Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know

Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their familiesbrexit

The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.

There is no need for EU citizens, or their family members, living in the UK to do anything now. If you would like to find out the latest information you can sign up for email updates.

An ‘implementation period’ will run from when we leave the EU to 31 December 2020. The rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK will not change until 1 January 2021. Until this date, EU citizens will continue to be able to live here and access public funds and services as they do at the moment.

From later this year, EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will be able to start applying for UK immigration status through the new EU Settlement Scheme.

If you would like to find out when the scheme opens you can sign up for email updates.

People who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for status under the scheme.

From 1 July 2021, EU citizens and their family members in the UK must hold or have applied for UK immigration status to be here legally.

You will not need to apply if you’re an Irish citizen, but may choose to do so if you wish. Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are currently being negotiated, but we intend that the settlement scheme will be open to them.

More information is available on what UK nationals travelling and living in Europe need to know.

EU citizens' rights flowchart

Settled status and pre-settled status

A guide to the EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens and their family members is on GOV.UK. Details of the scheme are still subject to approval by Parliament.

Getting status under the scheme means you can continue to live and work in the UK as you can now. It will mean you will continue to be eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions, according to the same rules as now
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements

The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. Your rights will not change until 2021 so there is no need for you to apply for status as soon as the scheme opens.

In most cases, eligibility for settled status will be based on whether you have lived in the UK for 5 years.

If you do not qualify for settled status because you have not lived in the UK for 5 years, you can be granted pre-settled status.

Pre-settled status will allow you to stay here for a further 5 years and you will be free to live and work here and will have the same access to public funds and services as you do now.

You can go on to apply for settled status once you have lived in the UK for 5 years.

Your application can only be refused for a reason covered in the Withdrawal Agreement.

This means that is you make a valid application you will be granted either settled or pre-settled status, unless:

  • you weren’t resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 (see note 1)
  • you’re refused on the grounds of your serious criminal convictions or for security reasons or fraud

Your existing close family members (a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living in the UK or overseas are also eligible for the scheme. You’ll need to apply on behalf of your child.

If you have a child after getting settled status, they will automatically become a British citizen if they’re born in the UK. You will not need to apply for settled status on their behalf.

Full details of the scheme are available in our statement of intent.

See our case studies for examples of how individual EU citizens’ status in the UK will be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.

Note 1: Unless you’re an existing close family member of an EU citizen living in the UK but were living outside the UK when the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020.

Permanent residence status under EU law

Settled status will replace the current permanent residence status after the implementation period ends.

A permanent residence document confirms that you have rights under EU law. In the future, EU law will no longer apply and the migration and status of EU citizens will be subject to UK law.

You will be able to exchange this document for settled status free of charge under the EU Settlement Scheme and we won’t repeat any assessment of residence.

People who already have indefinite leave to remain

If you already have indefinite leave to remain this will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU. However, settled status gives some better rights and if you would like to, you can exchange this for settled status free of charge. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to provide evidence of your family relationship to an EU citizen resident in the UK.

The race to remain: Number of EU citizens applying to stay in North East after Brexit soars

The number of EU citizens applying to stay permanently in the UK has increased soared since theBrexit referendum, it can be revealed.

And it has gone up as much as SEVEN times in some parts of the North East.

Exclusive data obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveals there were 145 requests for permanent residence in Durham in the financial year 2017/18.

That compares with just 20 such requests in 2015/16.

The numbers shot up in the months after the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.

UK Border Force officer
UK Border Force officer (Image: PA)

As long as the UK remains part of the European Union, EU citizens have the right to live and work here with few restrictions.

But that is expected to change once we leave.

The UK Government has promised that EU citizens who are already here will be welcome to stay.

But applying for residency provides an extra guarantee for people from the EU that they won’t lose the right to live in the UK.

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell said: “EU citizens living and working in the North East have faced huge uncertainty about their future in this country since the referendum, despite many of them having been here for several years and this being their home.

MP Catherine McKinnell
MP Catherine McKinnell (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

“I know just how unsettling and distressing this situation has been for so many families, and it’s frankly unacceptable that they should have been treated by our Government in this way.

“‘Clearly, many people will want certainty about their ability to continue to live in this country, to work here, or do business and the fact that they are taking the initiative to try and do this, because Ministers have been unable to provide them with the clarity they need, is unsurprising.”

