Twenty-five years ago, when Congress debated the Immigration Reform and Control Act, it assured leery Americans that “only” 1 million aliens would receive green cards and be put on the proverbial path to citizenship. That promise turned out to be one of many lies about IRCA. First, the federal government revised the total to 1.6 million, and then to 2.6 million. By the time the INS processed 3.1 million applications, 2.7 million received amnesty.
In 2004, the UK had a similar experience when the Labour Government opened its borders to Poles and other Eastern Europeans. The government told the British that no more than 15,000 would take advantage of the UK’s generosity. But, to the dismay of struggling Brits, 700,000 came. [“It Is Not Racist to Voice Concerns on EU Immigration to the UK,” by Stephen Pollard, Express, December 28, 2013]
Now the UK is bracing for another wave of foreign-born workers that may put precious jobs at risk.
Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007, but had work restrictions imposed on them by other member countries, including the UK. On New Year’s Day, those restrictions will be formally lifted. All Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will have the freedom and legal right to move to and work in the UK. Since Bulgaria and Romania are the EU’s two poorest countries, many British are concerned for their economic future. Seven in 10 British citizens believe that Prime Minister David Cameron should keep the ban on Bulgarian and Romanian working rights in place for at least another five years. [“Britain Must Keep Romanian and Bulgarian Restrictions,” by Steven Swinford and Peter Dominiczak, The Telegraph, December 28, 2013]
Cameron has assured the public that no mass migration is anticipated. But logic doesn’t support him. The immigrants can collect benefits after three months, a huge incentive. The UK is the richest country in the EU; Bulgaria and Romania, the poorest. Just as Mexicans and Central Americans often migrate to the U.S. for opportunity, Bulgarians and Romanians will do the same, and they can do it legally, without fear of adverse consequences.
The anticipated influx of more people will force Cameron to solve the question of where they will live and how they’ll get around. Housing and public transportation is already overcrowded. During the last decade, home overcrowding in London has increased by one-third. Buses are already jammed to capacity. With London’s population forecast to increase by 100,000 annually, more riders will be left at bus stops. [“London’s Buses: the Problem of Overcrowding is Only Going to Get Worse,” by Val Shawcross, The Guardian, October 31, 2013]
With more people certain to arrive in the UK during 2014, population growth will create the all-too-familiar overcrowding, more intense job competition and a lower quality of life for Brits. Sound familiar?