What Now for Immigrants Like Me?

24/06/2016 12:36 | Updated 24 June 2016

London this morning is a completely different place than it was last night. Gone are the torrential thunderstorms that swamped the city, and the sun and summer are back out. and of course there's the other thing.

Waking up to an 'out' result has been a genuine surprise to most Londoners who had gone to bed re-assured by the latest polls and the conviction of their neighbours. And we were in for a rude awakening.

As a non-European immigrant who has chosen to make the UK my home for close to ten years, I feel like the locks of my front door have been changed while I was out. I was not allowed to vote, just like in the general election, so it is an even harder pill for me to swallow when the nation outside London voted to leave.

Britain now has to do some soul-searching about how it will choose to treat those looking for a better life here. Will it follow in Australia's footsteps, with their points-based system, and remote island detention centres that imprison immigrants that don't have enough 'points'?

Will Britain wash its hands of the responsibility to the refugees dying to reach its shores, escaping war, famine and abuse? Is the migrant crisis simply Europe's problem now?

And what will happen to people like me and the thousands of others who have invested in our futures here? Will we be turfed out?

The EU Referendum was a blow, but now Britain has the choice about what sort of nation will emerge from the ruins of these divisions. Somehow I don't believe that somehow it will emerge a more generous, welcoming and open nation.

This was not a racist vote or xenophobic vote. But Out campaigners exploited the insecurities of the disenfranchised post-industrial communities left to rot by establishment politicians for decades.
This referendum was won on hate.

I have never felt unwelcome here before. Me and my tax contributions were always made to feel at home. Not so this morning. Suddenly it feels like what I always thought was a quiet minority of anti-immigration xenophobes had risen to the mainstream while I wasn't looking.