Turning a blind eye to migrants makes us all complicit – Student Shout

HMS Mersey on patrol in the English channel near Dover in Kent.
HMS Mersey on patrol in the English channel near Dover in Kent.

By Sam Brooke, a journalism student at Highbury College

Recent news of refugees crossing the Channel has added fire to the debate over our borders.

Who should we let in? Should we prioritise the people who need help most, or the highly skilled?

Why should any kind of immigration be illegal? 

We hear reports all the time of ‘illegal immigrants’ being found and deported – but can a human really be illegal?

It doesn’t seem fair to label someone a second-class citizen just because they didn’t happen to be born here.

Criminalising immigrants dehumanises them. We only need to look to Trump’s America, where crying children were separated from their parents at the border to see how dangerous that can be.

We shouldn’t be turning back refugees who are desperate enough to make perilous boat journeys to the English coast. We all know the dangers these people are fleeing. Ignoring their cries for help makes us complicit in their suffering.

Only about 100 refugees arrived over the Christmas period – enough to ignore, sure. But that won’t always be the case.

Climate change, for one, means that immigration will increase even more in the future. As the Earth heats up, some places will become uninhabitable, and that means more refugees.

We won’t be able to ignore refugees then, even though we’re separated by the sea.

Opening our borders is nothing to be afraid of, though. Britain is already a multicultural country – think about how boring our lives would be if we didn’t experience the cuisines and cultures from all over the world that we do every day.

Change and the unknown is a scary thing, but if we welcome migrants with open arms and make an effort to meet others from different walks of life, we’ll soon see that we can all get along just fine.

After all, we were lucky enough to be born here.

Sam Brooke is a journalism student at Highbury College