Immigration – Some questions

Immigration generates passion. We see it being used by politicians to whip up hysteria. We have Enoch Powell’s ‘river of blood’ speech. We have Farage’s threat of 5 million Turks descending on Britain. We hear Trump talking about Muslim’s being terrorists and Mexicans being rapists, murderers and drug dealers. We hear of little Pakistan and little India being set up in the north of England. We hear of towns being taken over by eastern Europeans. We are told that our culture is under threat and we are being usurped.

Everything is distorted or exaggerated. What is the truth?

Aren’t we really all the descendants of immigrants?

Do wealthy countries have an obligation to take in refugees fleeing from war or repression?

Do wealthy countries have an obligation to take in refugees from countries suffering economic chaos?

Is it in the interests of wealthy countries, with low birth rates, to take in a workforce from outside?

Don’t immigrants work hard and carry out work that people in the wealthy countries do not want to do?

Do immigrants take jobs from the indigenous population?

Don’t immigrants work for low wages which is good for the economy?

Don’t immigrants put in more than they take out?

Don’t immigrants put a strain on our institutions – schools and health services?

Don’t immigrants have an obligation to fit into their adopted country’s culture – learn its language, adopt its dress codes, accept its moral codes, religion and ethos?

Aren’t tolerant countries able to absorb a variety of cultures and religions?

Should a country refuse to accept immigrants whose cultural practices are greatly different?

Can a liberal country cope with taking in cultures who are illiberal?

Should a country tolerate intolerance in immigrants?

Doesn’t it take generations for people to assimilate?

Isn’t it enriching for a culture to to have a variety of inputs from other cultures?

Doesn’t the host culture benfit from this enrichment in areas such as cuisine, fashion, art, music, literature and philosophy?

Should immigrants hang on to their culture (religion, dress code, language, morality, philosophy) and refuse to compromise it?

Can a liberal culture tolerate intolerant attitudes (racism, misogyny, religious intolerance)?

Is the host culture entitled to feel threatened if they see their own culture being usurped?

A Letter in the Guardian that says a lot about Covid, Brexit and the Hostile Environment. Jane Ghosh.

John Peachey sent me this through. It sums up what a lot of us think. There is an underlying racism that lurks in a segment of our population. It is a hatred of foreigners. It fuelled Brexit and created a nasty hostile environment – a policy adopted by the Tory Home Office under Priti Patel, that drove many crucial workers out of the country – highly competent doctors, nurses and carers, vegetable pickers and factory workers. Just the very people we all rely on during this pandemic.

Jane Ghosh summed it up.

‘Hospitals face horrendous choices over who gets care’
When will the public and our government wake up to the fact that we have been landed in this situation because EU and commonwealth citizens have been made to feel unwanted by Brexit rhetoric, anti immigration measures and entrenched xenophobia? If we had welcomed people to work here, our Nightingale hospitals could have been staffed and there would be no need to ration care.
Jane Ghosh.Bristol

Immigration.

Watching the American Midterm elections and following developments with Brexit it seems that both were fuelled by the spectre of mass immigration. Trump certainly wanted to focus on it – demonising the refugee caravan – because he knew it resonated with the fears of his base.

In Europe we are suffering from having to deal with large numbers of people fleeing Africa and the Middle East due to either severe economic problems or war. They are fleeing wars in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and general poverty in many areas of Africa and the Middle East. On top of that we have an influx of economic migrants from the Eastern European States where there is poverty.

In America there is a movement of people from Central America and Mexico fleeing poverty and the drug wars. There are also Muslims wanting to get into the States to escape the wars in the Middle East.

Having so many people coming into a country puts a strain on services and causes tensions within the endemic population. It is very hard to integrate so many people – particularly if they, as with Muslims, have different values and appearances.

I see immigration is top of many peoples list of concerns both in Europe and the States. Perhaps it is time for both America and Europe to start taking it seriously and dealing with the root causes?

So what are the causes of mass migration?

Overpopulation – many countries have a burgeoning population. There is no work for them. It creates poverty. It puts stress on the infrastructure and environment. Families cannot support or provide for the numbers they are producing.

Unemployment – if there is no work for people, or the pay is so incredibly poor, they will seek to go somewhere else where they can gain a better standard of life.

Wars – If regions are ravaged by wars then families will flee and seek refuge away from the conflicts.

Poverty – unemployment, exceptionally poor wages and no prospects make people desperate.

