Outrageous

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 That right was revoked in 1981 with the British Nationality Act.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.

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9 Responses to “Outrageous”

  1. pinkjellybaby Says:

    I don’t know if they will be helpful at all but they might have some good stats in for you:
    Code of Practice for Employing Migrant Workers
    Refugees and Asylum Seekers
    Young People Factsheet
    Changing Face of Britain
    These are from the people I used to work for.

  2. pinkjellybaby Says:

    Oh I think my comment might have got spammed….

  3. sungirltan Says:

    unspeammed! thanx pinky x

  4. punctuation Says:

    By far my most popular poem (apart from “Lump” http://alexsykie.com/poetry/lump/ which has recently, like the subject, grown a life of its own and been used in ways that makes my heart sing) is “Not my baby”.

    It pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject. My step-father is “an immigrant” – although he came here in 1943 after they killed half his family in Auschwitz – and just to cheers things along on arrival he was put into a British concentration camp on the South coast (a very different affair, I should point out, to the German and Russian concentration camps!).

    He has worked every single day of his life and still does…at the age of 80.

    As my poem says: “How awful does you life have to be, that a suffocating truck, and an insecure future, is a better option?”

    http://alexsykie.com/poetry/not-my-baby/

    It doesn’t help that I too will be an immigrant within the next four months…only I’ll be doing it by heading towards Obama’s brave new world…and I’ll be doing it for love…

  5. emsbabee Says:

    I worked with asylum seekers for 3 years, and spent almost every day arguing the toss with a variety of mis-informed people who just had to stick their oar in. It’s nice to be armed with the facts, just to see the look on their faces when their point of view falls through.

  6. sungirltan Says:

    thanks for that ems – glad it not just me!!

  7. Dick Says:

    People divest themselves of their prejudices with profound reluctance. I found this when arguing the case for Traveller sites in the ’80s. I would refute the various spurious claims by quoting from the various acts passed to make life as difficult as possible for Travellers – and there are plenty – but to no effect.

    It was the same, of course, prior to tough race relations legislation. Witless, vicious and ignorant claims were regularly made concerning the hygiene, intelligence, sexual proclivities, cultural practices and general ethnic inferiority of Afro-Caribbeans and Asians. Now that litigation is a real issue, the racist focus is on Roma (UK Travellers and European alike) and immigrants not immediately protected by the 1976/2000 Race Relations Act.

    With hysterical rags like the Mail and – in particular – the Express providing false witness, one despairs. I’m out of the loop now, having no direct contact with the Gypsies with whom I used to work. I don’t think I’ve got the energy or optimism to get stuck in again.

    Sorry – I’ve just ranted, haven’t I? I wish you well in the battle, T. You’re doing a fine job. Nil illegitimum carborundum!

  8. sungirltan Says:

    thanks D.
    Actually theres a right old row going on in plymouth atm re traveller sites. i think theres been some legislation about providing permanent sites lately. Anyway there are about 3 proposed sites in Plymouth in various undesirable locations but the one ajacent to Efford (which is pronounced EFFFFFERRD if you come form by ‘ere) may yet induce angry mobs with pitch forks. I have been following the story in the local rag (www.thisisplymouth.co.uk) for some months now. I’m sure you can imagine the shamelessly venomous opinions proudly articulated (or not) by the opposition. Sadly (as with most) the angry mob relies on the old cliche of ‘they don’t pay any tax ra ra ra so why should they exist!? i’m a taxpayer so i’m closer to god and therefore am omnipitent!!).
    Apparently the non payment/questioned payment of tax bestows on the accuser complete exemption from prejudice/misinformation/myths/legends and downright racism.
    I think the reaction to travellers is possibly even worse down here than it is to asylum seekers/refugees/muslims/bme communities/single mothers/the unemployed/overweight people/social workers/pinko liberal brigade types/young offenders/substance misusers/etc – in that order.

  9. sungirltan Says:

    ps – won’t be letting the bastards get me down any time soon. Only when i think i know so much that i have the right to judge one human being’s worth against another, or my own. Then its time to stop.

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