First Anniversary for Immigrants: AKA – Life on Hold

My Husband and I were married very happily on the 30th of April 2013, as of the 12th of June, we will have been waiting to hear back on my FLR(M) Visa application for a year. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: The Immigration is a putrid mess.

All that aside, our home lives are peaceful. A part of me still worries about things like proving my identity while the UKBA still has my passport, proving the legitimacy of my residence in the UK when I have nothing to show for it beyond letters stating that I’m “on hold,” the changes brought forward by the Immigration Bill that aims to make my life and the lives of thousands of others just like me all the more challenging… you know, things no one really should have to worry about; at the very least, people deserve to know where they stand and that is not a certain thing for me at any point at all.

I’m not going to knock what we have, though my husband will grouch that he is in desperate need of a holiday somewhere not in the UK, with preference for a place with hot sun, cold drinks and sand… Something that simply will not happen until the UK Home Office decides to return our passports without making us withdraw our application, decides to stop fighting the income requirements in court and/or finally takes us off hold… and if you were wondering: No, I have not heard anything new regarding the court case involving it.

Our home lives are peaceful. We have clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, running water and proper cooking facilities, food on our table and shoes on our feet. There are many people in the world who are making due with a lot less – I have no business complaining solely on my own minor grumbles.

I have to remember that there are asylum seekers – refugees, sometimes coming in with only the clothes on their backs, who have waited far longer than a year in worse conditions than I have. Still, I hear of people who have, what I feel, are far more important reasons to need to stay in the UK – people who are both more established or are just in greater need to be somewhere safe after their original plight that led them here… I hear about cases where such individuals are denied or rejected and I have lost count of the number of times the media has gone into a frenzy to try to stop their deportation. What worries me is that, for however many of these cases we hear about, there are dozens of others that fail to grasp the hearts and ears of journalists… and they are left to rot in limbo or (and it’s hard to say which option is worse) sent to some place where they may very well experience suffering anew in ways that you or I could never imagine or condone.

Someone I know here once asked me, if I had to pick between allowing me or a refugee to stay here; they wanted to know who I would choose. The question is horrific and completely unnecessary, because on no terms would my life be more valuable over another person’s and vice versa and never should it ever have to come between that when the reality is that there is still much of this country that is unpopulated – to say that the UK is “full” and there now must be a choice between which immigrant deserves the right to stay… is dishonest and overly simplistic at best.

Because the truth of the matter is: if it was a choice between me and someone who was fleeing persecution – the one who could NOT return to their country of origin and be safe should stay. If I had to choose, I would not pick me. But it is a choice that should never be made. We are all human beings, each and every one of us – for the simple fact that we live, that we are alive – is deserving and worthy of health, safety, security, peace, dignity, respect, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Ideally, such things should be available in all of our respective nations of birth. Sadly, that is not always the case. And until the global society is successful in ensuring that all citizens in all nations it is our duty to protect the victims and continue to demand positive change.

Why? Because the true value of a human, of a culture, of a nation is measured by how we care for others. If we fail to grant to those who are at their most beaten and down-trodden the basic care and dignity that every living being deserves, if we fail to humanise those who are not our own… we are no better than the ones that sought to oppress and destroy them. And that, frankly, is pure evil.

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