Politicians and newspaper editors have convinced many people in Britain that it is a ‘soft touch’ for foreigners who want to settle here illegally or live off benefits. In reality, a harsh immigration system hurts families and damages society.
As Ekklesia's 2007 report "When the Saints Go Marching Out', reissued in 2010 (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11944) pointed out, and as others have subsequently affirmed, St George is not primarily "an English Saint", as popular assumption has it, but a Middle Eastern one with international, multicultural associations and a founding story about resistance to the persecutory impulse of Empire.
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick accused staff at Harmondsworth removal centre of "a shocking lack of humanity" after two gravely ill men were kept in handcuffs. For 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac, who had dementia, these were not removed until after his heart stopped beating. Such cases show the damaging effects of xenophobia.
The Movement Against Xenophobia is a new campaign, promoted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and its allies, aimed at countering the vicious anti-immigrant discourse of mainstream politics in the UK.
It has often been said that there ought to be no such thing as an 'illegal' human being. Yet this language is used frequently and potently in relation to migration. Simon Barrow previews a film that looks at the issue from a human and historical point of view.