[noborders-brum] making a statement about Amnesty

phunkee phunkee at riseup.net
Mon Jun 25 14:53:20 UTC 2007

Shiar wrote:

>On Sun, June 24, 2007 4:48 am, phunkee wrote:
>>Following the rally yesterday which we're mentioned as a 'supporting
>>group', shouldn't we make a statement about our position on Amnestys?
>So I've put together a quick draft (basically based on the London
>Noborders leaflet from a while ago). Below is the text. For easy reading,
>see here
There's been some changes that are documented on the same page.
Essentially we are concerned that talk of an amnesty is purely 
speculative and fosters even more precarity.

Here they are in full:

Birmingham NoBorders statement on asylum amnesties

In light of the national (now mainstream) campaign demanding an amnesty 
for some, selected asylum seekers[1], and even more radical campaigns 
demanding a general amnesty for all, Birmingham NoBorders would like to 
stress a few points related to asylum amnesties.

Not all amnesties are the same. Those campaigning for one need to 
consider what kind of amnesty or regularisation they want. Some 
amnesties may cause great suffering and consequently result in 
strengthening the immigration system.

An amnesty is not a long term solution because it does not affect the 
causes of immigration. Those arriving after an amnesty would still be 
declared 'illegal', forced to work illegally for sweatshop wages and be 
subject to detention, destitution and deportation. There is also a real 
danger that an amnesty could open the door for stronger immigration 
controls for those who don’t "make the grade" or who arrive after an 
amnesty ends.[2] It is also worth noting that the government has 
repeatedly ruled out the prospect of an amnesty for failed asylum 
seekers, so raising false hopes doesn't really help people.[3]

While asylum amnesties may give some security to limited numbers of 
migrants living in precarious conditions, they are by no means 
universal. A campaign for amnesty could, at best, be the basis for a 
wider campaign against the unfairness of the immigration system itself. 
While we do support the demands of asylum seekers, over-stayers and 
migrants in general to improve their lives, we want to make sure that 
all migrants are aware of the dangers inherent in amnesties and the 
specific dangers concealed in some of the proposals that are being 
bandied around.

We, at Birmingham NoBorders, believe that we need not just an amnesty 
but the complete abolition of immigration controls. We believe that 
no-one is illegal and migration cannot and should not be "managed". Any 
attempt to strengthen immigration controls is futile in the face of the 
wars, political repression, global exploitation, gender inequalities and 
environmental destruction that drive migration. "Stronger" immigration 
controls only cause massive suffering and reinforce racist ideas.[4]


[1] Strangers into Citizens is calling for a "pathway into citizenship", 
via a two-year work permit, for migrants who have been in the UK for 
more than four years. The campaign has the backing of leading church 
figures, trade unions, the Mayor of London and some businesses. For more 
information, see http://www.strangersintocitizens.org.uk

[2] "Naturalisation programmes" have been carried out by many European 
countries in the past. Since 1981, there have been more than 20 
"regularisations" in France, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, 
Portugal and Spain. Most, if not all, of these were followed by mass 
deportations and new, stricter immigration controls.

[3] See here 
and here 
for example.

[4] The new Borders Bill already allocated more funds and powers to the 
new Border and Immigration Agency to "deter, detect and deport those 
breaking the rules and ensure that those foreign nationals legally in 
the UK play their part in upholding the rules."

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