Whenever things aren’t necessarily going their way the government can always rely on immigration to raly its supporters. It is one of the buttons that can be pressed to incite the tame press into action. The need for people to cross the channel in dinghies is indeed an issue but not the biggest one that we face as a country. Patel’s concatenation of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, as well as the baltant politicisation of the Home Office Twitter feed would make you think otherwise.
I was born in North Shields and live in Morpeth, a distance of about 30 kms by road. I have lived in other places but never outside the United Kingdom and have never had a problem settling anywhere. Had I been born in Dundalk and moved to Newry, a similar distance to my travels, I would be in the same boat (no joke intended), at least until the end of this year. I would, however, have crossed from one nation state into another and be an immigrant.
I am an immigrant to Morpeth and the truth is that, unless you live in the house you were born in, we are all immigrants from somewhere. We are all foreigners to someone else and, given the circumstances, we are all in a minority to others. Yet immigration only becomes a problem when it is considered in terms of international borders, lines drawn on a map at some point in history for the purposes of control.
Immigration is caused by two major global issues, war and economic inequality, both of which this country has its grubby dabs on. The majority of people migrate either to escape conflict or to improve their lives. What sort of crimes are those?
Neither of these two issues are going to be resolved soon but what we can do is to improve education about the causes of mass immigration, the meaning of asylum, the international conventions behind its control and the political forces using it as a convenient bandwagon.
We are all immigrants from somewhere, it just depends upon where you draw the line.