To avoid another Brexit let’s stop treating citizenship as a birthright
Somewhere in the depths of the messy and multi-directional fallout of Brexit, an interesting counter-trend is crystallizing. Even as millions of voters around the world loudly embrace slogans like “Make America Great Again” or “Vote Leave, Take Control,” the notion of fixed national citizenship has probably never faced such a moment of reshaping. What started as a referendum on political membership for the United Kingdom may be the trigger for a radical redefinition of citizenship as a concept in the near future—more like a subscription membership than a birthright.
One immediate casualty of Brexit has been the notion of lifelong citizenship, most easily observed by a dramatic surge in applications for advantageous passports from countries like Ireland—part of the British Isles but not the UK, therefore remaining in the European Union. Facing an unprecedented run on applications forms, the Irish government asked aspiring passport-swappers hoping to take advantage of Irish ancestry to maintain a European foothold to take a breath. Many young British students and professionals who have staked their bet on remaining part of, and taking advantage of, the EU as a political, social, and economic project. For these British citizens, the Brexit vote was devastating.
Likewise, there is a rising apprehension among immigrants that they may also be booted from the UK. This led to an increase in the number of EU citizens applying for British passports in the run up to the June 23rd referendum, helping to fuel a 29% increase in applicants from 2014 to 2015. UK immigration lawyers also reported seeing a rush of new clients in the weeks following the shocking result. Full Story