Monday, 3 August 2015

Illegal Immigrants

No doubt like many other people, I find the whole business at Calais (and also in those boats crossing the Med) distressing, degrading and very disturbing.

The issues of immigration are complex and it is easy to say that we just don't want them here and that the whole problem should go away.

This morning there is an excellent - and interesting - article in Times 2 about Dominique Mollard who paid hundreds of dollars to get on to a 14m dinghy with 38 African migrants in order to film the experience.   The results I understand are terrifying (at least 1721 people died in the first four months of this year attempting the crossing).

The mix of people is itself interesting - a widow with a five month old baby, a graduate who just wants a job.  The voyage doesn't go well and what should have lasted for five days meant twelve days at sea with only a bucket for toilet facilities and sea sickness as well.

Many people don't expect to make the journey alive and most of them know that they will get a rough reception if they do.   But they are desperate.

He did manage to find out that one African mother and her baby did succeed and the mother got a job as nanny for a Spanish family in Morocco (the journey across the Med was not successful) and now lives in Spain with her daughter now eight years old and doing well.

When you see the immigrants at the Channel Tunnel you see just how young they are  and also how desperate.  You see how they are disrupting the traffic and making these huge illegal camps.   

We are all protective of our own territory.   I too do not like folk encroaching on my own personal space - none of us do.   I don't know what the answer is.   What I do know is that if I was an African mum of a graduate son I would be proud of his achievement and if he decided to chance his arm although I wouldn't want him to I would back his attempt, even though I knew I would probably never see him again.

Mollard suggests the answer lies in providing more help of the right kind in Africa.  Any money which rich countries put in should be carefully monitored for building factories, small companies and spending any money wisely.

When we see this distressing scene night after night on our TV News Screen we know that somehow, sooner or later, a solution has to be found.   He reminds us that a few generations ago folk were leaving the UK to go to America, so the problem is not new.

Please don't think I am condoning any of it - I just find the whole thing distressing, the conditions squalid, the horror of mothers and tiny babies so desperate that they will take to these awful boats.

What is the answer?

23 comments:

Elizabeth said...

My feelings are much as yours. I will try to find the article you mention.
No one would undertake such a perilous journey unless quite desperate.
The traffickers - extorting money from desperate people who can ill afford it - are most obviously criminal.
Can Britain/the US/the richer nations simply open their doors? Obviously not.
But what can we do? So horribly sad.

Heather said...

I share your concerns Pat and find those people's sheer desperation very distressing. The answer must lie in the countries from which they are fleeing, but goodness knows what it is.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

It's probably a Pan-African solution...there must be countries on the continent that need workers, countries with rapidly developing economies. The worry is that these folk would end up in virtual slvary however, likem the folk you hear about working in construction in the Emirates

Cro Magnon said...

Of course our foreign aid should be used for creating JOBS. If these people had secure well paid jobs, and a stable government, they would all be perfectly happy to stay where they were born; who wouldn't. Unfortunately the fact that they are all fleeing their home countries tells us that this isn't the case. Goodness knows what the solution is.

The History Anorak said...

Unfortunately I'm becoming increasingly hard-hearted about the whole thing. They interviewed one guy a few nights ago who said he had to get away from the violence and fear in his own country. Which was all very well, except he'd left his wife and child back home still facing it. I think if some of them put as much effort into changing things back home as they do intimidating UK-bound traffic in Calais the world would be a better place altogether. I have no problem with genuine asylum seekers, but the mob we see on TV every night doesn't seem to include too many of them.

Joanne Noragon said...

We just don't know an answer to correcting corrupt governments, and so people will escape by any means they learn of until some tipping point occurs. I wonder what that will be.

Gwil W said...

There are economic migrants and there are refugees and young people escaping regimes of various stripes. Last night in Jeremy Irons' documentary film 'Trashed' I saw a Palestinian man who fled to Lebanon 35 years ago scavenging on a 40 meter high cliff of rubbish right next to the sea. A man, old beyond his years, in search of a future he represented all categories.

Maywyn Studio said...

I think the answer is dependent on finding ways to fight violence and corruption in Africa so the economies there can embrace their work force with jobs, opportunities, and safe living.

John Gray said...

Well siad pat, the whole thing smacks of despiration and i hate the way the media whips up hysteria about it all

Mac n' Janet said...

I understand that the people who are desperate will keep coming, our border keeps out no one. We have millions of illegals here. I'm not crazy about it, but it's a fact. I assume we have to assimilate them because they aren't leaving. But instead we make accommodations for them, things are given to them, they don't have to learn English and I get the privilege of paying for it.
I don't know what the answer is, I'm not sure there is one.

donna baker said...

