Front cover of Green World #81 - Migration Is Not A Crime

The debate in Britain is becoming more and more polarised on the issue of immigration. Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats are all vying with one another to appear more and more anti-immigrant. Yet it is clear that immigrants are vital to the life of this country, and have been instrumental in creating much of what we now value most. Much of what the big parties are doing is to distract from the real threat to people’s standard of life and to our culture – the capture of our state by the interests of the wealthy and big corporations.

The Green Party’s leader, Natalie Bennett has taken a stand against the cynical exploitation of the immigration issue, something the vast majority of the Green Party are extremely proud of. A small number of Greens associated with the group “Population Matters” have written to the Guardian to challenge Natalie’s strong stand against xenophobia. Their letter tendentiously links immigration to population growth. Population Matters are best known for encouraging their supporters to offset their carbon emissions by funding projects reducing the birth rate in Global South countries like Madagascar and Ethiopia.

These anti-immigrant Greens wish our party to participate in immigrant-bashing, and the creation of an environment of fear of immigrants and those descended from immigrants. We reject the insinuations by those authors of the letter as totally as immoral and profoundly opposed to Green values.

This response, authored and organised by Benali Hamdache and now supported by well over 100 Greens, will appear in tomorrow’s Guardian. If would like to add your signature, please leave your name in the comments below:

We are dismayed to see the response by a very small group of Green Party members to Natalie Bennett’s bold speech on the toxicity of the immigration debate. We are migrants, the children of migrants and people whose families have lived in Britain for centuries. We reject the attempts by government and the media to divide us. We welcome the vital contribution made to our country, our lives and our public services by immigrants and the children of immigrants

National leaders have shamefully scapegoated migrants as the cause of the housing shortage, wage stagnation and increasing pressures on the benefit system. It is disappointing to hear the false narrative repeated that mass migration is a driver of societal ills. Natalie Bennett was correct to say “the government is scapegoating immigrants instead of acknowledging its own failings”. It is also true to state that this rhetoric drives discrimination, violence and disadvantage. Too many of us have experienced such prejudice.

Green Party policy is emphatically on the side of a fair and humane migration policy. Our policy recognises that current governmental policy would rather chase Daily Mail headlines than treat migrants fairly. We wholeheartedly oppose current policy that separates families, that drives away international students and that deports vulnerable asylum seekers back to places of danger. Migration is an easy scapegoat for when government is failing in its duties, we as Greens reject that mentality.

