EU Nationals in the UK Face the Same Dilemma as DREAMERs

If you’re an EU citizen living and working in the UK right now, you probably have a lot of questions regarding your future status in your host country. You’re unsure about your access to healthcare, about your ability to work, and worst of all, whether you’ll be deported back to your country of origin.

Cue the DREAMERs.

The political and legal issues are different: Brexit versus an Obama Administration Executive Order deemed unconstitutional by the Trump Administration. The actors are different, as well. Theresa May, despite her willingness to forge a closer personal relationship with the American President, is not cut from the same cloth as Mr Trump. The negotiations are in a different sphere: The UK Government is negotiating with the European Union whereas Mr Trump has the Republican-controlled Congress to contend with.

But the threats of livelihoods being ripped apart and families, jobs, education and legal residency being taken away are causing anxiety and uncertainty for both EU nationals in the UK and DREAMERs alike.

Whether or not Mrs May and her Government are able to secure an economic and political deal with the EU regarding its future trading and cooperative relationship, the issue of the three million EU nationals residing in the UK needs to be settled, especially if no deal is secured. These people are educators, nurses, doctors, entrepreneurs, and students who came to better their lives and the lives of their families. The UK offers opportunities that, admittedly, other EU countries do not, or at least not in as great a quantity for equal pay.

Why were DREAMERs brought to the US by their families as children? For exactly the same reasons. Opportunities in the US are abound for those looking to improve their quality of life for their loved ones. DREAMERs did not make the conscious choice to come on their own, but since being here, have been educated, work and contribute to society as equally as American citizens do. They are American in every way but on paper.

One might argue that while EU nationals in the UK are there legally, DREAMERs are not. It would be an error to overlook this fact. However, one should revisit the circumstances which brought these young people to America. Can we really fault a six year old who was brought by their parents to a new country with a different language and culture and that was openly hostile to their being there? What were the parents to do? Leave their child behind?

The same level of compassion found for DREAMERs by way of the DREAM Act should be afforded to EU nationals in the UK. The Government should draft legislation, with the input of their EU counterparts, protecting the legal rights of EU citizens in the UK after 29 March 2019, the proposed date of Brexit. If you are an EU national who has been a net contributor to British society since your arrival, however long ago or recently, your rights to reside, work, study and raise a family in your host country should not be infringed. The UK is your home now. Your life is here. You are welcome here, and we’re lucky to have you.

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