Ranters of Mow Cop

Ranters of Mow Cop

Monday, 13 March 2017

Sanctuary - Entertaining angels unawares

A new blog I've done for the William Temple Foundation drawing on our work with asylum seekers and refugees.
Here is a longer version of the first paragraph

The issue of immigration is deeply personal to me. When I moved to East London in 1975 my very first job involved teaching English as a Second Language to some of the East African Asian refugees heard recently settled in Newham. In a career of 40 years the concerns of refugees asylum seekers and migrants have never been far from my working life. In the 1980s and 1990s as a member and trustee of Evangelical Christians for Racial Justice, and as a church related community worker I became involved in numerous campaigns to support people who were facing difficulties in their immigration status or being threatened with deportation. I attended an immigration tribunal with a house mate from the Ivory Coast who eventually was required to leave the country, and I was involved with others in campaigns to prevent the deportation of Marion Gaima, Viraj Mendes and the Danso family  (p 4&5). After judicial review Marian was allowed to stay, while Viraj who had been offered sanctuary in a church in Manchester for several months was forcibly deported to war torn Sri Lanka. The Danso case highlighted the irrationality of a system where a husband from Ghana and a wife from Jamaica who were both deemed to be over-stayers were threatened with deportation to their two separate native countries, while their British born children work faced a possible breakup of their family life. They were offered sanctuary in a small room in the community centre at the end of our road, and given practical support by a wide range of local Christians. Eventually the government saw sense and the family were allowed to stay in the UK. In more recent times our family hosted in our home for nearly two years a mother and daughter who were seeking asylum and accompanied them successfully through the application procedures.

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