Racism in British Immigration

Topics: Racism, United Kingdom, Immigration to the United Kingdom Pages: 23 (8314 words) Published: July 26, 2003

The purpose of this paper is that to highlight what I see as racist, unjust and inhumane elements in Britain's immigration system and the culture of secrecy surrounds it. The permanent residents (who has indefinite leave to remain), central to this discussion not the illegal immigrants and bogus asylum seekers. Also immigration's treatments of people coming over to Britain for a range of other reasons and with papers and visas they expect to be accepted have been highlighted.

Mainly my argument is, compared with other countries, UK is more suspicious of all people entering the country and they discriminate against people from ‘underdeveloped' countries.

I have read and quoted from various books in the Immigration subject area. Mainly, Ms. Catriona J. MacKenzie's dissertation "Africans & UK Immigration Controls" for the degree of Masters in Social Work & Social Policy, which has been submitted to the University of Glasgow in 1995 greatly helped me to construct this paper. I also conducted a number of interviews in UK and Turkey with individuals with immigration difficulties. I also made extensive use of the Glasgow University Library. Citizenship

The membership of individuals in modern democratic societies is marked by the status of citizenship. Those who belong in a given nation-state have documents certifying their membership. More importantly, citizens possess a wide range of civil, political and social rights.

The reality has always been somewhat different. Most nation-states have had groups on their territory not considered capable of belonging, and therefore either denied citizenship or alternatively forced to go through a process of cultural assimilation in order to belong. Moreover, even those with formal membership have often been denied some of the rights vital to citizenship, so that they have not fully belonged. Discrimination based on class, gender, ethnicity, race, religion and other criteria has always meant that some people could not be full citizens. Securing the participation of previously excluded groups has been seen as the key to democratisation.

Nazism and the ‘Final Solution' temporarily stigmatised racial-biological thinking after 1945. However, the ‘New Racism' that emerged in the 1970s evaded the opprobrium of biological racism and eugenics by superficially relocating difference away from phenotype and genes and on to culture. This has had dramatic effect on nature and appearance of racism in Britain. By camouflaging hereditary qualities as cultural inheritance, it became possible for mainstream politicians to inject racism back into debates about nationality and citizenship. The ‘New Racism' has made citizenship itself the site of struggle over conceptions of the nation and national identity.

In the new discourse of racism, culture was taken to define the differences between the British and non-European immigrants. Ethnicity, religion, language and customs were held to render immigrants unassimilable without it ever being necessary to mention racial types. The shifting locus of racism reflected the new realities in British society: the virtual cessation of primary immigration after 1971 on the one hand, and the consolidation of ethnic minority communities on the other. These communities, on their own and assisted by certain race relations legislation, as well as policies of central and local government, began to assert their identities and ethnic agendas. The spear-carriers of white, ethnic nationalism found a new battlefield in multiculturalism. Cultural differences relocated the arena of conflict away from the margins of the nation and to its very core: the constitution, law, education and national religion. Citizenship, no less than national identity and nationality, has now acquired racially polarized meanings.

The current emphasis on the family as the training ground for citizenship and building a block of the nation...
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