Other parts of our region have also seen a surge in applications for permanent residence from EU citizens.

Newcastle saw a threefold increase from 90 applications in 2015/16 to 420 in 2016/17 and 245 in 2017/18.

In Northumberland, numbers have risen from just 10 in 2015/16 to 75 in 2016/17 and 45 in 2017/18.

An aerial view of the River Tyne and bridges
An aerial view of the River Tyne and bridges (Image: PA)

Sunderland has seen numbers increase from 20 in 2015/16 to 120 in 2016/17 and 65 in 2017/18.

There were a further 80 applications for permanent residence from EU citizens in Middlesbrough in the financial year 2016/17, which ran from April 2016 to March 2017.

Meanwhile, in Stockton the number of application has increased threefold from 15 in 2015/16 to 50 in 2017/18 with a peak of 65 in 2016/17.

Permanent residence (PR) – also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ – is the acquisition of the right to live and work permanently in the UK.

It is different from UK citizenship because UK citizenship gives you the right to vote, a UK passport and the right to run for public office.

People can apply for PR after living in the UK for five years.

However, PR can be revoked if the person remains outside the UK for two consecutive years or if they commit a serious crime.

UK citizenship can be applied for one year after obtaining PR.

The Government has announced that EU citizens living in the UK will be eligible to stay here permanently.

EU citizens and family members who have been in the UK for five years by the end of 2020 will be able to apply for “settled status”, meaning they are free to go on living and working in the UK indefinitely.

Those who have arrived by December 31, 2020, but do not have five years’ residence, can seek to stay until they have been here five years at which point they can seek settled status.

The scheme also includes citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are not part of the EU but are part of the single market.

Applications will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 for children, and be free for EU nationals who already have residency or indefinite leave to remain.

Diane Abbott said the government’s failure to provide certainty for EU nationals, coupled with Theresa May’s hostile environment policies, were driving vital workers out and “damaging” British society.

The government has been warned of the “disastrous” impact of the Brexit vote on the economy as figures reveal immigration has plummeted while the number of vacancies remains at a record high.

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A “Remain” supporter, her face painted to resemble the EU flag, protests in London on July 2 (AP)

Official statistics show population growth has slowed to its lowest rate in a decade following a 12 per cent drop in the number of immigrants in the year after the referendum.

There was a 43 per cent decrease in the number of people immigrating to look for work over the last year, with the fall in the number of EU jobseekers particularly stark.

Politicians, charities and businesses have issued a warning to ministers about the detrimental effect Brexit is already having on the workforce, urging that the current decline in EU workers cannot be easily reversed and could lead to “very serious problems” for the economy.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the government’s failure to provide certainty for EU nationals, coupled with Theresa May’s hostile environment policies, were driving vital workers out and “damaging” British society and prosperity.

Data published on Thursday, shows there were an estimated 66,040,229 people living in the country at the end of June last year – a 0.6 per cent rise on a year earlier – marking the lowest growth rate since mid-2004.

The Office for National Statistics, which released the figures, said the EU referendum was likely to be one of the key drivers of the changes.

In the 12 months after the Brexit vote, there was a 9 per cent increase in people leaving the UK and a 12 per cent drop in immigrants coming into the country, the figures show.

The dramatic decrease in migration from the EU has sparked warnings over “brain drain” from vital industries.

The Confederation of British industry (CBI) said job vacancies were at a record high and that access to skills and labour was a “huge concern” for businesses in the UK.

“Businesses want to help their EU staff navigate the process to stay in the UK and welcome the recent clarity around future rules. But the significant number of EU migrants leaving is a reminder that the UK must remain an attractive place to work,” a CBI spokesperson said.

“It is also time to confirm that this offer to EU citizens is independent of wider negotiations and that it will not be taken off the table altogether in the event of ‘no deal’.”

Leaders in the health and social care sector have also mounted concerns about its capacity to recruit and retain care staff from other EU countries after Brexit, warning that without the “major contribution” made by foreign workers, more elderly and disabled people will be driven into institutional care settings and away from independent living.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, told The Independent: “Social care is a fundamental public service on which millions of older people and disabled adults depend to live their lives. It is above all a ‘people business’, but it is proving difficult to attract enough high quality staff who want to engage in this demanding, albeit rewarding, work.

