Routes to Roots: Telling the positive story of immigration

29 Mar 2014

Immigration; one of the most hotly debated issues within contemporary politics. It is often a subject around which the media manipulate our views. Being a member of several youth media projects myself, this is not something I am proud to say that my industry does. However, in this article, I aim to show the positive side of the issue.

Despite the general view that the media imprints onto us, i.e. that immigrants are benefit scroungers and come to live off the welfare state, this is often far from the truth. If it wasn’t for immigrants, our National Health Service would not be able to function properly; nor would we have the wonderful cultural diversity that this country often prides itself on. In fact, the figures show that a very small number of immigrants actually benefit from our welfare system, on the whole putting in much more than they take out. 

 

“Routes to Roots”, a campaign by national campaigning project “Team V”, aims to show the stories of such migrants, and combat the stereotypical views so many have about immigrants. Many immigrants come to this country for safety and for a better life, and this is something we should welcome. 

Unfortunately, despite this, the government has missed big opportunities to get on the side of migrants and help them in gaining employment in the UK. The plan to “opt-out” of rules that state that we must welcome EU migrants into this country, no matter what their nationality, is abhorrently wrong. Yes, we need to put British citizens first; however, to do so we cannot ignore the need for foreign migrants in our country.

“We are born explorers” is the first line in the campaign video for “Routes to Roots”. In a way, this is very true, and we should all be helped in our personal pursuit of finding work and a better future. Everyone deserves the right to provide for themselves and their family, and if that means migrating to another country, so be it. 

The vast majority of people who are migrants, despite being stereotyped, are genuinely decent people who work hard and play by the rules. As I said, only a very small percentage of the migrant population claim benefits and I’m sure the majority of them wish they weren’t.

This is what I’m proud of in our country; our embracement of those who want to aspire to a better, more secure life. Not the obscured view that the majority of media outlets project onto the public. Their views are slanderous, and they are simply not true. As I have often said, the media thrives on disaster and controversy, sometimes of which they themselves have created. As much as it is hard to see a media industry without this, the stereotyping must stop.

By Robert Mooney

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