This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Xenophobia Wins in the Brexit Vote

The vote in the UK to leave the EU was inspired by a variety of things, but none so central as the issue of gaining control over immigration. Unlike in the US, where Donald Trump has railed against undocumented migrants (especially from Mexico), the problem in the UK is that as more countries were added to the EU over the years, their citizens gained the right to work anywhere in the EU, including in the UK. In the abstract this labor mobility is a good thing economically. But migrants aren't always like the "natives," and that was a problem--as it is all over the planet. As the Associated Press (via the San Diego Union Tribune) reported after yesterday's vote:
After winning a majority in Parliament in the last election, Cameron negotiated a package of reforms that he said would protect Britain's sovereignty and prevent EU migrants from moving to the U.K. to claim generous public benefits.
Critics charged that those reforms were hollow, leaving Britain at the mercy of bureaucrats in Brussels and doing nothing to stem the tide of European immigrants who have come to the U.K. since the EU expanded eastward in 2004. The "leave" campaign accuses the immigrants of taxing Britain's housing market, public services and employment rolls.
Those concerns were magnified by the refugee crisis of the past year that saw more than 1 million people from the Middle East and Africa flood into the EU as the continent's leaders struggled to come up with a unified response.
As I noted a few days ago, leaving the EU is going to raise a host of new migrant-related problems in the UK, and so the consequences of this round of xenophobia will take a while to play out. 

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