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sufi
16-12-2004, 05:25 PM
As another Home Secretary bites the dust...

It amazes me that (im)Migration comes up at the top of the list of issues of concern to the british populace.
it astounds me that our society allows the issue to be a political football, the reactive way that the govt addresses and re-addresses the issue, suggests to me that politicians are utterly failing to deal with it in a serious way.
it is, as far as i know, the fastest-moving branch of UK legislation, the last decade has seen no less than 3 Acts, each of which has been thru the 'democratic' process which involves a constant programme of proposals, challenges, defeats resulting in a non-stop rollercoaster of crap laws, that IMHO marginalise parts of society that are already among the most excluded.

This is definitely NOT only a UK issue. As far as I know, the states are far more open about admitting the extent to which their economy relies on 'irregular' migrant labor - i.e. a source of untaxed, H&S-free, un-unionised, unregulated workers with zero employment rights - an optimal workforce. Cynically i would say that the whole reason that many countries keep their immigration system in a state of punitive shambles is to provide this exploitable labor force.

I've often seen the immigration 'debate' characterised as a choice between zero controls and zero immigration, this is obviously bolix, however the current chaotic state of things leaves the debate right open for xenophobes, maybe this is what the Home Office intends...

There are many issues all muddled up together:
- Refugees and Asylum
- Racism and Xenophobia
- Schengen and Fortress Europe
- Multiculturalism vs the melting pot - Integration vs Assimilation
- Brain-drain & remittances
- Malthus, population growth and stagnation
- The Media
and many, many more!

SO my question is...
how can we have an immigration system that is fair and effective???
(jus to declare an interest - these are issues that i'm very familiar with, so i won't say much more... i find that sometimes i can be blinkered to fresh ideas, so tell me stuff...surprise me please)

paul
16-12-2004, 11:09 PM
Is there a problem at all? All the phone in programmes have people going on about asylum seekers and the like, but how exactly does it affect them? The UK seems to be completely obsessed with the idea that people might be coming here to get 50 a week off the dole! And for the most part people coming here want to work - so what's the problem? Immigration is not a problem.

MBM
17-12-2004, 12:04 AM
I am an immigrant (pom living in oz). And the situation in Australia is just as bad as it is in Britain. Howard plays to the xenophobic fears of the white majority. And these fears are mix of legitimate concerns re:resources (e.g. water) but mostly pure racism.

Even so, 20% of Australian citizens are not born here - and they're crying out for qualified nurses, tradesmen - and in my case, bullshitters.

I don't know what'll happen. All very worrying...

grimly fiendish
17-12-2004, 12:15 PM
Is there a problem at all? All the phone in programmes have people going on about asylum seekers and the like, but how exactly does it affect them? The UK seems to be completely obsessed with the idea that people might be coming here to get 50 a week off the dole! And for the most part people coming here want to work - so what's the problem? Immigration is not a problem.

there shouldn't be a problem at all, and personally i'm in favour of as much openness between borders as is practical. here in scotland we've got an ageing workforce and too few children; and, as those of you who read my k-punk on kidzzz posts will know, i ain't planning on rectifying the problem through procreation.

luckily, our first minister agrees: bring on the immigrants! all welcome. jobs over there to the right; interesting multicultural society over there to the left. what could be better?

unfortunately, many people - the ones paul's heard on the phone-ins - are shockingly, shockingly ignorant and see any "incomer" as a threat. it's not just about race: religion, culture and age are all factors that fuel people's fears.

for a long time i was utterly dismissive of these anti-immigrationists. my basic angry-man-in-the-student-bar take on it was simple: those who want to live and work in britain should be welcomed, and we'll simply swap them for those who don't like it ;)

but it's not that simple. the right-wing press keeps the fires burning, and the sad fact is that many otherwise intelligent people have a completely irrational (yes!) fear of immigrants. like it or not, immigration is a problem: our personal opinions aren't important when faced with a mass of ignorance.

