Brexit, immigration and the Irish border

Brian Girvin's picture

H-Nationalism is pleased to publish a further contribution to its ongoing 'Brexit, Nationalism and the Future of Europe' forum, which discusses the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and its impact on nationalism and the future of Europe in a multidisciplinary perspective. Please feel welcome to add to the discussion by posting a reply. Today's contribution is by Chris Gilligan of the University of the West of Scotland, who provides a link to his article on ‘Brexit, the Irish border and human freedom’.

The issue of immigration was one of the hot topics in the run up to the Referendum on the UK and the EU. Nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment was widely credited with helping to securing the Leave vote. After the Referendum the issue faded from the headlines. Once the Brexit negotiations got seriously underway the issue of the Irish border and the backstop became a hot topic. The issue of the border, however, has focused on trade, not on immigration. There is a complacent assumption that the Common Travel Area, (free movement), arrangement that has been in place since the 1920s means that cross-border movement of people is not an issue on the island of Ireland. This assumption is completely false.

Chris Gilligan (UWS) has written a lengthy article outlining the contentious immigration controls that are currently in place, the changes that have already taken place in light of the Brexit vote, and some of the likely future directions of immigration controls in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. You can view the article at: