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First They Came for the Asylum-Seekers…

23/04/2010

Further to the Wannabees’ Wampum last night: didn’t anyone else get the feeling that greasy ambition was getting the better of decency and humanity in the final discussion of immigration policy?

This really was shabby – with Smooooth Dave proffering new border police (How many more types of police do we need?) and Gruff Gordon promising to deport all and sundry.

Surely, when desperate politicians offer expensive identity cards and ever more police controls, we should be worried.

Only Cleggie seemed to come out of this as human. The one failed asylum-seeker I know of works illegally in the shadows, ripe for exploitation and unable to receive appropriate healthcare – ever fearful of answering the door. I don’t want to generalise from a single instance, but I believe this is typical.

Too many refugees and asylum-seekers fail to access decent health and social care because they are desperately scared of being on the official databases in official places. This is a problem if, like me, you are concerned to ensure that everyone here gets better healthcare, irrespective of their legal condition.

They are right to be concerned, though. After all, oppressive governments start by boosting police powers and forcing citizens to carry identity cards… Shouldn’t we be concerned, also?

Doesn’t it make sense to deal with their plight and that of their children by normalising their status, so that they can come in from the cold. That way they can live more settled lives, get the healthcare they need and pay their taxes like the rest of us. They will be able to look to the police for assistance and protection, like the rest of us, and sleep more peacefully at night.

What’s more, they will spread the word not that the UK is a soft touch, but that humane democracy is worth sticking up for and not something to be thrown away lightly by those who’d give anything for power.

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