Becoming Undocumented and Staying Undocumented: The Routes to Irregularity and No Way Back
On the 16th July at Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice (University of Manchester) is running a free event as part of a research project. This Policy Engagement feedback event is about presenting the strategy of the Rights of Undocumented Migrants project to migrant community organisations, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. Amongst those invited are local and national policy makers who will present their views and debate policy issues and concerns. There will be a Q&A session during the afternoon.
The event is also designed to be a celebration of the positive work of organisations across Greater Manchester that help and support undocumented migrants. There will be free food and entertainment provided and information stalls from a range of migrant community organisations on what help, support and advice is available for undocumented migrants in the area.
For more on the event click to view the project’s Poster.
For more information on how to attend click to view the event Invitation.
WHY ‘UNDOCUMENTED’ AND NEVER ‘ILLEGAL’
“Since the word ‘illegal’ has become a stigma in my everyday dealing with people, I started to ask myself whether I was really illegal. Of course, I am not and will never be. I am undocumented.”
- Undocumented migrant worker from the Philippines, living in the Netherlands
PICUM promotes accurate, humane terminology and strictly avoids using the term ‘illegal migrant’. ‘Undocumented migrant’ and/or ‘irregular migrant’ are internationally recognised terms with equivalents in all languages.
PICUM’s Terminology Leaflet provides reasons why not to use the term ‘illegal migrant’, a lexicon with translations of ‘undocumented migrant’ and/or ‘irregular migrant’ in all EU languages and an overview of key institutions who have already committed to accurate terminology in reference to undocumented migrants. Launched in June 2014, the leaflet serves as a major resource to support our network’s promotion of accurate and human terminology.
“It’s notable that the countries that most pride themselves on their commitment to equality, human rights, and democracy (like the United States and the western European countries) are precisely those that, in the late twentieth century, invented a new status (‘illegal’) in order to deprive some of their residents of access to equality, human rights, and democracy. I am honored to lend my name to PICUM’s campaign to end the use of the term ‘illegal’ and to challenge the whole concept of illegality as a status.”
-Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies Salem State University, USA1.
Many institutions and individuals have already committed to avoid using the term ‘illegal migrant’ including policymakers, human rights advocates, and media. You can follow their example and engage yourself in the promotion of recognised accurate terminology.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Commit yourself to using fair terminology when referring to undocumented migrants.
- Share the terminology leaflet with your contacts and inform friends or colleagues of the importance to use ‘undocumented’ and ‘irregular’ or the equivalent in your language.If media, policymakers etc. speak in discriminatory language about undocumented migrants, send a respond in form of a letter or social media and share the source with PICUM.
- Follow and engage in the debate on social media (Twitter: #WordsMatter).
- Send us your written quote or statement saying why you think accurate terminology is important, this can also be a personal story or based on the experience of an undocumented person you know.
- Send us a photo showing your terminology message in your language.Send us a video showing why it is important to use fair language.
For more information or to submit statements, photos, and videos, contact:
Elisabeth Schmidt-Hieber, PICUM Communications Officer at: elisabeth(at)picum.org
1Aviva Chomsky is also author of the book “How Immigration Became Illegal” (Beacon Press, 2014).
My Journey is a multimedia migrant storytelling project run by the Migrants Resource Centre and funded by the City Bridge Trust. Between November 2013 and November 2014, media and arts professionals are training a group of migrants in storytelling through photography, radio, film and comic strips. Their website has podcasts, videos, comic strips and photographs, made by parents, students, workers, asylum seekers, and refugees, all telling honest, moving and real stories. They are adding work to the site all the time and a showcase exhibition will take place in autumn 2014.
Listen to a podcast from Hasani:
Read the comic strip ‘Goodbye London’ from Viola
And more stories on the My Journey blog.
Last month we blogged about the short films depicting the stories of young migrants in the city of Coventry. The Coventry Law Centre worked with migrants in the area, who share their experiences to raise awareness of a delicate situation, often misconstrued in the media.