so, what to do? as with everything, the answer lies in education. the indigenous british population needs to be INFORMED. its fear is based on ignorance. schools need to tackle the issue head-on - not skirt around it or pay lip-service - and the parents? well, the bitterness in north glasgow against kurdish asylum-seekers could perhaps have been avoided if the civic and civil leaders had deigned to meet with the people who already lived there; to introduce them to the "incomers"; to play a major part in the resettlement process. as it was, they basically dumped a whole heap of new folk in some flats and expected everything to go smoothly. fuckin' idiocy.

i guess what i'm saying is: just because you disagree with somebody, you can't dismiss them outright. the hard left has never understood this; the soft left is even worse because it's so fucking patronising. if - for example - a small group of native glaswegians in maryhill aren't happy about asylum-seekers, let's find out why. let's discuss it and work it out. we might hate their opinions, but that doesn't make them invalid.

Andrew
17-12-2004, 10:53 PM
I'd like to strike an all too rare positive note in this area. I'm involved in a scheme that enables uk citizens to befriend refugees, helping them with their english, and spending time with them to to get a grip on all the cultural stuff that we take for granted but can often be very difficult for people from other countries/cultures get a handle on. It s been a great success, and Ive seen people lives changes for the better. The poinnt is that when we started it we worried about getting "british" people involved: in fact over 2000 people have signed up to befriend/ support a refugee, more than we can cope with. Speaking to people who volunteer their rationale for getting involed is more often than not driven by the need to do something to prove that Britian (for all its many, many faults) isnt quite as the Daily Mail would have us believe.

sufi
21-12-2004, 02:54 PM
ok so rather than block up the forum, let's move things on...

i'm definitely pro-immigration meself... but i can't deny that it has become problematic -

my perspective is that it has become messy due to successive ill-thought out legislation, prompted by racist media, producing a vicious circle of xenphobic criticism
this means that there are significant problems for Migrants themslves.
Most obviously, there have been several racist murders of Asylum Seekers in Uk over the past couple of years, one took place in Glasgow, where Firsat Dag a kurdish Asylum Seeker from Turkey was stabbed - Glasgow has been the largest recipient of asylum seekers 'dispersed' from the South East - at the time that the murder happened, Glasgow was faced with many newly arrived asylum seekers in one of Britain's most deprived areas, where minimal preparation had been done for their reception or integration - a recipe for disaster, that has been replicated in many dispersal areas I don't think that Glasgow is a particularly racist area (unlike, say, Sunderland where dispersed Asylum Seekers have also been murdered), but the way the Home Office has treated Glaswegians and Refugees is likely to encourage racism.

But there are also many more numerous, less obvious casualties of this undeclared 'War on Migration' (like the War on Terror, or the War on Drugs - it's a nebulous fantasy). Every year migrants are killed attempting clandestine entry across the highly militarised borders of the 'free world' - basically the states and the EU - we hear about some cases, but the vast majority are unseen and unheard of. It

While us conscious folks have 'no problem' ourselves, and I was heartened to read Mark k-p & Grimly's positive perspectives, we still consume illegal labor - we are all implicated in this system - just saying well i got 'no problem' is not enough. Andrew's contribution is really positive - both in terms of awareness and practically for migrants themsleves,
i wish that there was active solidarity from conscious xenophiles could actually - protest, direct action?

i have been checking the homeoffice website (http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind/en/home/applying/british_nationality/application_forms/guide_to_the_declaration.textonly.html) about renouncing british nationality

grimly fiendish
22-12-2004, 09:45 PM
i wish that there was active solidarity from conscious xenophiles could actually - protest, direct action?

i have been checking the home office website about renouncing british nationality

now that would be quite a neat idea if enough people did it.

sufi
22-12-2004, 10:17 PM
NO ONE IS ILLEGAL! CAMPAIGN AGAINST IMMIGRATION SLAVERY (http://noii.trick.ca/CampaignAgainstSlaveLabour)
i like NOII uncompromising attitude & their intolerance of stooge organisations like IOM (http://www.noborder.org/iom/index.php)

also active: NCADC (http://www.ncadc.org.uk)
http://www.ncadc.org.uk/Pics/1.jpg

rewch
23-12-2004, 11:08 AM
what was the original reason for the foundation of IOM? seems a bit blatant to just set sthing like that up to subvert UNHCR...i think their semantics are enough to arouse suspicion if nothing else...govns as 'customers'...makes one shudder...but this phrase: 'their ideology is based on racist principles of homogeneous ethnic states and xenophobic concepts of 'home'' is clearly the key to the migration issue...because there is a deeply rooted symbolic belief in national identity/character/nationhood...the racist/xenophobic labels aside it is this inherited ideaof nationality/ism that causes most issues no?

