Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Refugees: justice delayed is justice denied

It occurred to me when posting yesterday's piece about food parcels that mid-twentieth-century opinion in the US was divided. For Bob Hope and his conservative friends, Brits were whining scroungers, taking undeserved advantage of Uncle Sam's generosity. (As the son of immigrant English and Welsh parents, Hope was a great example of the "pull up the ladder, Jack" syndrome.) To thankfully rather more of his fellow-citizens, the poor people of Britain had fought on the Home Front to keep the world safe from dictatorship and needed support in their time of great need.

Similarly today David Cameron categorises all would-be immigrants to the UK as free-loaders taking advantage of the thriving economy created by the Conservative long-term economic plan. (Of course, he neglects to mention that national debt continues to grow and that most migrants prefer to go to the more successful economy of Germany.) Liberals would give the benefit of the doubt to the brave souls who have endured incredible dangers and privations in fleeing their homelands to reach Europe.

The truth must lie in between. Surely most reasonable people would endorse border controls which facilitated the speedy acceptance of genuine refugees, for as long as they need our shelter, while resisting the claims of others to settle unless they had special qualities to bring to our society or genuine close links to Britain?

The true crime of the Home Office has been the extraordinary delay in examining the cases of probable refugees. The relevant agencies have been under-resourced both in terms of numbers and in expertise, resulting not only in leaving claimants in limbo, living on a pittance and barred from any paid employment, for an appalling length of time but also in refugees suffering poor decisions at the end of their wait.

No comments: