The new quarterly bulletin for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has just been sent off the printers – with the digital version expected to drop into members’ email inbox tomorrow. The bulletin will examine the new government’s first actions on migration and asylum and tell you everything you want to know about the succes of the I Love Migrants campaign so far. As a teaser, this is the welcome article. If you would like a copy, join JCWI now. If you would like to know more about the organisation, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a joining pack.
Theresa May famously said the Conservatives must change public perception that the Tories are “the nasty party”. As Home Secretary and also minister for equalities she seems already to be doing an extraordinarily bad job.
The Conservative-led Government is constructing reintegration centres for unaccompanied children in war-torn Afghanistan and at the same time chartering private planes to force people back to the rubble of Iraq without public scrutiny.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke, is forcing the Refugee and Migrant Justice charity into administration by delaying payment of the legal aid they have earned defending people’s human rights.
Immigration minister Damian Green has presented the policy as a way of encouraging integration and preventing mainly women migrants from being isolated. The ‘dog whistle’ message is also clear: we don’t like people speaking foreign.
And in terms of broader policy, Green is busy working out how to implement the cap on economic immigration by people born outside the European Union.
The cap won the Conservatives cheers from Migration Watch during the election but as we go to press there is still no indication if this limit is absolute or simply an aspiration.
Will we really see the Conservatives turning away professional footballers on the basis that with a population of more than 60 million people we have no room for one more?
How things have changed since the white South African Zola Budd won citizenship from a Conservative government following a campaign by, erm, the Daily Mail.
It already seems a very long time since this same government announced the end of detention of children for immigration purposes. But will this be the last time the Liberal Democrats in government influence immigration policy? And why are these children still being held today?
The future in terms of the debate around immigration seems bleak. Even immediately after the election the leadership candidates for the Labour party still want to ‘talk tough’ against this softest of targets.
This is why our I Love Migrants campaign is vital. Those who understand the demonstrable benefits of migration need a voice and need to campaign together and help empower migrants themselves.
We need to influence the broader debate in which policy and law are crystallised. Unless we start to shame those politicians and newspaper editors who continue to spread misinformation and slander against migrants we will never meaningfully persuade ‘host’ communities to support each lobbying initiative.
I Love Migrants has proved more successful than we at JCWI had dared hoped. Our work so far provides an excellent foundation for lobbying government and campaigning with migrants. We invite you to get involved in strategising the future of this work.