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Asylum seekers: The new currency of the UK Home Office

journal.ie

“Home Office officials are being rewarded with shopping vouchers for helping to ensure failed asylum seekers lose their attempt to stay in the country, new documents reveal. Official guidance obtained by the Guardian shows that immigration staff have been set a target of winning 70% of tribunal cases in which asylum seekers are appealing against government decisions that they should leave the UK.”

“Asked what rewards were given to presenting officers and case owners in the fields of asylum and immigration, the department confirmed high-street vouchers for £25 or £50 were handed out to "recognise positive performance over a short period of time", including when officers "exceed their casework targets for a month”. (Follow the link: Guardian, 15/01/2014)

Have you lost your mind? No, I’ll rephrase this question. Have you lost the last ounce of humanity in you?

70% target, 7 lives in 10 that is, 7 deportations, 7 families, 7 fathers, 7 mothers, 7 children…

How do you sleep at night? Do you start counting till 10 and pass out by 7?

1 Asylum seeker ‘defeated’, 2 Asylum seekers ‘beaten’, 3 asylum seekers ‘pushed back into the queue’, 4 asylum seekers ‘left in misery’, 5 asylum seekers ‘lost all hope’, 6 asylum seekers ‘traumatised’, 7 asylum seekers ‘deported’, zzzz zzz…

How do you explain what you do for living to your friends, family and children?

-“Honey, how was your day?”
-“Shit!!!  Love. Didn’t meet the target, didn’t get that £50 voucher.”

How do you spend that voucher, what do you spend it at? Do you buy toys to your children? How happy they must be…

How do you see asylum seekers, feck it, people I mean, flesh and blood people, same air we breed, same water we drink; how do you see them? Walking vouchers?

What do you talk to about at your coffee breaks? Golf, racing or foreign holidays?

Do you feel like stock brokers? At the end of a good day in the office straight to the pub around the corner… The winner buys the drinks.

Cheers!

“But the Home Office said the "success of officers in upholding asylum decisions" was only one of a range of criteria used to monitor staff performance. It is understood officers are also judged on the effectiveness of their presentation, the strength of their cases and compliance with official guidelines before getting rewards.”

What nonsense! What a waffle …

“…Judged on the effectiveness of their presentation…” for the purpose of convincing!
“…the strength of their cases…” to make sure that case is won!
“…compliance with official guidelines…” that the official policy and the targets are met!

Great, you presented well, you were strong, and you followed the procedures… Ultimately you won.

There you go…. £50

Is the bottom of the deepest ocean low enough for you or do you intend to go lower?

Have you lost your mind? No, I’ll rephrase this question. Forget about your politics, policies, rules, have you lost the last ounce of humanity in you?

No shopping voucher can buy that back!

And the shame that goes with it…

Forever…

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Ps: I don’t talk about it much but I worked as a volunteer with asylum seekers for seven years. Seven years that made me understand the human in all of the reports, statistics, policies, law and number… The plain, simple, decent human being...

I have seen human tragedies, I have enjoyed some happy, rarely but very happy moments. I thought I was teaching things but at the end of the 7 years I realised I was the student. Forget about what I was teaching, whether it was useful or not, the real lesson was to see how asylum seekers, our brothers and sisters, despite everything, despite broken many times, could get up again and again and keep their hopes and fights alive. There were times, I thought “I better give up, this work is not good for my mental health”, who did I think I was? My mental stupid health… These people were/are like the revolutionaries in a distant and forgotten land. While we are getting demoralised about the revolution and lost all our hope, they are dying in their thousands but they also fighting in their thousands.

But not all is easy or OK. Attacks are coming from everywhere. Deportations, detention, criminalisation... Racism on the streets, racism of the states…

People feel defeated, people do get defeated… But the fight must go on, it does go on...

The objective wasn’t anymore just about humanly feelings towards asylum seekers and brotherhood / sisterhood. It was about solidarity and fighting together to get rid of this rotten racist system… What makes this hopefully semi-OK person today comes at least 50% from my asylum seeker comrades and the lessons their lives have taught me

Once I had asked to one of my asylum seeker friend, who had lost more than many of us could ever imagine: How do you keep going? He said: Where there is life, there is hope…

I live by that…

 

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