ImmImmigration debate - last week’s letter lacking in factual evidence

Rita Boswell’s recent letter ‘a problem of control’ is certainly crammed full of examples of different groups of ‘foreigners’ whom she considers are ‘overwhelming’ her former home in North West London.

However the letter is sorely lacking in both factual evidence and humanity.

Firstly her perception that being ‘frequently the only white person on the bus’ was evidence that the area was overtaken by foreigners may well be a false one. How did she know they were not born and bred black British?

As Jonathan Portas, Director of the National Institute for Economic Research commented in a recent article, ‘The fact that black, Asian, or even mixed race people born here were not perceived as real Londoners, would horrify many London citizens’. People’s perceptions of an area often do not conform to the facts. In Brixton, for example, perceived in a recent opinion poll to be a ‘black area’, actually only 38% of the population are from ethnic minorities.

She talks of ‘misuse of our facilities’ but is she aware that migrants contribute 35% more to the treasury in taxes than they take out in benefits?

Then she complains of untold numbers of ‘illegal immigrants’. The term ‘immigrant’ is a blanket term covering a range of people: migrant workers from the EU, visitors, students and non-EU workers, refugees entitled to stay here, and asylum seekers who have a right to claim asylum under the 1951 Geneva Convention (which the UK signed). None is an ‘illegal immigrant’. All have a right to be here. There are a small number of people who enter the country illegally, often trafficked and some who overstay their authorisation but the pejorative and emotive term ‘illegal immigrant’ is completely misleading in reality.

Surely people ‘of other nationalities’, usually here legitimately, and sometimes having fled persecution in their own countries, have a right to be in doctors’ surgeries? Why does the fact that women were wearing “niqabs” bar them from medicine or make them less deserving of health services?

Despite her claim that some of her ‘friends’ are ‘immigrants’, Rita Boswell has acted on her apparently xenophobic instincts and fled to a white area.

I, and many friends have also moved to this area from diversely populated London. She may be surprised to learn that we miss the richness of that diversity.

Val Simanowitz

Lewes