on a separate note...what was the first historical nation state if any? & were there any precedents on immigration set by it?

rei
23-12-2004, 02:24 PM
I think that Andrew's highlighting of positive attempts at integration are important. I see marginalisation as the one of the greatest barriers to eliminating prejudice that confronts any society. Integrating communities fosters tolerance; where you learn not only to accept diversity but also to value it. British culture seems to value homogeny; that migrants are only accepted when they openly embrace all that is defined as 'British'; as though we have nothing to learn from other cultures and that our 'Britishness' should be treasured and protected from 'outsiders'. These are notions ignorant of history, vis a vis the cultural crucible from which every society/culture is melded. It is this misinformed idea of purity, tied to miscegenation and genocide that is the backbone of the racist's poisoned rhetoric.

The cases of conflict and the murder of asylum seekers in Sighthill in Glasgow is a complex one, which as Sufi points out is not purely about racism. Sighthill is a collection of high-rises, a brutal environment and culture of deprivation; scapegoating onto Asylum seekers is common, who are perceived to be gaining special privileges and access to resources denied to the other residents. It may seem a little cynical, but I think that politicians have failed to deal with the 'asylum issue' effectively here because it distracts from the real issues that fuels friction in Sighthill, ie an excluded social underclass who live in abject poverty. It is poverty that is the main issue for most of the residents in Sighthill regardless of ethnic background. Keeping everyone ignorant of the truth and keeping the community divided prevents the community from directing their ire away from each other and onto the politicians who deserve it.

luka
23-12-2004, 04:31 PM
all this stuff about, oh the working class are brainwashed by the tabloids, there's no problems with immigration at all, is utopian fraffle.

how many things can you think of that have no negative consequences?

it's this kind of rose tinted daydreaming that means the arguments for immigation are never looked at. you can't just, say, oh everythings great, its only the racist working classes, whipped into a frenzy by the tabloids that make it into an issue.

here's a trivial example. a lot of immigrants are messy as fuck. if you come from a country that doesn't have waste disposal services you don't know what to do. they don't know how things work. they chuck rubbsh wherever. thats one small, obvious source of friction. there's an obvious solotion too, have somebody tell them. it takes time though, and resources.

polystyle desu
23-12-2004, 06:50 PM
here's a trivial example. a lot of immigrants are messy as fuck. if you come from a country that doesn't have waste disposal services you don't know what to do. they don't know how things work. they chuck rubbsh wherever. thats one small, obvious source of friction. there's an obvious solotion too, have somebody tell them. it takes time though, and resources.


I hear you Luka.
And not at all trivial here in NYC ...
When the sidewalks get full with families numbering 5-6 , pushing double strollers onto your heels,
moving house via subway , throwing garbage on the street with a can within sight
taken altogether with the noise of people 'whistling up' instead of using a doorbell /intercom ,
honking car horns in quiet places because they 'that's how they did it in their country' -

man , I used to hope that Prez Clinton or more appropriately our Mayor (Guiliani would have been just the one to do it) would say as part of a message ' people you are welcome , ... but here's how it works here, please join us in this , you are here now'

why invoke Clinton ? ,
welly welly well , no way Bush cares about us here in NYC

carlos
23-12-2004, 07:26 PM
When the sidewalks get full with families numbering 5-6 , pushing double strollers onto your heels,
moving house via subway , throwing garbage on the street with a can within sight
taken altogether with the noise of people 'whistling up' instead of using a doorbell /intercom ,
honking car horns in quiet places because they 'that's how they did it in their country' -


this sounds exactly like something most of the anti-immigrant people i know would say- i work with a few. but they say these sort of things about black people too- non-immigrant black people. and mexicans- even if they were born here. so i assume this is just a form of racism or xenophobia.

i'm an immigrant living in the usa- i emigrated to the usa with my parents when i was a teenager

immigration is a touchy subject for me- especially when people start saying things like "boy are these immigrants loud and messy"- i would expect to hear something like that from (redneck) co-workers, but reading this here stunned me a bit...

luka
23-12-2004, 07:44 PM
uh carlos, i hear you, my language was deliberately sloppy, to engender debate more than anything as theres a cosy little consensus been formed around this thread. my point stands however. i'm not saying 'foreigners are dirty because they're animals' and of course lots of immigrants come from places which are as affluent as our own socities, so using the word 'they' is lazy. However, that doesn't change the fact that many immigrants come fro socities profoundly diffrerent from our own and there is bound to be friction. the litter example is one you will hear lots of immigration workers talking about. there are a whole heap of reasons why immigration causes problems. i'm not anti-immigration by any stretch of the imagination and many of the problems could be ironed out if the resources and political will were there. but they're not.

polystyle desu
23-12-2004, 07:57 PM
I hear you Carlos
We are almost all immigrants one gen or another ,
And it's a touchy subject for everyone ...

Whatever the situation in Houston Tx is, it's bound to be a bit different from here though,
and i was careful not to say this nationality or that , some just throw garbage habitually and everyone has different reasons why they act as they do , it just adds up to make a mess .
Simple statement

In another thread , another time
I would come down on yuppie NYU students who think they can jog two by two down the same sidewalks we are supposed to walk on ...

So keep it light , have a good
Nothing personal

carlos
23-12-2004, 08:10 PM
my point was that if you want to be taken seriously, the "immigrants are different" angle shouldn't really enter into this discussion. if it does, then the possibility of racism or xenophobia seems (to me) to be a bigger part of your argument than (i think) it should be.

but that's just my opinion.

i took luka's post with a grain of salt- it seemed to me he was making a point about the way the discussion was going.

my comment was mostly directed at polystyle.

nothing personal of course.

polystyle desu
23-12-2004, 09:10 PM
Point taken ,
and sorry to just jump into the thread ...

luka
23-12-2004, 09:32 PM
surely difference is the source of the problems. denying differences seems crazy. i don't think thats the same as saying 'i hate different people' nor does it mean i think differnce is bad and we should all live in a big grey homogenous mass. if you live in a country and don't speak the language, for example, that;s a problem. or the litter issue. lots of anglo-saxons are messy cunts too, but the reasons for that are not the same.

immigration has transformed this country, without a doubt. my idea of hell is (my picture of, monochrome, repressed, terrible food, no parties, dunno how accurate it is) pre-immigration britain. but i don't think pro-immigartion people help their own cause by sweeping all difficulties under the table. the rise of gun crime in this country is intimately linked to immigration for example/ (thats not the same as saying immigrants are the sole cause of gun crime, give me some credit.)

luka
24-12-2004, 05:22 AM
i can't sleep/ i thought i#d make an attempt at being articulate.

a society conditions its members. this helps secure a (relatively) cohesive society. different societies condition people in different ways.
when an individual from society a comes to live in society b there are always going to be diffculties. sometimes this can be positive, sometimes negative, sometimes its hard to make the call.
immigration along with travel and communictions is one of the most potent destabilising influences in a society.

things are changin. have been for a long time. thats a very simplified account. obviously there isn't that kind of unity within a society. i beleive there was something fairly close to it in the past and thats onre of the things daily mail readers are mourning. its not completely incomplrehensible.

i think i'm too tired but hopefully its clear that you can blame differences as a source of tension without being racist. (especal;;y as we're not alkong anout racial groups but other socieities and cultures. and beleive it or not, theres not really vaule jdgements there. its a description.

carlos
24-12-2004, 02:16 PM
luka - i see your point.

what i'm trying to say is that, as an immigrant, opposing immigration on the issue of difference makes no sense to me personally. but if you look at immigration from an economic standpoint- i can see how one might argue that there are negative impacts- i think the source of the problem ("people's opposition to immigration") is mostly economics and not difference- though i agree that difference plays a large part in the equation.

i think a native population can tolerate difference as long as their economic interests aren't threatened-

i stayed out of this thread because the original post's question was: "how can we have an immigration system that is fair and effective???"

and i'm not sure i have an answer to offer- especially since being an immigrant opposed to immigration seems like such a horribly cynical position to take.

sufi
30-12-2004, 01:03 PM
Just to give you advance notice that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)is going to run an advertising campaign on the buses linked to their voluntary return packages.


