MIGRATION has becoming a more controversial issue in recent years than it needs to, with asylum seekers and refugees portrayed as social and political burdens. 

The use of words such as illegal immigrants and mass migration have contributed to this – any society in the world might be concerned when they are warned that people are coming to their community in masse, or illegally, to disturb the way of life. Therefore, the use of language and the terms used to describe a group of people can be very destructive. When words are used negatively, they can only lead to more social division.

The asylum process is complicated so it’s safe to say that in Scotland not everyone understands it or why people leave their country, having not been through this process themselves. It is exhausting to repeatedly explain why someone has had to leave their country, to justify their existence as if they just don’t deserve to be here. 

Many people think asylum seekers come here for benefits and to steal jobs. However, asylum seekers and refugees are human beings just like everyone else and want to be safe and secure – yet we are portrayed as a problem. Why would anyone who has the privilege of waking up peacefully, out of a war zone, out of conflict or famine, deny that same privilege to others? It is a decision of who lives and who dies for a situation they did not create. Going further, the UK has had a role in many of the situations where people have to flee their country, so it also has a burden of responsibility.

Negative use of language is problematic and can be dangerous for any society. 

It opens the doors to discrimination towards the target group, such as migrants. It creates an atmosphere of being unwanted by the host country, leading to more social isolation. Most migrants are parents, and the children of asylum seekers and refugees also suffer. 

They are forced to deal with the struggle of their parents, which can affect their wellbeing and will find it difficult to achieve a positive destination in the future. Children should grow up with a positive sense of belonging from a country they consider home, often the only country they’ve known.

The world is far from being perfect, but people shape a society. Scotland is home to 5.5million according to Office for National Statistics (2019). 

Glasgow Times: The late-John LewisThe late-John Lewis

People of this country have the right to express their frustration about migrants, but where is the concrete evidence to prove that the number of migrants is detrimentally affecting the existing culture, economy, and politics? Or is the opposite true? We should focus more on promoting a good integration system to support people who are already in the country. That would also tackles the concerns of those who are worried about migrants.

We are living in a time where it is no longer acceptable to project hatred on to others.

This is a time to unlearn our way of thinking that causes harm to others. Everybody has something to contribute, this will not only be beneficial for the country but also will build the confidence of those who are far away from their country. 

Scotland can be an example to the rest of the world, the reputation of being friendly and welcoming should not be hindered by deliberately misleading information and negative language around migrants. 

As the late John Lewis once said: “My big idea is to leave this world a little greener, a little cleaner and little more peaceful.” 

Preventing social chaos is for the benefit of everyone, and most importantly builds a better future for the next generation.