Hello! Happy New year, hope you had a restful festive season and a good start to the year, I’ll write a bigger post soon but just a quick thought which continues on from the last post about Daniel Bedingfield (….Daniel Blake).
I’m reading some stuff to put into my context chapter, and I’m looking at the Government’s lovely fluffy Immigration Act to find some stuff from the foul horse’s mouth about ‘hostile environment’ policy.
Crikey. the witch Theresa May holds no punches. I knew that already but it’s always chilling to read it first hand.
Here, she essentially talks about how those who come to the UK illegally (I mean, how many other options are we giving people to come here really…we’ve hardly put on any luxury cruise liners at a reduced rate have we…) are wholly undeserving of access to any of the resources they might need such as basic healthcare, employment and housing. Flippin’ heck, Theresa, you do not take after your elderly nun name-sake in your generosity of spirit do you? Again, knew this already but always good to remember who the enemy is. (Not Theresa herself, but rather she is a voice of a bigger disgusting, racist, xenophobic, nationalist system…)
In this extract from the Immigration Act 2016 Factsheet – Support for certain categories of migrants (Section 66), we can see that Immigration Minister James Brokenshire does not take kindly to the ‘exploitation’ of our system, which some people ‘actively seek out’, apparently. (Frankly, I don’t see how if we don’t give people the opportunity to work, access healthcare, or even get into the property market in any way they can exploit anything much to be honest…but hey, maybe that’s just me.):
“We will introduce new rules to support
those who genuinely need it, but send
out a very clear message to those who
seek to exploit the system that Britain is
not a soft touch.
“The UK has a proud history of offering
sanctuary to those who need it – but
people who do not need our help and
who refuse to return home are here
Looks almost like poetry when it’s all split up like that, doesn’t it?
not a soft touch.
(I don’t want you to touch me, Christ, Britain. I just want you to show some common human decency…)
In the same breath Brokenshire summons up Britain’s ‘proud’ heritage of offering support for those seeking refuge, and draws tight boundaries around who is included in ‘those who need it’ and those who ‘do not need our help’. We see again this binary of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’. Who is deciding who falls into which category? From conversations with many women who have been through the system it often seems fairly arbitrary from where I’m standing. Domestic abuse victims it seems really struggle to get their cases passed.
So, Section 4 of the 1999 Immigration Act meant that ‘failed’ asylum seekers with children could continue to get support in the face of rejection. The 2016 revision of this act will see this being repealed, meaning that support “will only be available to failed asylum seekers and any dependent children if there is a genuine obstacle that prevents them from leaving the UK at the point their appeal rights are exhausted.”
What is a ‘genuine obstacle’ Theresa? Do you mean, like, literally there must be something so physically big they can’t go round it? Like a MASSIVE WALL? How about a violent partner? Difficult to prove all that though isn’t it. Why should we believe what a woman says about a relationship she’s in? Or someone who’s sexuality means their life is in serious danger? Oh I don’t know, probably ask them really outrageously personal questions about their sex lives, maybe?
Who deserves to stay?
Who must leave IMMEDIATELY?
it’s come to our attention you’re in the UK illegally (not totes sure, will check this l8r, LOL) but just in case you are, can you fuck off please and leave us alone? We did send you a letter a while ago, it probably didn’t arrive, let’s just blame #postalprivatisation and move on though. We’ve done our job (kind of, not very well tho LOL) so you can now do yours. Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and get them far, far away from this sacred, holy, beautiful land.
K, THX, BAI
love, the Home Office x”
This obviously isn’t an actual text received by anyone (although you never know…) but people do get detained with no official notice as the letter of warning (“we’ll detain you in a month so make sure you’ve got your bags ready LOL x”) has been delayed in the post. The Home Office also did actually ACTUALLY send people texts telling them to GO HOME. (“What, Stretford? I don’t…I’m there already having tea with my mum…who even IS this?”)
So, we’re working in an environment where people are being challenged on their right to be here, as framed by a broader climate of hostility, fear, xenophobia, and growing nationalist ideas, both in the UK and further afield. This is why it’s all the more important to challenge ideas of home, identity and belonging. I’m hoping to do more with my research than just write a lot (a LOT) of words, so watch this space for ideas in the pipeline, because I want the thoughts, ideas and stories of the amazing women I have worked with to go further than the walls of academia, as it can be a bit of an echo-chamber at times.
I also don’t have any kind of proposal for an alternative model of immigration, but I do believe that it must be done with more humanity and less racism.