Ukrainian workers could replace EU nationals post-Brexit, Gove suggests

The UK environment secretary told MSPs at Holyrood that industries could in future have to “think about looking further afield” when recruiting staff.

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 Michael Gove was said to have been livid about a document outlining plans for a new post-Brexit customs partnership. Photograph: John Linton/PA

Some sectors of the UK economy, such as food production and the hospitality industry, have employed a large number of workers from other European countries – with Mr Gove saying they had “relied on labour from abroad”.

In Scotland in particular soft fruit growers and fish processing firms have employed high numbers of workers from other European nations.

In the run-up to Brexit concerns have been raised about the impact leaving the EU could have on their workforce.

But Mr Gove told MSPs on Holyrood’s Rural Economy Committee he was considering what action the UK government could take to help those companies continue to recruit new workers.

SNP MSP Gail Ross had raised the issue with Mr Gove, telling him businesses in “soft fruit, salmon farming and fish processing sectors are particularly dependent on migrant workers”.

She told him: “Some of these sectors have already seen a fall in people wanting to come and work here from the European Union.”

Mr Gove argued that just as the pattern of where migrant workers came from within the EU had changed, firms might in future have to look further afield for staff.

He said: “Over time the course of labour from different parts of the European Union in our agricultural and food production sectors has changed, a wee while ago it tended to be people from Poland and the Baltic states, now increasingly it is people from Romania and Bulgaria. And that reflects the relative stage of economic development of those countries.

“That’s been the experience not just of the UK but other countries in the west of Europe, who have seen people from eastern Europe drop in particular sectors. So we will all have to think about looking further afield.

“It is not just an issue for the UK but an issue for other countries in western Europe. And that means we will need to think in the future how workers from the [sic] Ukraine or other countries who want to come here can do so in an appropriate fashion.”

For companies that rely on seasonal workers – such as the soft fruit industry – Mr Gove added ministers were considering “what the appropriate means in the future might be for facilitating seasonal workers in order to make sure those businesses work”.

But he insisted Scotland should not be allowed to set its own migration policy.

Ms Ross had asked him if it was “time that Scotland had control over its own immigration in order for us to design a system that suits our needs”.

Mr Gove said: “I think the most important thing we should do is to work collectively and collaboratively as the four countries of the United Kingdom in order to make sure that migration policy works in all our interests because our four economies are so highly integrated, and the challenges that face soft fruit growers in Angus are very similar to the challenges that face soft fruit growers in Surrey or in Kent.

“By working together we can ensure we can continue to be an attractive place to invest in and to work.”

Nigel Farage denies dying hair blonde in honour of Trump: ‘It was just the sunlight’

brexit
Mr Farage, deemed to be one of the architects of the Brexit vote, said he had not used any Sun-in to make his hair any lighter.

We know that Nigel Farage is a fan of Trump, even defending the child separation policy that was later scrapped by telling him to ‘stay tough’.

But is he enough of a fan to dye his hair blonde in imitation of that famous side sweep? That’s what people are suspecting, after he appeared on Sky News looking suspiciously coiffed.

Nigel Farage has denied dying his hair blonde in honour of US president Donald Trump and insisted it was merely a trick of the light.

The former Ukip leader said he had been on holiday in Cornwall and the sun may have made his hair lighter “like it does for everyone”.

Mr Farage, deemed to be one of the architects of the Brexit vote, said he had not used any Sun-in to make his hair any lighter.

“No I don’t use it,” he said, laughing off a question on any possible use of the Sun-In hair lightener.

“It looks like that on one Sky interview – what about all the other pictures of me? It was just the sunlight was on it,” he told The Independent.

“I was the most photographed man in Brussels last night – look at the photos and you can’t see anything”.

“It looks like the transformation op for Nigel Farage to turn into Donald Trump has begun,” another added.

“I think Nigel Farage went to the hairdresser and asked for a Donald Trump,” said someone else.

Mr Farage, who was the first British politician to meet Mr Trump after he won the US presidential election in 2016, is a long-time ally of the billionaire property mogul.

Mr Trump – who asked the Ukip leader to speak at election campaign rallies – broke all diplomatic convention by suggesting the ex-Ukip leader could become the new British ambassador in Washington after winning the presidential election back in November 2016.

The events of the June 2016 UK referendum night shine a fascinating light on the world of politics

It was the week a major news organisation accused Nigel Farage of perhaps the most cynical manipulation of financial markets in history.

