solace_aderyn: (Seeking Solace)
[personal profile] solace_aderyn
Daily Mail/Daily Express readers, look away now.

Email from the local Sergeant: it began, "This is an ongoing problem that [Council] is taking very seriously." I have to say, I laughed when I read that :-(

It turns out that the large majority of the rough sleepers are not UK born or have British citizenship, and are in fact Eastern European. The police are aware, as are the UK Border Agency, and have been visiting over the last few weeks to serve paperwork informing them of appointments for deportation as they've breached immigration rules. "I have little doubt that most will fail to attend appointments and as such will be circulated as being liable for arrest... We will continue to come down and move people on but we are more than aware that they return later in the day. Please call us on our team mobile [with number here] and we will come straight down."

So, my boss' suspicions were right. Looks like they've deliberately moved here, on the basis that even begging will get them more cash than a job would in their native countries. Over the next few weeks they're going to be arrested and sent back.

I would think of her as a bit of a right winger, were it not for that she's from Eastern Europe herself.

It certainly doesn't paint a good picture for the large majority of immigrants here. It's furthered by a story from someone in my family, who works with am Eastern European man; he's been awarded a 4 bedroom house by the local council, in which his family lives... for 3 months a year. Rest of the time, they're in their home country. He also works 12 hours a week, so eligible for benefits. And it's all legal. My sister is now facing raising a very large family in a 3 room bungalow - no, not three bedroom, three room - which is fitted for disabled people. It could go to someone else, but it can't right now because they have nowhere else to go. Rent prices are rising, and the allowance for housing benefit is falling. Neither she nor her partner can't or won't play the system: twins are on the way, but they don't count until they're a year old. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Thing is, I still have nothing against people who are not born here, but want to live here. My first, enduring and continuing experience of immigrants is that of positivity, learning and affection. I have been introduced to mannerisms, music, food and cultures that when combined form a picture of differing decency, respect and often fun. I am proud that my current partner is an immigrant, someone who is not British by birth, but chose to be by working hard. I am proud that I live and work with and love people who make the most of their choices and opportunities. I am proud that every single one of my colleagues is from Eastern Europe.

To these people, difference is what makes them and the country I am born in and that they live in such a great place. Their skills, intelligence, and determination to make their life choices work is something that inspires. They make me laugh, and teach me. I see nothing wrong in this.

It's just the minorities we have here, on old sofas and mattresses, plastic and cardboard; they're being shifted back to their own country. This chapter has an ending. And what else can we do? How else could it end?
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