UK: a hot seat for immigrants

The United Kingdom (UK) is facing challenges in dealing with the issue of immigration – especially in relations with Muslim immigrants. Muslims think immigration policies do not favor them, while officials find it absurb for the government to habor people who may be “threats” to  internal security.

Birmingham is one of those places where immigration is a hot topic.


“We have a hotbed of support in the city which I put down to the fact that they have a massive problem of appeasement to Islam,” English Defense League leader Tommy Robinson told CNN. “People are fed up with what’s going on in that city,” he said.

“Any politicians in power who are Islamic are working for the Islamic community … purely for Islam. We have no representatives, no voices — no people fighting our corner. There is a massive gap between politicians and us — they have no idea about working class communities,” Robinson said.

“We don’t condone violence but we do promote defending ourselves. Violence doesn’t solve anything but we want to defeat militant Islam. Immigration has made this country a better place, but we have to see people wanting to integrate. If you’re against our flag and western democracy, then leave our country. Islamic immigration is destroying our country,” Robinson said.

While 80 percent of its 50 million people are native born, England has large communities of Scots (nearly ten percent), Irish, and Welsh in its border counties and about two million Asian Indians, Pakistani, West Indians, and other nonwhite peoples in its large cities. These Asian and Caribbean groups settled in England during and after the collapse of the British empire in the last half century. London, with a population approaching seven million, is the capital of England and the United Kingdom.

“As Britain is a member of the EU, it is impossible to control immigration from the continent, so the government has turned its attention to people coming into the UK from non-EU countries,” BBC reported.

 As the world globalizes in terms of nations’ economies, trade and investment, borders are opened up more easily for “freer” flow of goods and products. People are supposedly freer to move around the world, too.

People immigrate from one country to another for a variety of complex reasons. Some are forced to move, due to conflict or to escape persecution and prejudices, while others may voluntarily immigrate. Although such a move may be necessary, it can be quite traumatic on top of the challenges experienced so far.

From another perspective, immigration can also represent an act of courage. For example, moving to a different country with different culture and norms can be quite daunting; the potential loneliness to be suffered is not always easy to overcome, there may be the additional pressure to earn enough to live and send back meager savings  home.

Immigration can have positive and negative impacts on both the host (recipient) country, and the original country. For instance, a migrant worker often work longer hours and for lower salaries, and while that is controversial, sometimes exploitive, it benefits the host country. On the other hand, immigrants can be exploited for a cheap labor of the recipient’s country.

Immigration should be encouraged everywhere.  There should be honest consideration of asylum and immigration issues and it should involve a far more diverse range of topics like nationalism, sovereignty, racism, demography, human rights, arms sales, war, refugee health, economic policy and moral responsibility etc., reflecting the complexity of contemporary national and global relations.

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