Monday, 8 February 2010

Support for Swiss move to regularise children

From a Swiss news website:

Political support is growing to improve the plight of thousands of children of illegal immigrants who have spent most of their lives in Switzerland.

An estimated 10-30,000 young “sans papiers” live in Switzerland without legal status. They can attend the state school system, but as a rule only until 16 - the end of compulsory schooling. Professional training and apprenticeships are out of reach.

“It really is a ticking social time bomb,” Green Party parliamentarian Antonio Hodgers told“We let these young people finish their [compulsory] schooling but give them no training prospects or access to a job even if they grow up here.”

At the end of last year Hodgers filed a motion at the House of Representatives pushing for young sans papiers to have access to professional training and for those born in Switzerland to be legally recognised.

His proposal, which has cross-party support, urges the government to apply the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to the children of illegal immigrants. Switzerland ratified the pact in 1997.

“I invite the government to read Article 2 of the convention, which states that children should not be victims of the legal status of their parents,” he said.“Someone who decides to live illegally in a country knows that it’s going to be tough, but that’s their choice which they have to assume. “But a child hasn’t made that choice; they just followed their parents, so they shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ decision.”

Brent Council backs Strangers into Citizens

Brent Council became the sixth London local authority (including the GLA) to pass a motion in favour of Strangers into Citizens.

From the Harrow Observer:

Between 500,000 and 950,000 visa over-stayers and failed asylum seekers
have made new lives in the UK; it would take about 34 years and £8billion to
forcibly remove them all, say the Lib-Dems.
More than 69 per cent of Brent residents were born outside the UK and about 20,000 illegal immigrants in the borough are unaccounted for.
Because the allocation of budgets depends on these statistics, councils such as Brent lose out in the distribution of resources such as education and housing.
A spokesman for London Citizens, which is running the campaign, said: "The existence of a large shadow population living outside the law makes it especially hard for councils like Brent, which have many more people living in the area than official statistics identify. "We are delighted that Brent has added its name to the growing list of councils across London which support the Strangers into Citizens call."

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Tower Hamlets support Strangers into Citizens

Good news from East London - Tower Hamlets Council have passed a motion officially endorsing the Strangers into Citizens campaign. They are the fifth local authority to give their support to the campaign, following the example set by Lambeth, Lewisham, the GLA and Oxford. Read more about it here - and encourage your local council to do the same!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Strangers into Citizens on the Fourth Plinth!

At 6pm last night, Strangers into Citizens was featured on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Supporter Giuseppe Spadone, from Yorkshire, had an hour on the plinth as part of the ongoing One and Other project, and chose to use it to publicise our call for the regularisation of long-term undocumented migrants.

With music, flags and banners - and the curious questions of lots of passers-by - it was certainly a memorable hour. Thanks to Giuseppe for using his spot to support Strangers into Citizens.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Belgian regularisation begins - and Ireland introduces "bridging visas"

Belgium's regularization programme began on Tuesday and will continue until the middle of December, during which time thousands of undocumented migrants will be brought back within the scope of the law. Like the Strangers into Citizens proposal, eligibility rests on length of stay in the country, ability to speak the language, and integration into the community.

Ireland has also recognised the need to bring undocumented migrants out of the shadows, by confirming earlier this week that they will be introducing "bridging visas". Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern announced that these visas, which give temporary legal residence, will be available for people who have become undocumented "through no fault of their own". Read more about it here - another country recognising the need for routes out of irregularity.

The Independent

Long-time ally of Strangers into Citizens, Independent journalist Amol Rajan discusses the campaign in this piece in today's Independent. It is only regularisation that will shrink the size of the UK's informal economy - as the piece notes, undocumented migrants are much less likely to return home than those who are here legally, and are more likely to be employed in less productive areas of the economy.

The arguments for regularisation are diverse and many: now it is time for politicians to respond to them.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Over a hundred MPs sign Strangers EDM

The number of MPs signing the Strangers into Citizens Early Day motion calling for the regularisation of long-term undocumented migrants has reached 105. The MPs are from all three parties, showing again how broad is the spectrum of support for Strangers into Citizens.

There are more than 600 MPs in Parliament so we still have some way to go. In the run-up to next year's general election there will be plenty of opportunity to press our case.