Britain’s ‘Racist’ Immigration Made Charlotte Larbi a Fraudster

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Britain's Winston Churchill loved his booze. He loved his cigar, too. And of course, he won his wars. But what we probably do not know about him is that he loved pigs more than every other animal. He once said: “I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” If this was a political metaphor, who would you say are the pigs in this Churchill animal tale? Juxtapose this with Stanley Kubrick's famous saying: “The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small ones like prostitutes.” Let's assume that those who look up, the dogs, are the poor nations who always look up to the rich for alms and food. The cats would be the rich who look down on the poor. The pigs are the prostitutes. They are only equal to the gangsters only when they lay with them. Otherwise, what good is a dirty animal that never enters the living room? We barbecue them for leisure, and often feed them to dogs and cats.

This is no animal farm; George Orwell made enough sense out that already. This is modern day civilization that criminalises hard, honest work to please a faceless system. 21st Century democracy sometimes works like a typical stick fight between wayward gangsters. Former US president Ronald Reagan may have confirmed this when he compared politics to prostitution. Imagine this scenario: A hardworking nurse dedicates herself to saving lives for eight years. Her job is so satisfactory that she is proudly displayed on the cover page of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) magazine. In the hospital wards, her patients call her the angel, because of her special dedication to duty and her exemplary professional conduct. She wins a scholarship to upgrade her skills through formal capacity enhancement programmes. She is a celebrated nurse.

What does she get for all that? Grant yourself a license to alter Shakespeare's famous Julius Caesar truism: The good that men do sometimes come to haunt them. The British immigration system feels cheated and fooled by Charlotte's hard work, which, she in fact, executed under a stolen identity. So, she goes to jail for eight months, to assuage the damage done to the borrowed identity. Charlotte had called herself Kate McDowell-Foord all along, a name that belongs to another person. Now the distinctive service she had rendered as a professional does not count. The identity of the professional matters more than the live-saving job she had done over an eight year period.

Churchill likes pigs, because they treat us as equals. I told you from the beginning of this story that pigs are always pigs. A not-so intelligent colleague next door proposed a funny remedy: They should pay her a lump-sum for saving lives when she shouldn't have been working. Charlotte could have joined a terrible trade, selling unmentionable stuff in the dark of the night in a rented apartment. She could have even walked to the chambers of a lawyer and faked a story that she is a lesbian, and her country is persecuting her. So she had come to Britain to avoid being lynched by the Bible-believing Christians in her country. She could even pretend to be the national of a war-torn country and claim asylum to live in Britain forever. She would be paid for doing nothing for years, litter babies around like a cross-bred rabbit, and later sponsor some of her family member on her British passport. At worst, she could actually get a British passport in her own name from some corrupt folks who have links to the immigration system.

Imagine another scenario: A group of immigrants are up in the night, soaring upward into the skies while Britain is generally asleep. They come from everywhere on the globe: Africa, Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and any other place where the dogs look up to the cats. Some of them are baking. Others are cleaning. The men are packing and loading totes and boxes into lorries. The ladies are serving food and mopping around. The noise is at high decibels, as heavy industrial machines pump up real deaf into the atmosphere. Then, there is a break, which may not be paid for. Then they resume work. Suddenly, a line manager pats you on the shoulder and orders you to stop work and follow him to the office, where immigration officers are waiting. You are not supposed to be working. You are grabbed and tossed into a van and sent off like cargo to a detention camp. Another person is called to the room. He doesn't come back. Panic sets in: “The people are here.” Folks run for their lives, through every available exit, as well as the entrances. If you make it, God be with you. If you are nabbed, you have a safe flight back to Ghana.

Consider this last scenario: You are enjoying cold beer after a hard day's work. There is a knock on the door. Who might it be at this time of the evening? You ignore it. There is another knock, not any harder than the first. Ahhhh, who is this? You open the door. These are faces you have never seen before. Yes, what can I do for you? They are looking for your flat mate. Well, he is not in. Any message for him? They are not sure that you are not the person they are looking for. To them, most of these immigrants look the same. Now, they direct their attention to you: Okay, who are you and what do you do? Your immigration situation is as bad as your flat mate's. But he is lucky; he is not at home. They nab you and throw you into a van. Your dreams are dashed in an instant.