There was an old man in Galveston, probably 30 years ago, who saw a Mexican immigrant eat a banana peel someone had thrown down. He was so moved, he began collecting left over food from restaurants and grocery stores to feed the illegal immigrants and became quite a name for his kindness. The Border Angel he was called and I remember reading when he died of cancer. I always go back to the old saying, "you can't save the world, but do what you can."

A Heron's View said...

Yes, well stated Pat.

One would never guess that we who live on this planet are all connected and are a single species. No, instead we hear the members divide themselves into cliques by colour, by religion, by nationality and oh I nearly forgot to mention by their individual wealth.

The borders of nations are merely artificially created spaces.

I find it all so frustrating this immature and preposterous situation of 'You can't play (live) in my garden' Why the hell can't we share our space with those who need to relocate because of war and famine.

When is this human race of ours going to grow up and stop behaving like spoilt brats!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

As I remember it we invaded their country first. One thing I'm sure of: Mr Cameron's genius solution of building a bigger fence is not going to lead to any of them shrugging their shoulders, turning around and heading back to Africa.

Rachel said...

Eritrea needs to sort itself out so that the boys aren't running away from their country's National Service which is what they are doing. That might help but of course it is not going to happen in a long time. Asylum seekers are supposed to seek asylum in the first country they land in that is safe. The UK is not the first country they land in that is safe. (I assume that France is safe). The UK is a rich country to which these people want to come of course but France and Italy should also be prepared to help instead of constantly shoving people our way. It needs a joint, and friendly solution and fast. Where is the church in all this? Perhaps Justin Welby could organise some missionaries to go to Calais.

jinxxxygirl said...

I'm afraid i'am very hard hearted when it comes to illegal immigration... I say all the illegal immigrants residing in the US using up all our resources should be made to leave ... not assimilated and 'oh thats okay all is forgiven' type attitude. Instead we feed them, clothe them, send them to school, give them driver's licenses .... Why can't they come legally? If there is something wrong with the system then we need to fix it... If we are going to have a border then it needs to be a REAL border.... fence, wall ... whatever... Sooner or later and i rather think sooner the scale is going to tip .. if it hasnt' all ready... that this will not be a good nation for anyone to live in and it will just as bad as the place they left... We cannot let that happen... To become an American citizen used to be a big deal... You had to learn English and at least some of our history... becoming an American citizen used to evoke a sense of pride and a love of a new country but now i just feel its all about .. what can you give me... America was built on immigrants , its who we are.... a nation of many nationalities brought together to live under one roof and i think that is beautiful.... but its not working any more.. we are overloaded.... and it sounds like we are not alone.... My husband always says they need to stay and fix there own country instead of running away to ours....I don't know what the answer is .....does anybody? Hugs! deb

Hildred said...

A very sad and complex situation. One is torn between pity and compassion and the need to keep one's own country on an even keel by obeying the laws of immigration.

Jennifer said...

This comment best sums up my feelings. Well said.

Jeri Landers said...

I agree with Jinnxygirl and Maywyn. The countries these immigrants come from have corrupt governments and atrocious living conditions for many, BUT if the same effort that is put into the mass migration were put into FIXING one's own country,we would see a lot less of this huge problem.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Yes, it is hideous. The solution is $$, but in giving $$ we are hearing that the corruption is also hideous, and most of the money lines the pockets of the few, and nothing at all is done to help the people in this plight. Of course, here in Texas & the entire USA, we have the illegals from Mexico & farther down South to contend with.
They do not blend in with anyone. They remain ignorant, doing only what gets them by, they don't try to learn our language. If I hire a housekeeper they will speak Spanish and expect me to pay $80 a day for a few hours of work. It is horrible. And, then the crime they bring along. I don't know what will happen, all I know is that I, personally, cannot help anything. It is a governmental problem. All governments, worldwide. Great post !!

Tom Stephenson said...

The cause is the answer, but there is no quick way to undo history.

Frances said...

My ancestors go back quite a few years in the States. And yet, of course Native Americans were here long before even Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Sometimes folks forget about how their own ancestors might have been immigrants from afar.

Some have traveled for reasons of faith, some for economic potential, some for political freedom, some for love. There are many reasons for moving across national borders.

I doubt that any "solution" to this recurrent story will ever be found. Much sadness and sorrow has gone along with these movements for centuries.

Why would one wish to leave his/her country for another?

So many reasons. Why should another country welcome these folks? There's the tough question.

xo

Cro Magnon said...

I now hear that the Italians are giving their immigrants free train tickets up to Calais.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for joining in the debate - lots of thoughtful answers here which of course don't begin to answer the problem. Is there an answer? I doubt it at the moment.