, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who in the wake of the Brexit vote, announced his resignation as PM.
The results were nearly instantaneous. The British Pound crashed to a 30-year low against the U.S. Dollar, and economists forecast darker days ahead as the country moves into a recession. Trade obstacles now in place against fellow European countries have a high likelihood of leading to a less fluid economy, which in turn, may result in higher unemployment, lower tax collections, and quite possibly, extra austerity.
How Immigration Played a Critical Role in Brexit
In essence, the reason behind the Brexit vote boils down to dissatisfaction against the establishment and the status quo. Tired and frustrated after failing to share in Britain’s economic prosperity, voters placed their blame on the nearest targets: immigrants.
Although proponents of Leave point out several reasons against continued EU membership, such as being chained to Brussels and having shared responsibility over weaker EU countries, it was the policy of free movement between EU nations that became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
As immigrant arrivals in the U.K. continue to rise, more voters became dissatisfied with what they saw was a growing immigration problem. The British government recognized that the anger over uncontrolled immigration was no longer limited to older white conservatives, which they could no longer swipe away as being racially motivated. And so, this ultimately lead to a hasty call for a referendum by David Cameron, a move that we now saw backfired.
Europe’s economic and current peacetime situation is in a state of flux, and only time will tell what repercussions Brexit will have on other EU countries, as well as the rest of the world. In the United States, the issue of immigration is as polarizing a topic as ever, with presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump capitalizing over calls for immigration reform to boost his popularity among conservatives.
Learn more about these developments and their effect on future immigration policies by scheduling a consult with the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call us at (512) 215.5225.