Saturday 2 September 2023

Asylum Seekers, Illegal Immigrants and the Value of Migrants


There was a fear as well at the time of the Kindertransport that if we gave asylum to a lot of Jews there would be a backlash from the people who were suffering because of the Depression. So, it was decided that only children would be invited. Even that wasn’t an easy decision. If you go to the Wiener Holocaust Museum in London you can read the minutes of the meetings that were held about it. If you do, you may wonder how it ever happened at all. And we should remember it was a mere 10,000 we saved. In fact, not even quite that many.   

These children were asylum seekers, not illegal immigrants. Far from it; they had to be sponsors and £50 (the equivalent of £3000 today) had to be found in order for them to get a place here.

How does this compare with people who cross the sea on unseaworthy boats? Are they illegal immigrants? Surely they’re not until they have been proved to be such. Asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants. If people are refused asylum and don’t go home, then they are illegal immigrants.

I remain rather astounded that two government ministers associated with this debate have a migrant background. Would their families have been allowed in the UK under the regimes that they’re trying to create? I find that bizarre.

So, it’s a problem, though, we’re getting overcrowded. Are we? Didn’t a lot of EU nationals go home? Don’t we have a skills shortage? Aren’t there a lot of empty homes? Immigrants aren’t causing a housing shortage or homelessness. These are caused by a lack of political well and inept administrative systems.    

When I broke my arm badly, the person who put on the second plaster was very concerns about the number of immigrants, in their opinion, taking up hospital beds and making waiting lists longer. They were so upset about it all that they pulled my cast too tight and it had to be adjusted in the middle of the night. Now, let me see. I was treated by three people form the Commonwealth, two EU nurses and just one Welsh nurse though we may do well to note that NHS England and NHS  Wales are two separate entities and the former had to pay the latter for my treatment. All of the patients on the ward with me were British nationals, white and middle aged or old. Our EU migrants in fact paid more in taxes that they cost us.

I recently read a study that stated that where there were large numbers of migrants there were also large numbers of patents In other words migrants are more creative than static populations. Is it because they are more creative and daring that they decide to take the risk? Or does taking that risk help them to become more creative and daring? Whichever is true, surely they are an asset?

Ouistreham in Brittany is plagued with economic migrants who are simply seeking a better life in northern Europe. They are not chased by war or famine. But even they may be of value.

In a way the unseaworthy boats help us to understand exactly how desperate these people are. They would rather risk that than stay where they are.  

I’ve read some arguments in the last few days that many of these people are simply economic migrants. They are therefore illegal immigrants.  But surely, until their case has been heard they are asylum seekers.