Like in many jurisdictions, the British penal system is in part governed by the two competing philosophies of classicalism and positivism. Classicalists believe that offenders choose their actions, so in order to prevent or deter future criminal behaviour, such offences should be punished. Positivists, on the other hand, contend that offenders are forced into the choice of committing crime, usually through no fault of their own. Therefore, the conditions and/or behaviours that caused the action should be remedied. Here, the emphasis is not on punishment; it is on creating enabling conditions for good behaviour or making conditions unattractive to crime.

Even the classicalists know that an immigrant who has overstayed his time in a foreign country is not a criminal in the classical sense, as in the case of an armed robber who kills, steals and rapes. In Charlotte's case, the court had heard that she had used a fake passport to secure the job, so she was guilty of fraud. A legal luminary I know explained that her star status notwithstanding, had Charlotte used her fake identity to commit murder, the law would have gone seeking the original Kate Mcdowell-Foord. Some innocent folks have served time in jail in similar situations.

So, how peculiar is Charlotte's case? The UK Daily Mirror has described the sentence as unfair. The tabloid questions the wisdom in “paying to keep her in prison when she could be helping patients.” The paper's opinion underscores the hypocrisy of the British immigration system. While Charlotte languishes in jail for being a saviour, there are real criminal Britons who have faked medical reports to claim state benefits for life. They work 'under the table' where their identities would not be disclosed. There are natural born Britons who have faked their own death, stealing other people's identities to enjoy a rich afterlife existence. There are scroungers who have maintained council houses for decades while they earn enough to pay mortgage on good houses. They rent these council flats to immigrants for cash 'under the table'. Britons are fleecing the system than immigrants. If lazy immigration officials pretend to work by swooping on warehouses to arrest hardworking immigrants, why has the same system catered for benefit cheats for so long? When an immigrant is arrested for working without authority, he is reduced to a laughable economic unit whose very humanity is weighed in a legal frying pan.

The hypocrisy of the British immigration system shows in the currency it assumes when the major political parties debate policy, as if to say that polices in other important sectors of the British economy must necessarily have an immigration component to them. So that, instead of education policy, Britons would rather have education immigration policy. Labour may appear to have a humane approach to immigration, but the many numbers of immigrants trooping into Britain scares them more than Nick Griffin. The Conservatives know that immigrants know what they know, so their position is not unknown.

This perhaps explains the gangster nature of the great nations. While they make big capital out of immigration, rich nations do not realise that immigrants are often very new to immigration. They had migrated from countries where the word immigration itself is never heard on the news, because it is possible to acquire a passport without going through immigration. They would have sacrificed opportunities and a privileged life to cross borders to another country that happens to be richer than where they came from. So, they expect a better treatment. They don't expect to be tolerated and pitied; they deserve better food than crumbs left on the fringes of the economic table. Rich nations should realise that it is not much of a privilege to allow immigrants to live in their midst. Instead of complaining that immigrants are taking their jobs, they should talk of inadequate jobs. Instead of suspecting that immigration threatens their culture and way of life, they should assess how tangible that threat is, and begin to count their gains. If a pregnant woman decides to give birth at a bus stop, instead of the hospital, as it happened in Britain's Croydon, for fear that she would be deported to her home country, what do we gain from such a pitiful, life threatening experience? Even after being whisked to the hospital by the emergency services, the woman refused to mention her name or just say a word. She faked death and dumb until she was accommodated in a council housing.

Of course, immigrants have not always been law-abiding. Undoubtedly, they have added to the numbers and put a strain on resources. Often times, they have been just real pain. But mostly, they have merely been victims of harsh laws. Presently, Israel has approved legislation to expel children of illegal migrant workers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed with critics that immigration “is a tangible threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel.” CNN showed footage of the police in France assaulting and dragging immigrants in a detention camp. In one instance, a woman who had a child strapped to her back was wheeled on bare concrete like a motorised object, the child tagging along like his umbilical cord. When it comes to immigration, the rich nations still don't get it. They still behave like gangsters, even when they have no gangs.

Benjamin Tawiah is a journalist; he lives in Ottawa, Canada.

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