Posted on August 14, 2023

Polish Government Plans Referendum Asking If Voters Want ‘Thousands of Illegal Immigrants’

Vanessa Gera, Associated Press, August 13, 2023

Poland’s ruling party wants to ask voters in a referendum whether they support accepting “thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa” as part of a European Union relocation plan, the prime minister said Sunday, as his conservative party seeks to hold onto power in an October parliamentary election.

Mateusz Morawiecki announced the referendum question in a new video published on social media. It indicated that his party, Law and Justice, is seeking to use migration in its election campaign, a tactic that helped it take power in 2015.

Poland currently hosts more than a million Ukrainian refugees, who are primarily white and Christian, but officials have long made clear that they consider Muslims and others from different cultures to be a threat to the nation’s cultural identity and security.

EU interior ministers in June endorsed a plan to share out responsibility for migrants entering Europe without authorization, the root of one of the bloc’s longest-running political crises.

The Polish government wants to hold the referendum alongside the parliamentary election, scheduled for Oct. 15. Morawiecki said that the question would say: “Do you support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa under the forced relocation mechanism imposed by the European bureaucracy?”

The video announcing the question includes scenes of burning cars and other street violence in Western Europe. A Black man licks a huge knife in apparent anticipation of committing a crime. Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski then says: “Do you want this to happen in Poland as well? Do you want to cease being masters of your own country?”