It's time to change the rhetoric on immigration

The election of Donald Trump who campaigned for the presidency on an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim platform, is another warning to anti-racists across the world that we are losing the debate about key issues for the planet. The subsequent ‘Muslim Ban’, spate of deportations and commitment to build a wall on the border with Mexico has shown that Trump’s rhetoric has been quickly turned into action.

President Trump has hit the ground running in terms of building ‘fortress USA’ and in doing so has failed to recognise the undeniably significant history of migration on which his beloved USA was founded and the contribution of migrants in helping to make America ‘great’.

It isn’t only in the USA that the language of the right has shaped policy responses to major issues. This is a worldwide phenomenon and for too long the issue of immigration has been dominated by a hugely negative narrative. In the UK, Show Racism the Red Card’s work in schools and among adults has confirmed that migrants are blamed for a whole variety of society’s problems, from low wages to taking benefits, from high house prices to taking jobs.

If, in a country like Poland, (which has a very low migrant population and a high dependency on money coming into the country from their citizens living and working abroad); the anti-immigration Party are in power, then it is time to make a stand. The media, politicians and campaigners must more consistently emphasise the positive contributions that immigration makes to societies.

Show Racism the Red Card has worked in partnership with a whole range of organisations over the years to try and reassert the benefits of free movement of labour as a basic human right. We must also support the right of refugees to asylum and end the scandal of thousands of refugees drowning at sea for because of the absence of a viable alternative to the problem that they are not safe in the country they are fleeing.

This debate is not going away anytime soon and combined with the growth of anti-Muslim prejudice, these are some of the key issues of the 21st century. It is really a choice of what kind of world do we want? A world of more walls, deportations, detention and race hatred? Or a world where you escape war and persecution and live without division by skin colour, religion, nationality or culture.

To this end we cannot let anti-Muslim and anti-immigration diatribes go unchallenged. Show Racism the Red Card is encouraging young people to enter our UK School Competitions and make a stand against racism. Schools can register for the England and Wales Competitions here.

We will be using the winning entries to reinforce an anti-racism message and assert that “another world is not only possible, but necessary”.