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been accused of not understanding the issues surrounding the Irish border during an interview on Brexit

Bloomberg, the international financial news agency, suggested the former UKIP leader might have deliberately misled broadcasters into believing Remain had won the referendum, on the evening of the June 2016 vote. This, Bloomberg alleges, might have been with the intention of keeping the value of the pound artificially high until the true result later sent it plummeting.

The accusation, roundly denied by Farage, is that this gave hedge fund investors, some of whom are associated with him, a window of opportunity to bet against the value of sterling – bets that would pay off spectacularly once the actual result was known.

These are extraordinary claims and, in Farage’s own words, are “wholly untrue and unfair”. Without having access to the evidence Bloomberg claims, it is impossible to say if there are grounds for a case to answer. Certainly, the MEP has been unequivocal in his denials, saying ‘of course’ he did not try to mislead people by conceding defeat in the vote. Speaking to us after allegations were published, he accused Bloomberg of engaging in a groundless conspiracy.

But the events of that night, just over two years ago, certainly shine a fascinating light on the world of finance, polling and politics, and how the three can sometimes entwine. Farage’s alleged role notwithstanding, at the heart of Bloomberg’s report is the suggestion that hedge funds aimed to ‘win big’ from trades on the night of the EU referendum by analysing private exit polls. It won’t have come as a great surprise to those in the industry: on any night likely to move markets as much as the Brexit result, you can be sure hedge funds will be all over it. That is literally their job.

Hedge funds make profit by trying to guess what’s about to happen and how the markets will respond to it, and because there are billions in profit (or loss) at stake, they will take any edge they can to help inform their decisions.

This is essentially what hedge funds are for: by giving lots of bright analysts reasons to try to find the state of countries, companies, and debt, they are supposed to help markets accurately reflect information – as well, of course, as making money for their investors.

The industry can be famously hard-edged: one of the main driving factors of 1992’s Black Wednesday – when Britain crashed out of Europe’s exchange rate mechanism – was George Soros’ hedge fund making a huge bet against the country in the expectation the government would be unable to hold its position against his fund’s trading position. In this instance, the fund was not so much predicting an event as helping to make it happen.

Compared with Black Wednesday – a hedge fund taking on a government in a way that forced it to drop one of its key foreign policy positions – hedge funds spending a few hundred thousand pounds (or even a million) to commission some private polling to try to get insight on the result of the Brexit referendum is small beer. We might feel uncomfortable that they have access to so much higher-quality information than we do, but that happens every day. It’s just that this time, we found out.

For the hedge funds, Brexit might have been a big night at the office, but it was essentially their business as usual. That’s not true of the politicians, though, and this is where the Bloomberg story raised intriguing questions.

As voting ended on the evening of June 23, 2016, Farage seemed to concede the result of the referendum, telling reporters he had information from “friends in the city” suggesting that the country had opted to Remain – information which matched YouGov’s public poll, released at around the same time, and some private hedge fund polls.

However, the Bloomberg story questions the possibility that Farage had also been told of polling suggesting Leave had in fact edged it, or at the minimum that it was too close to call. The publisher states that in an interview, Farage confirmed he was aware of a poll by Survation, which correctly predicted a Leave result, before making his public statements.

Farage is himself a former trader, and his apparent public concession – especially backed up with the statement that he had received information from the City – was always likely to lead to an increase in the pound on a major scale. On a regular day, a statement by Farage would be unlikely to move the pound much, if at all. But this was not a normal day, or night.

The Bloomberg investigation questions whether Farage, believing that Leave may have won, deliberately claimed otherwise to help maximise the profits that his friends in the City would make. The pound would climb for a few hours (as it did), until the first results came in and showed Leave was likely to win, which would then prompt it to plummet.

Farage has firmly denied any such suggestion, telling Bloomberg that his concessions were not aimed at moving the markets for anyone, and giving a statement to MailOnline that he did not try to mislead people by conceding defeat. “There were many conflicting opinions and supposed polls that night,” he told the website. “My frame of mind was negative on balance until [the] Sunderland [vote was announced, and pointed towards a Leave victory].”

However, what might be particularly shocking is that even if Farage had knowingly and deliberately done that, there’s very little chance that it would actually be illegal.

