Is There Any Positive Influence of Brexit on Control of Illegal Migration in EU?

Is There Any Positive Influence of Brexit on Control of Illegal Migration in EU?


Xingan Li




In recent years, in the name of undertaking responsibility of international humanitarianism, the European countries imported millions of population, partly supplementing the lack of labor force due to ageing and unsustainable reproduction of population.

Whatever the reason has been, illegal migrants caused many new problems in some Member States of European Union in recent years. European politics and society are both divided due to frequent large-scale terrorist attacks, newly-emerged offences committed by migrants, stability, peace and welfare destroyed due to non-local factors, as well as other social problems. Overall dissatisfaction has been accumulated in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and other countries.

The United Kingdom (UK) European Union (EU) membership referendum in 2016 generated a result of 51.9% for and 48.1% against the Brexit (the UK’s withdrawal from the EU). The prospected consequences of withdrawal for the UK the EU were broadly diversified in public opinion, either optimistic or pessimistic. Of course, we admit that there are many aspects that will be affected positively or negatively. In one of the most concerned aspects, control of illegal migration, can the event of Brexit itself trigger a special agenda?

Since early 2000s, globalization blinded many in the political and legal stages. The fast enlargement of the EU encouraged free movement of persons across borders, while the distinction between legal migration, illegal migration and refugee seeking was neglected by a generation of politicians. An unwritten and unspoken policy on illegal migration in EU in recent years can be concluded as:

As long as you come, you will be accepted, regardless of whom you are (workers, refugee-seekers, fugitives, religious extremists, or terrorists), by what way you come (legal or illegal), and what you are going to do here (work, live on welfare, or conspire to destroy the Western society).

Generosity and tolerance of Europeans were of course appreciable by both insiders and outsiders. However, law-abiding migrants found that they were confronted with more obstacles than those who appeared without due documents. Many elite scientists, technicians, and entrepreneurs sadly left because they could not get sufficient support from the society.

Of course, there can be two different discourses on such a phenomenon. One is obvious that, even in highly developed democracies, good jobs will not automatically be available for outsiders but left for insiders. Their appearance would constitute a great threat to local elites, who are striving to have their society within their control. If outside elites take too many opportunities in these societies, it means that the local elites and other original residents will not benefit from the migration. Therefore, those legal migrants were silently, quietly, and secretly excluded from the market of top jobs. Their repeated application would only result in repeated rejection, without any reason given. The other thing is that, the locals would like to gradually climb up to the higher level of the society, leaving the market of low-paid jobs to outsiders. The logic is that a growing quantity of migrants would form the base of the society serving the enhanced status of original residents. Increased number of non-elite migrant will help achieve this prospect. Lowly-educated young labor force is ideal to fill the vacancy and at the same time not compete with local young generation. Seldom of them could in the future enter the elite class. They are destined to provide basic services for local population. Excluding elite outsiders and accepting other outsiders will both contribute to such a goal, through acquiring elevated comparative social status.

In today’s politico-legal point of view, distinction of people may be accused of discrimination, a breach of human rights law. However, influence of illegal migration on safety and security alerted the whole Europe that overlooking the distinction between legal and illegal migrants could really threaten legal rights of all. Politicians’ failure in dealing with critical issues of safety and security, not to mention welfare, gradually makes them unpopular in local politics. Voters from different social classes would rather to stay safe and secure in certainty than to take risk of their life and health being sacrificed in the process of getting elevated comparative social status. Conservative certainty wins over liberal uncertainty.

Confidence in the UK membership in the EU deteriorated due to increased uncertainty in safety, security and welfare, partly because there have been endless queue of migrants coming to the islands. Before bigger disastrous effect, it was the just moment to take an action. The British politics is expected to open an eye to existing social order, closing door to unwanted trespassers. People’s attitude toward new-comers will also be changed little by little, identifying those factors that are benign and that are malicious.

The EU-wide politics has closely followed the situation but was still shocked by the Brexit referendum result. If illegal migration will be neglected continuously, politicians will meet greater challenges and new round of exit in some other countries is also possible to occur. The UK is an example for all.

In order that the EU disintegration will not take place, it is time to take an action to end the influx of illegal migration, in whatever coats. There must be a balance between keeping EU citizens in safety and security and any other things, from a short-term perspective, which is the core of current politics.

The EU cannot be seen as a haven for everybody who is seeking a good life. Those highly-educated persons will find that they will be excluded by the society as a whole, not so welcomed as those lowly-educated persons, who are really expected to fill the blank left by lack of labor force due to inefficiency of reproduction of local population. They can better off than they were in original places, but with limit space of enhancement.