Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy, in other countries, asylum from persecution.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 14.
We, in modern Britain, are fortunate to benefit from a standard of living vastly beyond the expectations or imagination of our grandparents, and to enjoy a degree of security not shared by those who dwell in countries blighted by famine, war or the constant threat of war.
Our political leaders struggle to find a balance between securing our borders and extending the hand of compassion to the rising tide of refugees who stand at our door and knock.
In the words of Dr Savitri Taylor: We must choose carefully how we treat the stranger among us, because our choice has serious implications for the stranger, but also for ourselves.
The immigration queue winds on
and slowly on, then out of sight.
We clutch our vouchers, move along:
in twos, with eyes downcast, polite;
a flock, a never-ending throng,
bent-shouldered, stricken, sick and drawn.
All, but our clothes and one small bag,
is lost: abandoned any how.
The future is relinquished too:
we live in the rude present now
and leave behind all that we knew:
possessions, symbols, honour, flag.
Officials, at the narrow gate,
are brusque beneath the moving lens
of cameras that seem alive.
We enter, gather in our pens,
like bees within a buzzing hive,
to wait, survive and procreate.