Lately I have mostly been busy having heaps on fun at my placement, having serious conversations with two year olds, running workshops to dispell myths about asylum seekers, having tantrums in meetings, laughing at myself and making friends with germans. Not to mention having the priviledge of working with maybe the most diverse and interesting people I have ever met.
I am in the middle of writing my dissertation at present. The feedback on my first draft pieces was really positive and I am pleased pleased. However the subject matter is causing me some anguish. The title is:
What is Social Work’s role in addressing issues of social exclusion and the marginalisation of refugees and asylum seekers?
I might get around to posting some parts of it soon. Right now I am trawling through legislation on immigration to the UK. As usual with this subject the more I read the more shocked and embarrased I am. I still hear people accusing asylum seekers of having children in the UK on purpose to ensure residency. Ha Ha. That right was revoked in 1981 with the British Nationality Act. This legislation also changed the rights of commonwealth citizens to only welcome/include whites. The most contradictory piece of law though just might be the 2002 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act which brought in much stricter limitations on asylum opportunities in the UK (don’t let them in they are blatantly telling fibs because they are really economic migrants here to steal our jobs) but increased opportunities for British businesses to recruit from abroad (and what do you call a person who moves to Britain to work – you guessed it! an economic migrant). Another popular rant is ‘well we should make it very unattractive for them to come here’ Ta dah! we’ve had that by law for a decade. The 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act now ensures that asylum seekers have no recourse to public funds beyond what they recieve from the National Asylum Support Service (thats about £34 a week or tesco vouchers depending on the case and is officially support which keeps them below the poverty line). This means that however dire things are they have no rights to claim assistance either under the National Assistance Act 1948 (thats council houses and stuff and responsibility of local authorities to make sure the vulnerable are ok) or the Children Act 1989. After waiting a decade for refugee status, narrowly avoiding starvation and destitution theres a less than 12% chance of a positive decision. Then it gets areally good, after your claim is denied you can expect at best months on end in prison (sorry, i mean detention centre) and or more than likely the police will brwak down your door at 3am, snatch your sick children from their beds and bundle you on to a charter flight back to your home country (btw it won’t be British Airways because they have refused to fly anyone undergoing enforced repatriation under moral grounds). Don’t be litening to this rumour that you can nominate a third country to go to . Ha ha ha ha. I shan’t go on and on though I drive myself mad.
But I will include something. Although I’ve never had any doubt that tabloid journalism perpetuates prejudice, just in case you’re still not convinced – over a 10 month period the Daily Mail printed over 200 articles making negative claims about asylum seekers. The Daily Express printed 600.