Next week, the Coventry Law Centre and Grapevine will be hosting a one day ‘Learning Lab’ on 11 June 2014 in Coventry, to share their experiences of a new approach to supporting young people with immigration problems. The event will highlight how an innovative mix of volunteer ‘community connectors’ and legal representation via the Law Centre has achieved positive outcomes for young people, who were previously unsure how to deal with problems in their lives, made worse by the lack of legal status in the UK.
Places are free but limited and can be booked via the Coventry Law Centre and by emailing them to reserve a place. See PDF notice for more information: Learning Lab.
Only about half of young immigrants who grew up in the United States without legal status identify with the Democratic Party… New York Times
In Their Own Words: A National Survey of Undocumented Millennials is one of the largest surveys to date on any segment of the undocumented population in the U.S. The survey provides new insights related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, life after DACA, and the experience of “coming out” as undocumented. It also looks at the civic engagement and political incorporation of undocumented youth and other issues regarding family and friends.
Commissioned by Unbound Philanthropy (a foundation that funds immigrant and refugee rights groups) and the United We Dream Network (an advocacy group), the nationwide study was conducted online using advertisements on Facebook to draw responses during two phases in late 2013 and early 2014. The study of undocumented youths, a group of people difficult to sample because of their immigration status, shows results from respondents from 60 different places of birth. The study was led by Tom K. Wong, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.
The results come from 1,472 responses provided by undocumented young people between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.
Here are some of the findings (read the full report here):
- Respondents were 7 times more likely to have participated in a rally or demonstration than average American voters
- Just over half (53%) identify as a political activist
- Just under one-third of respondents (35%) are part of an organization that works on immigration-related issues
- Nearly six-in-ten (59%) were concerned about revealing their undocumented status to the government
- Just under two-in-ten respondents (18%) have family members or friends who have been deported
- More than 80 percent — of those surveyed had at least one parent without legal papers
- About one in 10 in the study identify as lesbian, gay or transgender
- Nearly three-quarters of young immigrants said their support of Democrats in the future would depend on whether the party worked to “address the issue of separation of families because of deportation.”
Grapevine Coventry & Warwickshire in conjunction with Coventry Law Centre have produced ‘You Think You Know Me’. This is a short film depicting the stories of young migrants in the city of Coventry. Coventry has one of the largest populations of migrants in the UK and the Law Centre offers free legal advice to all migrants in the area. However the future is often out of their control, leading to an ever increasing population of homeless people seeking support.
This short video offers a personal insight to some of the experiences of migrants in the city who work with the Centre to help raise awareness of this delicate issue and to draw attention to a story often misinterpreted by the media.
A film by Dom Fleming & Joseph Marshall.
Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire is a charity that supports people with learning disabilities to use their skills and talents and make their contribution to society.
Coventry Law Centre is a charity employing solicitors and paralegals to offer free legal advice and representation in the areas of, amongst others, immigration and asylum, housing, and welfare benefits to the people of Coventry.
“Waiting makes me feel lost and frustrated”
Young people from the self advocacy group ‘Brighter Futures’ have launched two powerful short films about their experiences of waiting for decisions on their immigration and asylum cases in the UK. In the videos they share their stories and experiences of ‘limbo life’.
Young people can wait up to 8 years to hear a decision on their case but according to the UKBA, a case owner should aim to conclude an application within 6 months, thus allowing a young person to integrate and begin to live a full life in Britain. The group, partly funded by the Supported Options Initiative at Paul Hamlyn Foundation, are calling for young people’s cases to be resolved so that they can stop waiting, and start living.
Brighter Futures, with support from Praxis Community Projects and Kazzum launched ‘The Cost of Waiting Campaign’ and this report last year to raise awareness on the implications that living in limbo has upon the lives and aspirations of young migrants and young asylum seekers in the UK. The campaign aims to bring this issue to the attention of civil society, politicians and other young people.