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I am an immigrant campaign by JCWI

JCWI has set up an excellent crowd funding campaign to run posters across the UK showcasing migrants and their invaluable contribution to British life. I’ve backed it and I urge all readers of Free Movement to do likewise. There are only 18 days to run so you need to hurry.

The details below are taken from the funding website, where you can make your pledge and the video tells you about the project.

Immigrants are part of the fabric of our society. It’s time to celebrate, not vilify them.

We will have posters of migrants contributing to British life across all tube and rail networks in the run up to the General Election. Are you a migrant? Do you want to be one of fifteen people representing your profession, business or industry? Contact us urgently to audition for a professional photo shoot.

What is the poster campaign?

‘I am an immigrant’ poster campaign is a response to the increased anti-immigration rhetoric occurring in politics and the need to shed positive light on immigrants and the social, economic and cultural prosperity they bring to the nation.

The poster campaign emerged out of the Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX) which aims to rid the dialogue on immigration policy of racism and discrimination. With the 2015 General Election, the language and the rhetoric will only get worse.

What is the purpose of the poster campaign?

The Poster Campaign is an exciting and powerful way of showing that immigrants not only contribute but are part of the fabric of British society and a vital part of multi-cultural Britain.

The negative rhetoric against immigrants fuelled by populist media has meant the Government is countering this by passing legislation that is increasingly anti-immigrant. Most parties are guilty of scapegoating immigrants. This affects all of society including British citizens as the Family Migration rules demonstrate. The new rules make it very difficult for foreign spouses to join British partners resulting in separated families, heartache and children growing up without both parents.

The Immigration Act 2014 which is now in force has all but eliminated the rights of appeal for migrants and changes to the NHS are proposed. Lawful migrants who work and pay taxes in the UK will have to pay a further levy to use the NHS. International students are being particularly signaled out. In a pilot scheme in the West Midlands landlords are being forced to take on the role of border guards and conduct immigration status checks on all tenants or face a hefty fine. This is likely to result in racism and discrimination against those without papers or from a black or ethnic minority background.

We are concerned at the impact this has on social cohesion and the existence of a just, tolerant and fair nation. Through the poster campaign, we will be able to highlight the importance of immigrants in a way that captures their contributions to society as a whole, economically and culturally.

If all migrants stopped working our country would grind to a halt.

Our goal is to create a campaign that will negate the anti-immigrant climate currently developing, celebrate the vital contribution of immigrants and induce an open and inclusive conversation about immigration policy built on human rights and equality.

What will the process be?

We will begin by selecting only fifteen migrants, including a few celebrities, from different occupations and all walks of life, such as health service professionals, teachers, cleaners, tube/bus drivers, business entrepreneurs, journalists, lawyers, etc. to be photographed by Vogue photographer Philip Volkers.

The message will be simple and the poster will consist of a photo of the individual with name and occupation, it will be titled ‘I am an Immigrant’ and will have a simple line outlining their contribution to British society such as “I am a brain surgeon and I have saved 6,000 lives”. Research demonstrates that visual depiction is extremely powerful.

Posters will be rolled out nationally through tube and train stations and will be displayed for two/three weeks before the General Election. We will also launch them through social media and a dedicated website. The social media arm will be interactive with the ability for all migrants to send in their own photos and will last well beyond the elections.

COSTS:

£44,000 is the bare minimum we need to create a nationwide poster campaign of 15 British migrants that will be distributed on all London underground tube stations and National rail stations. The entirety of these costs are to Exterion Media for publicity on the transport network. We are getting charity rates from them. Whilst still expensive, his will have the greatest impact on the public as we will have 300 escalator panels in London and 550 posters nationwide. These will be seen by 7.3 million people who use national rail daily and 4.2 million people using the tubes daily. However we ideally need to raise £66,802 in order to create a social media campaign that will run simultaneously and continue past the General Election allowing us to go global with the campaign. This will also allow all migrants to provide their own photographs and be part of the digital campaign. All staff including the Vogue photographer and graphic designer are working without profit but raising the full amount will allow us to meet their costs and to run a digital campaign with global reach. Please see below for a break down. Further details can be obtained from JCWI.

Colin Yeo
Colin Yeo A barrister specialising in UK immigration law at Garden Court Chambers in London, I have been practising in immigration law for 15 years. I am passionate about immigration law and founded and edit the Free Movement immigration law blog.

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