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The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society (guest post by Hasko Von Kriegstein)

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The following is a guest post* by Hasko Von Kriegstein, an assistant professor in the Department of Law & Business at Ryerson University, regarding matters related to Brexit. [Maryam Hashemi, “Motherships”] The Impossibility of Immigrants Refusing to Integrate into British Society by Hasko Von Kriegstein Brexit continues to make international headlines. The desire to leave the EU appears to be, in large part, driven by a desire to limit immigration. This brings many questions about immigration to the forefront, among them the question whether immigrants have a duty to integrate into the receiving society. Many in Britain seem to think that there is. In 2016, for example, then communities secretary Sajid Javid stated: “for too long, too many people in this country have been living parallel lives, refusing to integrate failing to embrace the shared values that make Britain great.” 2.5 years later, former prime minister Tony Blair concurred: “ [Government] has to be a passionate advocate and, where necessary, an enforcer of the duty to integrate while protecting the proper space for diversity. Integration is not a choice; it is a necessity.” I do not hold strong views, one way or the other, on the question whether there is a duty to integrate. What I argue here is that, in the case of Britain, the question is moot. That is because it is impossible to refuse to integrate into British society. Consider the following argument. (1)   Any immigrant into British society either does, or does not, make an effort to adopt the local lifestyle. (2)   An immigrant who makes an active effort to adopt the local lifestyle is not refusing to integrate. (3)   An immigrant who adopts an essential characteristic of the receiving society is not refusing to integrate. (4)   Moving to a foreign country without making any effort to adopt the local lifestyle is an essential British characteristic. (5)   An immigrant to Britain who makes no effort to adopt the local lifestyle. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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