Are half my FB friends racists, or are they just scared?

As a result of the refugee crisis I have found myself increasingly categorising my FB friends as either racists or non-racists based on the posts their share and comment on.  Having friends with such repugnant (to me) points of view leaves me in a dilemma. The easiest option would be to purge my friends list, but in every other regard I admire these people and want to remain a part of their lives.  These friends would also, I am sure, not class themselves as racists, but rather rational pragmatists. So what has led them to express such views?

Fear is a powerful tool. It is used by advertisers to make us buy products we don’t really need and by health campaigners to prompt us to change our behaviour. It is also used by political parties and pressure groups to advance a particular ideology.

Recently, some political parties and anti-immigration organisations have been spreading fear through misinformation that if Britain lets in some refugees then many more will come; and that these refugees will be an economic burden ultimately bankrupting Britain.

However, research demonstrates that both these beliefs are false.

So this is my attempt to share the facts with all my FB friends in the hopes my newsfeed will no longer be clogged up with Britain First posts.

Fiction Fact
Asylum seekers must stay and register in the first country they arrive in. There is no law that states this, but countries find it administratively easier to apply this rule, which is known as ‘Dublin regulations’. These regulations allows one EU country to require another to accept responsibility for an asylum claim where certain conditions apply.

As far back as 2001 the EU published a directive that empowers member states to bypass the system and admit asylum seekers in cases of “mass influx”.  Germany has already suspended ‘Dublin Regulations’. Source: Amnesty International

Britain can’t afford to take more than 20,000 Syrian refugees because they are all going to claim benefits.

And they will take jobs away from British people.

Research conducted by University College London found that since 2000 refugees were less likely than native Brits to be on state benefit and no more likely than natives to be in social housing. And unlike native Brits they have contributed a net £5 billion to the UK economy in taxes.

Considering there are now almost four million people fleeing violence in Syria, 20,000 just doesn’t cut it!

This can be the case in some areas of the UK if it is not managed well. Minimum wage, for example, is a way of ensuring that immigrants do not undercut locals. Some studies have shown that migrants create jobs for local people – overall taking account of a number of research studies the impact on jobs and wages appears to be neutral or positive. Source: New Scientist, 12th September 2015 edition, p.10-12.

Europe is experiencing an unprecedented influx of both economic migrants and refugees. According to research, labour migration into Western Europe has been falling steadily since 2007. And whilst refugee numbers have been increasing since the Arab spring of 2010, they still have not reached 1992 levels, when millions of people fled Yugoslavia. Source: New Scientist, 12th September 2015 edition, p.5.
If we take in refugees that are already in Europe it will only encourage more to come. This relates to push and pull factors. A push factor is violence, or lack of food and sanitation in refugee camps in for example Jordan or Hungary. A pull factor is benefits, housing or jobs etc.

So far there is no evidence of pull factors, but a great deal of evidence for push factors. Source: The Oxford Martin School on Global challenges.

The UK is a soft touch compared to other EU countries. In the UK, the weekly allowance for a single adult asylum-seeker is £36.95 per week, lower than many other EU countries. The equivalent weekly rate in France, for example, is £58.50 (on an exchange rate of 73p to the euro).

Elsewhere in the EU, asylum-seekers must be permitted to work if their claims have not been decided within 9 months, although some countries permit this after less time. This does not apply in the UK, where permission to work will not be granted unless 12 months have past and the claim remains undecided. The UK has introduced severe restrictions on what work an asylum-seeker may be permitted to do even if this condition is met.

Detention is used much more extensively in the UK’s asylum system than in other EU countries. Those countries also have time limits on how long a person may be detained under immigration powers, whereas the UK has no time limit. Source: Amnesty International