The European Union was a big idea. People could move to any country in Europe. There were to be no borders and no passports. Moving to Great Britain became popular.
Many migrants came from Poland. And many moved to a town in Great Britain called Boston. There, most worked in farm industries. They also opened stores and pubs.
They felt welcome. So more came. As their numbers grew, resentment of them grew. Three out of four of the Boston voters voted to leave the European Union. It was a larger majority than anywhere else.
People in the town started to turn on the Polish people. Insulting them in stores and leaving notes on their cars saying, “Did you pack your bags yet?” The atmosphere in the town turned ugly.
The Poles feel threatened. Many are talking about or planning to leave. They do not know if new rules will allow them to stay in Great Britain if they want to stay.
It may be that the sheer numbers of new residents was the reason for the hatred.
It is a reminder of how tribal the world is. Sunni and Shia Muslims oppose each other. Irish Catholics and Protestants fought each other for years. The battle in the Balkans was ethnic and religious.
It does not take much for resentment, bigotry and hostility to come out.
A Polish family’s home in Plymouth, Great Britain was set on fire. The family got a letter that read, “Go back to your country.” The family believed it would be the next target.
The attacks have shaken many Britons. They say they are proud of living in a tolerant society.
Life is better for immigrants in the United States. The U.S. remains a country of immigrants. The undocumented are a different challenge.
The ‘Brexit’ vote was to leave the European Union. It created many more questions than answers for migrants.
Source: The New York Times July 9, 2016