Most of us have heard of the term ‘insider trading’, and the hypothesis outlined here might feel like it should be covered by that term. However, ‘insider trading’ is actually much more specific than that: it covers people working for publicly-traded companies, who are obliged to release their financial information to the public and all investors at the same time. If someone knows a company’s results will be terrible the next day and either sells or shorts the stocks, that’s insider trading.

For currency markets, it’s different – no-one knows exactly what is going to happen to them, so no-one is, strictly speaking, an insider trader. Even buying up the most expensive and accurate polling model known to modern political science is not the same as knowing the result in advance: we have all learned in quite some detail just how wrong polls can be in recent years.

There’s another law the hedge funds’ practice might cut across, but it’s a bit of an ambiguous one: it is not allowable in the UK to share information on how people might have voted while the polls are open with ‘any section of the public’. This is, incidentally, why no-one can publish the results of an exit poll until the voting ends at 10pm.

In theory, we might wonder whether commissioning a private poll and sharing it with a handful of traders at a hedge fund would amount to a breach of that law – surely a few traders amounts to a ‘section of the public’. The difficulty would be that in that case, the very act of trying to prepare a poll for 10pm – which needs sharing with various researchers – would likely fall foul of the law. Given it’s never been tested, it leaves us in a mess.

Farage is not the only politician with a previous link to the financial sector, nor the only one who has been accused of profiting from his own political positions. The influential Conservative backbencher – and arch-Brexiteer – Jacob Rees-Mogg is a former fund manager and is still an investing partner in one.

No-one has offered any evidence either Farage or Rees-Mogg, nor any other politician, has deliberately used their public position in this way to profit themselves or their friends, but the very possibility of it undermines public trust in politics, whether legal or otherwise. Just because a practice is legal doesn’t mean it’s right, or even acceptable.

The possibility for abuse inherent in this system is yet another way in which the UK electoral laws – and the laws governing the conduct of politicians – as they stand are not fit for purpose. We should be able to have faith that our elections are carried out freely, fairly, and without interference. We should be able to have faith that our politicians are acting on behalf of their constituents, or their own closely-held beliefs, rather than financial motives. We should have faith that hedge funds are making their profit from a playing field that, while viciously competitive, is fair.

Our current system of rules are not inspiring confidence in any of those things. It’s far past time to change them.

Republicans move to dump Trump in 2020

With rising tension over Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy, PAUL CONNEW says the Republicans are moving to drop the president for the next election.

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GOP plans ditching Trump in 2020 Polls
Donald Trump once boasted to me he’d staged more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. Indeed The Donald came as close to worshipping Ol’ Blue Eyes as he did anyone other than himself. On the record, he has previously compared himself to Sinatra: “Like me, he lost focus, he took his eye off the ball and made some bad decisions.” No arguments there.

It was to the strains of Sinatra’s My Way (the Paul Anka-penned anthem to suitably narcissistic schmaltz) that Trump chose to waltz First Lady Melania around the dance floor at his inauguration ball. The song also apparently features heavily as a musical backdrop for the team working high in New York’s Trump Tower, charged with ensuring that The Donald can continue doing it ‘his way’ as president beyond 2020. Not for them any thought of the end being near, nor facing the final curtain.

Last year I reported in these pages how the Trump Tower team were working on a secret ‘Plan B’, a contingency in which Trump could run in 2020 as a populist independent – rather than a Republican candidate – should relations sour irreparably with the GOP establishment and he fail to secure the party’s presidential nomination.

Today, against the backdrop of rising GOP tension over his zero tolerance immigration policy bombast, the continued fallout from child migrant scandal and growing opposition to his trade tariff strategy, the Committee for the Re-Election of President Trump is quietly stepping up work on that fallback option. After all, as a veteran GOP campaign strategist put it to me: “Normally the idea of opposing a sitting president planning to run for re-election would be a no-no. But I can tell you that there are at least three senior Republican figures now seriously considering running against Trump for the 2020 nomination.”

Trump has always had his eyes on a second term. Indeed, he was the first president in history to file the paperwork for his re-election bid with federal election authorities on the day he was inaugurated. Whether he runs as a Republican or not is of secondary significance.

A disillusioned former senior campaign figure and longtime Trump associate told me: “Trump is obsessed with the idea that he cannot go down in history as a one-term president or wind up like his own political hero, Richard Nixon, resigning from office to escape being impeached. Hence the endless Twitter tirades against Mueller, the FBI, the Justice Department, John McCain and anyone inside or outside the GOP he sees as a critic or a threat.

