Video footage of immigration officers being run out of Peckham went viral online this week, showing just how divisive this issue is.
Immigration was considered as important as health to voters coming up to the election last month with the two issues being linked by both sides of the debate – one side saying our health service only runs because of the hard working immigrants who staff it and the other saying foreign patients are a drain on our limited resources.
In the heart of multi-cultural Peckham, immigration isn’t a statistic it’s the living breathing people who run the shops, cook the food and go to work so it’s not surprising the sight of immigration enforcement officers would spark such a reaction. But shooting the messenger is surely not the answer. Immigration officers are just doing their jobs as instructed by the government voted in by the people of this country – a large proportion of whom are concerned, rightly or wrongly, about the impact of immigration.
To put a stop to raids down Rye Lane, we need to have an open national debate about the truth of immigration in this country, away from the hysterical headlines so neither the people of Peckham nor the immigration officers become ‘the enemy’ while both parties are just trying to do their jobs.