1. Benali Hamdache
2. Manishta Sunnia
3. Charlene Concepcion
4. Peter McColl
5. Romayne Phoenix
6. Caroline Allen
7. Sarah Cope
8. Deyika Nzeribe
9. Cllr Maggie Chapman, Edinburgh City Council
10. Noel Lynch
11. Hannah Ellen Clare
12. Sebastian Power
13. Stuart Neyton
14. Joe Lo
15. Ryan Coley
16. Matt Hawkins
17. Clifford Fleming
18. Samir Jeraj
19. Mark Burkwood
20. Jamie Whitham
21. Deborah Fenney
22. Juliette Daigre
23. Pete Murry
24. Thom French
25. Cllr Gina Dowding, Lancashire County Council
26. Mike Williamson
27. Laura Shepherd
28. Eliot Folan
29. Martin Francis
30. Ben Bradley
31. Keith Baker
32. Alex Rendall
33. Sarah Marks
34. Chris Jarvis
35. Rob Telford
36. Lewis Coyne
37. Fee Ferguson
38. Adam Ramsay
39. Gary Dunion
40. Alfie Van Den Bos
41. Josiah Mortimer
42. Simon Hales
43. Dave Taylor
44. Andy Chyba
45. Richard J Armstrong
46. Stephen Little
47. Margaret Westbrook
48. Lesley Graheme
49. Jim McGinley
50. Lynton North
51. Andrew Rossall
52. Simeon Jackson
53. David Mottram
54. Anne Vivienne Power
55. Jill Perry
56. Cllr Sam Hollick, Oxford City Council
57. Karl Wardlaw
58. Jonathan Clatworthy
59. Stephen Linnott
60. Steve Dawe
61. Hazel Dawe
62. Alwynn Cartmell
63. Steve Hayesa
64. Chris Hart
65. George Heron
66. Lee Burkwood
67. Glen Glencowski
68. Steven Durrant
69. Siobhan MacMahon
70. Ryan Cleminson
71. Paul Cohen
72. Douglas Rouxel
73. Steve Hayes
74. Amelia Womack
75. Howard Thorpe
76. Rachel Hardy
77. Duncan Davis
78. Dirk Nols
79. Daniel Key
80. Derek Wall
81. Ben Mitchell
82. Robin Winslow
83. Dave Collins
84. Jake Pentland
85. Sullivan Poulter
86. Dan Phillips
87. Ben Young
88. James Mackenzie
89. Karl Stanley
90. Tom Lagden
91. Charles Gate
92. Rustam Majainah
93. Alison Bain
94. Adam McGregor
95. John Beckingham
96. Allan Faulds
97. Luke Walker
98. Casper Drake
99. Chris Appleby
100. Graham Wroe
101. Daniel Juett
102. John Cooper
103. Chris Hyland
104. Jo Chandler
105. Lindsay Ashford
106. Joannna Sprackett
107. Bernard Little
108. Siân Berry
109. William Pinkney-Baird
110. Nick Martin
111. Ryan Bestford
112. George Czernuszka
113. Cait ni Cadlaig
114. Alan Borgars
115. Julieanne Porter
116. Kevin Meaney
117. Tim Burdon
118. Howard Thorp
119. Penny Kemp
120. Tony Gair
121. Matt Hanley
122. Shakti Shah
123. Harris Kaloudis
124. Cllr Will Duckworth, Dudley MBC, Deputy Leader of the Green Party
125. David Lyons
126. Jack Mcglen
127. Viv Preece
128. Chloe Cheeseman
129. Kate Billington
130. Peter Murray
131. Kyla Darrell
132. Violeta Vajda
133. Mike Lammiman
134. Sean Thompson
135. Jean-Marc Ben (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, France)
136. Alan Wheatley
137. Ian Huckson
138. Sue Shanks
139. Susan Murray
140. Peter Burrows
141. Graham Ward
142. Martin Deane
143. Philip Leicester
144. Michael Marten
145. Dr Robert George
146. Joe Cassels
147. John-James Bulstrode
148. Marina Gray
149. Heidi Bendstrup
150. Alex Wood
151. Cllr Ricky Knight, Barnstaple Town Council
152. Jerzy Pawlicki
153. Bronwen Jones
154. Paul Atkins
155. Tim Turner
156. Pippa Bartolotti, Leader, Wales Green party
157. Dorothy Wilson
158. Kate Griffin
159. Peter Garbutt
160. Cllr Sven Rufus, Brighton & Hove City Council
161. Jo Hancox
162. Inti Suarez (GroenLinks, Netherlands)
163. Lucy Early
164. Paul Philo
165. Carlie Goldsmith
166. Nicole Haydock
167. Jonathan Tilley
168. Ollie Sykes
169. David Walker
170. Matthew Butcher
171. Kathryn Jones
172. John Medhurst
173. Sue Tibbles
174. Robin Kinrade
175. Marcus Pitcaithly
176. Michael Brader
177. Valerie Phillips
178. Peter Mountford-Smith
179. Dave Eatock
180. Lesley Hedges
181. Jo Lavender
182. Cllr Ben Duncan (Brighton and Hove City Council)
183. Douglas Coker
184. Lauren Sloan
185. Laura Bannister

Institutional signatories:
Green Left
Green Party Trade Union Group
Scottish Young Greens