The aim of the I am a migrant project is to provide some much needed balance to current debates concerning immigration to Britain and EU membership, as well as wider issues relating to migration more broadly outside of the EU context. Motivation to launch the project stems from a deep concern over the future of the UK, specifically the kind of society it will be.
In particular these concerns come, first, from what I consider the abject failure of the UK’s established political parties to put an end to populist anti-immigration rhetoric and scaremongering – in fact often fuelling it instead in an attempt to secure votes in what has become a more volatile political landscape. Secondly, concerns also result from the one-side reporting of issues relating to migration and the EU within a large section of the UK media: this, so it seems, has also caved in to populist rhetoric. There often is little nuance in the reporting, facts are turned on their heads, and the many positive aspects of migration to Britain, the benefits of Britain being a member of the EU, and the opportunities migration brings for British citizens themselves, remain underreported at best, and completely ignored at worst. Similar points could be made for related themes, such as the tightening of legislation regulating the entry of international students, as well as policies concerning asylum seekers.
There is no attempt here to gloss over the problems that do exist in part as a result of migration and the coming together of diverse cultures – there is no denying the fact that there certainly are some. Nor do I want to suggest that the EU is an institution without fault.
I also want to be upfront at the outset: I am biased.
Biased in favour of an open, tolerant and colourful British society.
And biased in favour of an institution that has, since its founding days post-WWII, been key to reconciliation and the advancement of peace, democracy and human rights in Europe. And that is to be applauded as loudly as possible.