FAQ: migration campaign
Some questions and answers about our migration campaign.
Global Justice Now is working to build a world where people are not forced to move from their homes because of poverty, inequality, war, exploitation or other injustices. In a fairer world like this, the vision of open borders doesn’t seem so radical – as people are far less likely to be forced to leave their homes in the first place.
We do, however, have a long way to go before this vision is achieved. This means that, while we are not proposing that we open all borders tomorrow, we cannot turn a blind eye to the hardships people are facing around the world, nor can we simply build fences to hide from the reality of global injustices. We must address the needs of people in the here and now, which is why we are fighting for the rights of people fleeing horrors like war or moving to the UK to seek a better quality of life.
It’s important to remember that for UK passport holders there is already almost complete freedom to travel the world, as well as numerous opportunities to live and work in other countries. While they may have to pass some security checks, they are not faced with barbed-wire fences, armed guards and pepper spray. The people who rail against migration rarely argue that people from the UK should have limited rights to migrate. If the UK economy were to drastically decline, many UK citizens might seek a better future in another country – they would expect this right so how can the UK deny this opportunity to others with the ‘wrong’ passports?
You can see some of our initial ideas in our briefing on the Freedom of movement in our briefing Migrant crisis or poverty crisis?
No, we don’t think so. We believe that, as one of the richest global economies, the hardships facing many people in the UK are down to money being in the wrong hands – not those of migrants or refugees - but of corporate elites.
The argument that immigration leads to strains on public services is not backed up by fact (in fact, services like our NHS would collapse were it not for migrant workers). It also ignores the reality that a much greater threat to our public services is the government’s harsh austerity programme that have left services like our NHS and libraries crumbling from lack of funding.
While many argue that migrants take jobs from UK citizens, or lower wages, this too is not supported by the evidence. One study by the London School of Economics found that there was no effect from immigration on wages or unemployment. While another study from the Bank of England showed only minimal impacts on wages from migration, and it was isolated to only certain low-skilled service sector jobs.
It’s true that, too often, migration has ended up disproportionately affecting areas already impoverished and marginalised. Clearly this can cause problems which are not the fault of migrants but rather, a problem of inequality and under-investment within the UK as well as down to a lack of workers’ rights. Again, the answer lies in government policy, not blaming migrants: a clearer plan for how to settle migrants, a better spread of investment around the country and, crucially, better laws on workers’ rights so that unscrupulous employers can’t use migrants to undercut other workers.
We believe freedom of movement should be a right for everybody. In light of Brexit, there have been increasing concerns over these rights for both for UK citizens wanting to travel, live and work in the EU, and for EU nationals in the UK.
Global Justice Now has been working with campaign group Another Europe is Possible to push for as many elements of EU freedom of movement to remain as possible after Brexit. We ultimately want to extend freedom of movement to people from countries outside the EU as part of a much more just world, but we won’t achieve that if we start by dismantling the freedom of movement that we have.
While some people flee from persecution, conflict or violence, others take the difficult decision to leave their homes because of poverty, inequality or injustices. In countries where poverty is rife because of global economic injustices, we believe that people should have the right to move elsewhere in search of a better quality of life. Many people from the UK take the decision to move to other parts of the world in search of a different lifestyle, and this is a right that many take for granted. We believe that the right to seek a better life shouldn’t be reserved for those with certain passports, but should be applicable to everyone. While we build longer-term and more holistic solution to poverty, it would surely not be right for us to suggest denying people an exit from poverty in the here and now.
According to the latest offender management statistics published by the Home Office:
“There were 9,756 (1,633 remand, 6,792 sentenced and 1,331 non-criminal) foreign nationals held in custody and HMPPS-operated Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) as at 30 June 2017; representing 11% of the total prison population.”If you subtract the number of ‘non-criminal’ foreign nationals held in prisons (as they aren’t ones incarcerated because of criminal activity) the total is 8,425 prisoners, amounting to a little under 9.5% of the total prison population.
According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory the proportion of people living in the UK who are foreign born (latest figures available for 2015, but we don’t expect this to have moved significantly over the past two years) is 13.5%.
These two referenced facts would suggest a lower crime rate amongst foreign nationals in the UK.
And below are some questions and anwers about our campaign M&S stop funding the Daily Mail.
M&S is a company that prides itself on having ethical principles underlying its business, yet it runs regular promotions and advertisements with the Daily Mail which is a paper that is renowned for promoting hateful messages about migrants and refugees. We think that associating itself with a paper that promotes xenophobic messages, undermines the company's social responsibility strategy called ‘Plan A’. You can ready about M&S’s ethical and environmental policy on its website. We would like to see all major high-street brands stop funding the Daily Mail, and given M&S’s commitment to being an ethical company we feel that it is well placed to set an example in which others can follow.
It is not common practice for companies to make their advertising contracts public and therefore we do not know the value of the advertising contract. But we do know that regular readers of the Daily Mail are entitled to discount vouchers at M&S via the MyMail loyalty scheme.
No. We think there is a strong distinction between legitimising hate speech and exercising the right to freedom of expression. We strongly believe in the right to freedom of speech. But as long as there are people (and newspapers) promoting hate speech, xenophobia and racism, then we will remain committed to opposing it.
The campaign group Stop Funding Hate has made impressive headway in calling on well-known brands to stop funding newspapers that promote hate. Keeping in the spirit of the work started by Stop Funding Hate, Global Justice Now has decided to run a campaign focusing specifically on M&S and its advertising in the Daily Mail. We know that Stop Funding Hate are happy for as many campaigners as possible to get involved in any way they can to support the important work that they got off the ground. This is our part in what we hope will become a campaign to make it unacceptable for companies to fund hateful media.