It will be running adverts in 50% of buses in London, Glasgow, Birmingham,
Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle. The adverts will be on the inside
of the bus for four weeks starting beginning January.

The advert will be fairly general and brief due to amount of information
that can be included, along the lines of :
'Need help to go home? IOM can assist if you overstayed your visa, are an
asylum seeker, were smuggled or trafficked in to the country. Call us free
on 0800 783 2332 or visit our website www.iomlondon.org ' There will be
pictures of reintegration beneficiaries.


IOM run the VARRP package (Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme) that is open to asylum seekers, those whose applications for asylum have been refused and people with exceptional leave to remain, discretionary and humanitarian leave.

IOM has also just started its AVRIM package (Assisted Voluntary Return of Irregular Migrants)for overstayers and others in breach of immigration rules.

IOM also play a part in the Voluntary Returns to Afghanistan Programme. It registers and processes applications, organises the logistics of the return and offers reintegration assistance in Afghanistan.


Any thoughts or comments you have, do let me know.

A complementary campaign on integration or highlighting the proud tradition of offering refuge will no doubt follow...

got this email before xmas
IOM are also involved in organising the iraqi elections (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1379791,00.html) for expats???


The booths will be manned by Iraqis living in the UK, though security will be in the hands of local police. Around 600 Iraqi exiles in Britain will be trained by the International Organisation for Migration, the UN body mandated by the Iraqi electoral commission to conduct the poll.

'There is a huge amount of enthusiasm,' said Sarah Fradgley, an IOM spokesperson in London. 'Some people have complained there are only three centres, but we have pointed out that, if they were living in Tokyo, they would have to go to Los Angeles.'
FFS :mad:

Pearsall
30-12-2004, 04:07 PM
You don't think there should be elections?

sufi
30-12-2004, 04:23 PM
i don't trust IOM - they are like rent-a-NGO - doing whatever dirty job states want done
& that makes me distrust the elections, but that's totally another issue :D
in fact can we have the iraqi resistance thread moved to politix please admin??
or perhaps the question of Iraqi democracy in occupation may deserve a thread of it's own?

a more relevant question would be about voluntary return of migrants, IOM's role and views on that....

sufi
03-01-2005, 03:41 PM
in case anyone's interested, you can witness or participate in one of the great seasonal lemming-like migrations of the 20th century, just reaching it's climax online here:
The Green Card Lottery (http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/)

now you can only apply onlline, (instead of by post as in 20thC)
the closing date is Jan 5th
so get yourselfs together... i'm applying!:D


"give me your poor, your shiftless"
kaliforniya here we come!

rewch
04-01-2005, 04:14 PM
unless you're applying on your brikistan passport you won't get a green card...coz you is uk citizen...but then anyone adopting such a brazenly optimistic attitude is unlikely to read the smallprint anyway...i think its discriminatory though...

sufi
04-01-2005, 05:31 PM
nah mate i apply under my missus' name! :D (small print is my foods)
you all limeys got no chance tho :p

discriminatory = well yes, tho not just prejudice as they do have coherent reasoning behind it....

sufi
11-01-2005, 11:04 AM
eeek!
jus got a phone call off the IOM iraqi electoral commission in London asking me for summat....

do they read dissensus? :eek:

scottdisco
11-01-2005, 03:56 PM
so what did you tell 'em?

don't worry we've got ya back :)

sufi
11-01-2005, 08:52 PM
well, just to keep pearsall happy ;), i agreed to help em out with some minor things...

i got another interesting email about the iraqi elections,
but perhaps i'll start another thread rather han totally derail this one!

scottdisco
11-01-2005, 08:57 PM
that would be a good idea :)

i enjoy the comments-boxing between bipedaldave and redcrescent on the one hand, and Craner on the other :D