I am sure that if people had a reasonable life in the country of their birth they would not be after taking huge risks in trying to cross continents in pursuit of a better life.

I can’t help thinking that it would be a lot cheaper and less traumatic to deal with these underlying issues than constantly waging wars or maintaining economic inequalities and having to deal with multitudes of refugees along with the terrorism that it spawns.

Praising Mistakes Of The Past Is Insanity

This is a well reasoned article. Racism in action.

Gringa of the Barrio

(Originally posted 1/12/17 on Read With The Gringa)

The gringa wants to conclude her studies on the history of U.S. immigration by examining a particular policy that was enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration in 1954. The incoming Trump administration has threatened a revival of a deportation policy that has already proven disastrous. Again, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, yet expecting different results, is the incoming group of politicians all insane? Is a madman about to take the helm of U.S. government? Will the lunatics be running the asylum in less than two weeks? Let’s take a look at Operation Wetback and see if parallels of this policy should be supported or resisted if Trump attempts to resurrect this dead beast.

After World War I, the nation was hurting for cheap labor, particularly in agriculture. They hoped to fill this…

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Brexit – Britain was the only country not to implement an EU law stopping people getting benefits.

Britain always had the opportunity to refuse EU citizens benefit and send them back to their country but were the only EU country not to sign up. There was no need to have to house or provide benefits to anyone. If they had signed up it would have removed a great feeling of anger in a lot of people. They were only able to come for 3 months without work under EU law. Why did Britain choose not to implement it?

All the aggravation and fear of immigration from the EU could have been prevented under EU law. Britain alone did not enforce the law. Potatoes being harvested by migrant seasonal workers.Potatoes being harvested by migrant seasonal workers. ‘Freedom of movement is specifically tied to agreed, contracted employment and recognises the need to balance labour supply and demand,’ writes Jon Bloomfield. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

On Europe, the key issue is not article 50. Rather, the answer to the question (Editorial, 6 January) on how to combine a border regime that is fluid enough to preserve economic dynamism and rigorous enough to inspire public confidence lies in articles 48 and 49 of the original treaty of Rome. Article 48 states that “freedom of movement for workers shall entail the right (a) to accept offers of employment actually made; (b) to move freely within the territory of member states for this purpose.” Article 49 calls for “the achievement of a balance between supply and demand in the employment market in such a way as to avoid serious threats to the standard of living and level of employment in the various regions and industries”.

In other words, the treaty is not a neoliberal free for all. Freedom of movement is specifically tied to agreed, contracted employment and recognises the need to balance labour supply and demand. Here is the basis for a serious negotiation between the UK and the rest of the EU. These articles offer the framework for Andrea Leadsom to argue for seasonal agricultural labour and for hospitals and care homes to be able to recruit staff as required. Returning to the original principles of the treaty of Rome would be in the interests of all parties. It would permit a migration policy managed according to the needs of the economy. Are there British and European politicians up to the task?
Jon Bloomfield
Birmingham

Since 2004, European Union law has allowed governments to control movements of EU citizens as follows: allow EU citizens to freely circulate only for three months and then require them (should they want to stay longer) to show they are working (employed or self-employed), a registered student or have sufficient resources (pension, savings) to support themselves and comprehensive sickness insurance eg a valid European health insurance card enabling the NHS to claim back the cost of treatment or have private health insurance. The UK is one of the few governments that has not implemented this.

For six years, Theresa May was in charge of the Home Office responsible for immigration, yet did nothing to adopt these conditions. One wonders why not and why immigration was allowed to dominate the referendum and is still being paraded as a big problem. Yet another failure of our own government and the Home Office under Theresa May is being blamed on the EU. The remedy was always in the UK’s hands.
Pat Whitaker
London

Migration and Immigration – why we need checks.

The overriding issue that was behind Brexit was immigration. There is a fear of terrorism, a feeling that we are being swamped with foreigners – particularly Muslims and Eastern Europeans, a sense that they are taking our jobs, receiving housing and benefits, causing overcrowding, creating problems for schools and the NHS, putting pressure on transport, displacing our culture and not wanting to assimilate and take on British values.

How accurate are these fears?

Is there a basis to them?

Is an opposition to mass immigration xenophobic or even racist?

The British people are a mongrel race. We always have been. We take in immigrants from all over the world, welcome them and assimilate them into our culture. I like the richness of culture that introduces. I like the cosmopolitan communities it produces and I like the way immigrants over the centuries have assimilated, become British, taken on our customs and values while still celebrating their own heritage.

