Ever since it began as we know it 115 years ago with the introduction of the 1905 Aliens Act, the immigration debate hasn’t stopped. And it hasn’t changed much either. At various points throughout history, we’ve seen checks constrict and expand, usually spurred on by explosions of xenophobia, with a different group slotting into place as public enemy number one each time.
In the UK, this “debate” has raged on for far longer than I’ve been alive. And each time it rears its ugly head, it is overrun with misinformation. The same myths that keep us apart as people, that convince us that some of us are more deserving of humane treatment than others, are precisely how we’ve exacerbated issues like the ongoing migrant crisis. It’s the reason we allow mass removals of asylum seekers to go unchecked in the public conscience.
Prejudice alone has become an acceptable form of reasoning behind locking people up indefinitely, leaving them to die and forcing people out of the country, under the guise of helping UK citizens. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Immigration has always enriched us all, including those who make the painstaking journeys to get here. Needless restrictions have not. So, in order to relay that message in an accessible and interesting way, I felt so compelled to bring as many voices on the issue together as possible. Alien Nation, the Voices desk’s latest series, aims to do just that.
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