Unless you’ve been living under a rock this last few weeks, you will be aware that the current hot topic is the increased number of “illegal immigrants” putting pressure on EU borders. The fact the situation has escalated over the summer months, resulting in thousands of needless deaths has pushed the situation to the for front of our attention, and it’s left the continent divided over how to deal with the increasing number of these “illegals”, mostly led by Syrians fleeing war in their homeland.
Now, while there is a hell of a lot to be discussed around this topic, I simply want to make one point, can we agree to STOP REFERRING TO THESE PEOPLE AS ILLEGAL? Negative terminologies like that only help to fuel social tensions and it turns these Refugees… Asylum Seekers… People, into scapegoats for other problems that we as a nation face.
These aren’t people risking their lives, their children’s lives and their futures to come and take our pittance of a minimum wage jobs, to use our apparently broken NHS system and to sit around claiming benefits in a 4 bed council house (that, may I add, they couldn’t claim even if they wanted to!).
These are people fleeing there country because there homes, schools, hospitals and entire towns are being ripped apart by war, families are being slaughter and entire races of people are being massacred in the streets. They are being forced from their homes through no fault of their own and are living through situations you and I would struggle to comprehend.
The crime many of these refugees are guilty of was committed the second they crossed the border at an improper time and place. The individual, once over the border is no longer doing anything illegal. If you get a speeding ticket on your way home, are you labelled as an “illegal” for the rest of your life? No. So why should these individual, in their time of need be tarnished with such a negative connotation?
When you label a human-being as “illegal” you are saying the person, not the actions that person has taken, is illegal. The term is implying that the very existence of that person, simply by being alive, is a criminal act. By using the term, you are dehumanising the individual and helping generate hatred, animosity and tension towards the individual.