But I do not think it is either racist or xenophobic to be concerned with mass immigration. It is the sheer numbers and attitudes of the recent immigrants that are causing the problems.

We have areas of the country with high Muslim populations who have completely displaced the indigenous people and culture. The perception is that many do not wish to assume British values at all. There are militants in the Muslim community who espouse to take over Britain and bring in Sharia law. The Hijab and Burqa do not fit easy with many people. It represents a culture and attitudes they do not agree with. Many, because of the association with terrorism and this strident, arrogant militancy, find it threatening.

There are a number of Muslims who support ISIS and the Caliphate. People find this traitorous to the country they have come to live in. ISIS is our avowed enemy. We have had terrorism from these militants. It creates suspicion and fear. In reality the number of incidents are few, the Intelligence Services are doing a good job rooting the militants out before they cause atrocities, and most Muslims do not subscribe to these extreme views.

There are Eastern European shops opening all over the place and Eastern European languages all around in many cities. I do not think that people have a problem with this until it reaches a point where they feel saturated and displaced.

Yes it does cause big pressures on the NHS, Schools, housing and the infra-structure. That causes aggravation but I don’t think it is the main issue.

The main issue is not one of racism, xenophobia or pressures on services – it is simply that there have been too many people coming in.

I believe we need immigration. We need labour for our economy. We need to staff the NHS, to pick crops, to work in Old People’s Homes. These people are valued. Their cultures are respected.

But when they come here they should respect our culture and if they are planning to stay, be prepared to assimilate into our communities.

In my opinion this integration is not assisted by more Faith Schools or concentrations of immigrants in any one area.

Education is the long-term solution. But mass immigration needs curbing. We need to stop so many coming into the country and the ones that do come in need processing. We do not need terrorists, criminals or people who do not subscribe to our values being allowed into the country.

We did not need to leave Europe to achieve this. Most of Europe wants the same thing. It surely is not beyond the wit of man to devise a practical system?

Woody Guthrie – Deportee – Plane Wreck at Los Gatos

I thought this was pertinent with the hatred being directed at migrants at the moment. Our economy depends on immigrant labour. They are brought in and paid poor wages. The bosses exploited them and still do.

In Britain we bring in tens of thousands of Eastern Europeans to pick crops.

In the USA they bosses exploited Mexicans. They paid them poor wages and they toiled in the fields. When the crops were picked they shopped these illegal immigrants to the feds who shipped them back to Mexico as illegal immigrants.

In 1948 a plane carrying a bunch of these immigrants crashed on the way back to Mexico. All the illegal immigrants were killed. All the papers took the stance that they were merely deportees. They didn’t even bother naming them.

It infuriated Woody. He saw them as people – husbands, wives, children – people who had lost their lives trying to gain a living for their families. He wrote a song to recognise that; to name them and give them dignity. He used the disparaging word – deportee!

I thought this was relevant today!

Plane Wreck at Los Gatos
(also known as “Deportee”)
Words by Woody Guthrie

The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be “deportees”

My father’s own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?

Migration/Immigration – Both sides of the picture and the solution. Controversial, honest and straight to the point with no punches pulled.

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Migration

The migrant problem is a horrendously complex one that requires clear thought and less emotion.

On one front it is a clear humanitarian problem. There are poor people desperate to escape war, persecution and poverty. They need helping. In the short term something has to be done and done quickly. We simply cannot sit back and allow people to suffer. That is callous.

On the other side is a clash of cultures, large numbers, burgeoning populations and differing values.

There are a number of reasons why we have this situation:

  1. There are terrible wars being waged all over the world – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Libya …… People are fleeing the death, mayhem and destruction. The economies are devastated. They have no future. A number of these wars have been fuelled and instigated by the West because of terrorism? Oil? Or strategic needs?
  2. There is a rise of extremist, fanatical religious strands of Islam. These groups – Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, ISIS and tens more – follow an interpretation of Islam that is extreme. They wish to impose their version of Islam on everyone – ban music, insist on Burqas, destroy all other culture and impose sharia law etc. etc. They have flourished in the vacuum created by the chaos following the wars. They use the West, who they foolishly describe as Crusaders, as scapegoats. They are systematically killing (in the most savage manner), looting and destroying. Their intolerance and persecution has led to millions seeking refuge.
  3. There is an overpopulation crisis. In many of these countries there has been a population explosion resulting in millions of extra people with no work, no future and living in extreme poverty. These huge numbers cannot be supported in their own countries.
  4. There is an economic crisis. The West has enjoyed a standard of life that is far superior to that enjoyed elsewhere. The world markets have been organised and run for the benefit of Western economies. We are rich and the Third World is extremely poor. With the advent of computers this has now become obvious to those in Third World countries. They want to have the benefits of living in the West with its employment, salaries and life-style.
  5. There is a lot of oil money floating around which is being used to fund Islamic extremism and destabilise the world.
  6. There are a lot of cynical selfish exploiters who are looking to make money out of the chaos. They are charging to take migrants to Europe, selling arms to all sides and generally looking to make a killing (literally make a killing).
  7. There are the politicians looking to destabilise and gain advantage by turning faction against faction.
  8. There are religious factions bred on long-established racism – Jews and Arabs, Sunni and Shia, Islam and Christian. The hatred is centuries old and fuelled by the Palestinian situation, poverty, wars, overpopulation, unemployment and economic depression.
  9. There is the added spice of Russia trying to exert power and using the various crises to exploit its conflict with the West. Putin is trying to be the big, tough guy. Russian pride is at stake.

 

The West is proving inept at dealing with all this and far from unified. We need some strong leadership and clear strategy.

 

What the West is concerned about

  1. A huge input of people into European countries requiring infrastructure – housing, schools, jobs, health care etc. This is happening at a time of austerity when there is strain on these services.
  2. The input of a large number of people who do not support the ethos of the West. They are largely Muslim and may not support tolerance, freedom, secularism, democracy and respect the customs of the host countries. They are religious and may support Sharia law, religious schools, Madrassas, Mosques and not integrate with the host country. People are concerned that they will displace the host culture.
  3. The immigrant families tend to have more children which increase the concerns of the above.
  4. Along with genuine migrants terrorist fanatics may come into the country putting everyone here at risk.
  5. Every country has its national culture; with large enclaves of immigrants this identity is under threat, particularly if they do not integrate. Many are dismayed at the number of people who do not speak the language, who live in insular communities and the number of Mosques springing up all over.

 

The irony is that the West, with its low birth rates, needs immigration. They just do not want erosion or usurping of their ethos.

We fought hard to escape from the strangle-hold of theocracy. We do not want to slip back into that again. We see the stultifying effect it has had on the Arab States. We want to remain free, have democracy and the right to chose. We want tolerance, fairness and our own culture. We want religion to be a personal choice not an imposition.

The other irony is that the immigrants are in danger of destroying the very thing they have come for – the freedom and tolerance.

 

The Solutions

  1. We have to demonstrate that we have compassion and moral integrity by caring for these displaced people. We cannot allow them to drown or keep them in detestable camps. They need interim housing, processing and assimilating.
  2. We should manage their entry to the West so that fanatics are identified and weeded out.
  3. Diplomatic pressure should be brought to bear to end the wars. The West needs to become more unified and focussed.
  4. The Palestinian situation has been fuelling much of the radicalisation and hatred and needs to be resolved. Pressure should be brought to bear on all parties.
  5. The funding of ISIS and other fanatic religious savages needs to be tracked down and stopped. Likewise internet recruitment.
  6. There needs to be a global, unified response to tackle religious fundamentalism led by the Arab States. The West has to put pressure on them to do this. ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and the rest need to be utterly discredited and defeated.
  7. The economic gulf between rich and poor countries needs to be bridged so that everyone becomes entitled to a job, a fair wage, fair conditions, pensions and health care.
  8. We need to integrate people living in Britain so that they subscribe to the values we have as a nation. We have a long history of fighting for social justice and equality.
  9. We need to address the drastic overpopulation crisis that is destroying the wilderness, forests and nature, over-fishing, butchering wild-life and leading to poverty, unemployment and economic disaster. This is what is fuelling the migration problem.
  10. We need to dump the whole oil economy and move right over to renewables. This will immediately dry up all the funding for the militant savages of ISIS and the rest.
  11. We need to create a rapprochement with Russia and China to tackle radicalism on a unified front.

 

Well those are my procrastinations. I suppose some of them are controversial. But I think they need bringing out into the open and discussing. I consider myself a caring, tolerant person but I am intolerant of intolerance and I hate violence, indoctrination and fundamentalism. I am open to debate. I can’t see a solution that gets to the root causes coming any time soon. But unless someone starts addressing the underlying issues I think this is all going to end badly.

 

What do you think?