This article (click the title to link to it) and corresponding survey, while interpreted in many ways throughout the international media, proves one thing to me – people hear “immigrant” and think “threat”. Which is a shame as clearly through other answers in this survey – it is clear people thing immigration is a) an important issue b) a way to improve the economy and c) much more tolerable when they have been in contact with immigrants themselves.
Confused? So is everyone else.
Unfortunately, the national debate in England (and Canada) encourages one to think about immigration and immigrants in extreme terms, “more immigrants are coming than ever, more immigrants are using public funds, more immigrants are committing crimes.”
Once again, immigration = threat
I believe these attitudes are polarizing the immigration debate and we are quickly ruining any chance for valuable discourses to take place that improve immigration policy and in turn improve immigrant outcomes. Immigration and immigrants themselves should not be thought of as acting in extremes.
My friend and colleague Ashley Bradimore wrote her Master’s thesis on a topic related to this – how the media portrayed the arrival of 76 Tamil refugees on boats of the coast of British Columbia, Canada. The Working Paper version is a great read and can be found here.