The Movement against Xenophobia (MAX) has started a crowd-sourcing appeal for a campaign which it hopes will see posters displayed on all National Rail stations and on tube stations. The aim is to promote a much-needed positive image of the crucial contribution made by immigrants to Britain. As the campaign points out, if all immigrants stopped working, Britain would quickly grind to a halt. The posters will feature fifteen migrants, including a few celebrities, from different occupations and all walks of life, such as health service professionals, teachers, cleaners, tube/bus drivers, business entrepreneurs, journalists and lawyers. They will be photographed by Vogue photographer Philip Volkers.
The campaign is being led by Saira Grant of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. You can watch her explain the aims here. I am working with Saira and other organisations to monitor the effects of immigration checks on new tenants in the private rented sector, currently taking place only in parts of the West Midlands but soon to be rolled out nationally if we don’t succeed in showing how damaging and discriminatory these checks are. As Don Flynn argues this week, this is just one measure in a tranche of greater bureaucracy affecting migrants which, combined with increasing surveillance of newcomers and growing indifference to the plight of refugees (even when we have contributed to the wars from which they are fleeing), adds up to a much more hostile environment for foreign nationals entering or living in Britain.
I am an immigrant (albeit to a country which has made me very welcome), so I have contributed a tenner to the campaign. Please consider doing the same. Which of us isn’t an immigrant somewhere back along the line?