TUSC CALLS ON RUGBY COUNCIL TO DO MORE TO WELCOME ASYLUM SEEKERS: taken up by Advertiser & Observer
RUGBY SHOULD WELCOME ASYLUM SEEKERS
“Whether or not the Home Office should have consulted Rugby Council before suggesting Rugby should accommodate a small number of asylum seekers is irrelevant: every village, town and city should welcome asylum seekers whilst their applications are being heard,” Pete McLaren, spokesperson and secretary of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), told us today after hearing Rugby RBC were doing the opposite by questioning whether we should accept new arrivals.
“Seeking asylum is a right enshrined within international law. Asylum seekers are desperate, having travelled hundreds of miles in often dangerous conditions to arrive where they feel safe. They have fled war, persecution or extreme poverty to leave their homeland and many members of their family behind for a new life, as millions have done for many centuries. We should welcome asylum seekers with open arms and offer them the opportunity to join us in a relatively safe and pleasant environment.
“Reports in the media suggest Rugby Council are objecting to taking in our share of those seeking asylum from war and persecution. Seeking asylum has been a right within international law for over 50 years. Asylum seekers can choose where to claim asylum. We should welcome those who choose the UK to claim asylum in, and we should positively want to welcome asylum seekers to Rugby.
“Where asylum seekers are accommodated is up to the local authority, in consultation with the government. Clearly this should not be in properties in which local residents are wanting to live. It isn’t a competition. The queue for social housing is far too long already. Successive governments have simply not built houses, including social and council housing. There are many boarded-up properties and shops in Rugby which could quite easily by utilised, along with larger buildings no longer used by schools and other institutions.
“We have never understood why much of the media, sections of the Government and, sadly, some people demonise asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are human beings, like we all are, and we should welcome all of them whilst their asylum claim is being assed. Once accepted, as most are, asylum seekers will, like all immigrants, be a net economic gain to the communities they move into, including Rugby.
“Immigrants to the UK put more into the economy that they take out in benefits or welfare. That is a fact some people don’t want to believe. But they do, and the key is for the Government to ensure that these extra resources travel with the migrants.
“Rugby Council should take a lead in terms of welcoming asylum seekers, rather than hiding behind bureaucratic issues about who pays for what”, Pete McLaren concluded.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
§ Rugby TUSC was set up in March 2011. It is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally - www.tusc.org.uk
§ Rugby TUSC can be contacted on 07881 520626 or RugbyTUSC@gmail.com; PO Box 4123 Rugby CV21 9BJ
§ Pete McLaren is a member of the TUSC National Steering Committee, and is its Local Group Development Officer.