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Santa Monica High School

Brexit from a Teen Perspective

While the United States House of Representatives and Senate are working to get a deal on the table to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, across the pond there is another law in flux — Brexit. In June 2016, a narrow majority in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Immigration played a large role in the vote. I hosted a debate with two high school seniors — one from Reno, Nev. and the other from London — to get their take on Brexit and more specifically, immigration. It’s always good to broaden one’s horizon with exposure to an alternative view, but this was a fiery debate with two very opinionated teens.

Lawrence from London was in full support of Brexit and believes that although he is an immigrant himself, countries have the right to enforce their borders for national sovereignty. Bella from Reno felt that the Brexit vote was part of a wave of global xenophobia, that was also responsible for President Donald Trump’s election.

Lawrence argued that it is not xenophobic to want your fellow countrymen to have jobs and do well. It is interesting that Lawrence is Chinese and still going through the immigration process in London. Lawrence used an example of Eastern Romanians coming to London and taking low wage jobs.

This leaves fewer jobs for the low skilled workers in London, according to Lawrence. Because Great Britain is part of the European Union, these Romanians are not illegal immigrants. But the argument is similar to one made in United States about undocumented immigrants.

Bella defends the other side of the argument, stating the case for open borders — to allow more people the opportunities that afforded to Americans, or the British in this case.

As we are very aware here in Los Angeles, there are many hardworking people, including students, who are undocumented. I believe clarifying their status is imperative and is exactly what we hope our nation’s leaders can do.

Overall, the Brexit vote, according to Lawrence, was passed because most citizens want local authorities making the laws for their country, not authorities in a European country hundreds of miles away. Of course, among the laws he is referring to are the immigration laws.

The transition for Great Britain’s exit from the European Union is not set to be completed until 2019. There is currently talk of a second vote to ensure that the citizens really to want to break away from the EU. This vote would be critical in deciding Great Britain’s true feelings about immigration.

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