“In reality, Donald isn’t so much a Republican at all. He’s the opportunist member of a special party… the Trump party. Trumpism, a personal ego trip, is what drives him, not Republican party politics, principles or philosophy… He once before came close to running for the presidency as an independent and that contingency plan has always been on the cards because of the possibility he and the GOP establishment could eventually fall out badly.”

Whether he ends up running as a Republican or independent, Trump’s re-election slogan at least hints at some continuity with the last campaign.. Keep American Great Again. There are other signs of continuity too. The strategy is being managed by social media expert Brad Parscale, who was brought in by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign guru Steve Bannon to run the digital operations during the 2016 presidential push.

Parscale, who worked closely with Facebook, Twitter and Google to boost Trump’s online impact, was described as “our secret weapon” by Kushner. While Parscale himself told CBS TV shortly after the shock election victory, “Donald Trump won, but I think Facebook was the method”.

It’s worth noting, as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to rattle both Trump and the GOP establishment, that Parscale, Kushner and Bannon were instrumental in bringing Cambridge Analytica aboard during the 2016 campaign. (Bannon was a former senior Cambridge Analytica executive and close confidant of its controversial, ultra-conservative billionaire owner Robert Mercer). And, while Cambridge Analytica itself may have closed down in the wake of the Facebook/Russian Connection maelstrom, several former CA operatives have now been recruited by Parscale to the Trump 2020 team.

At the end of last year, the Trump re-election campaign kitty reportedly held at least $22 million in cash, and that figure is believed to be substantially higher now. By contrast with previous Republican presidents running for re-election, a disproportionately large percentage of mass rally fundraising goes into Trump’s personal re-election kitty and not into GOP campaign funding generally.

Currently the Trump/GOP fallout is spreading on several fronts on an unprecedented scale, outstripping even the GOP establishment alarm that greeted his infamous defence of the Neo-Nazi white supremacists involved in the Charlottesville rally bloodshed.

Among Capitol Hill Republicans (apart from hardcore Trump loyalists) alarm bells are ringing over the president’s ramped-up ‘zero tolerance’ rhetoric against migrants and the growing realisation that his so-called climbdown over separating children from parents was less than sincere and is destined to be dangerously ineffective, with the prospect of military bases being turned into long-standing mass prison camps in the glare of media focus. Then there is the grotesque reality of authorities struggling to find a way to reunite children being held whose parents have already been expelled without any knowledge of their current location. Trump’s tweets about desperate people ‘invading’ or ‘infesting’ America, and his contempt for both the constitution and legal system, are also prompting alarm among Republicans.

Shortly before the child migrant scandal erupted, opinion polls gave Trump a 90% approval rating among party members, the highest for a GOP president since George Bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The GOP hierarchy and campaign strategists will now wait anxiously on the first detailed polls to emerge in the aftermath. Already, snap polls have suggested more than 60% of Americans opposed Trump’s handling of the issue, while a similar figure favoured legal migration over Trump’s tougher line on immigration generally. Paradoxically, polls also suggest that immigration will be a key issue in both the November mid-terms and the 2020 presidential campaign, giving succour to Trump’s defiant claim to the GOP leadership that it is the key to victory, not defeat, in November and beyond.

It also poses a genuine headache for Democrat campaign strategists, with the party’s position on immigration almost as fudged as Jeremy Corbyn’s on Brexit.

But GOP concern is running well beyond migration, as can be seen by the hugely-influential billionaire Koch brothers’ conservative political network launching an aggressive ‘multi-year, multimillion-dollar’ campaign against the tariffs and trade restrictions being pursued by the Trump administration. Their fears are shared by many across the US business community – and among big bucks GOP donors – who worry that the president will trigger a disastrous global trade war.

The announcement by Harley-Davidson that it is switching some production overseas to counter EU penalties imposed in response to Trump’s tariffs sent a chill down the spines of globalist GOP politicians and donors.

Then there is the not inconsiderable matter of Vladimir Putin. With the Mueller investigation continuing, several senior GOP figures on Capitol Hill, together with some members of Trump’s White House team, are trying to dissuade the president from going ahead with his off-the-cuff plan to meet the Russian leader following next month’s NATO summit and his controversial UK trip. As they have discovered many times before, though, the president is not easily dissuaded.

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