Daily Archives: July 2, 2012

It could have been you, it could have been me.

This post is partly prompted by the ongoing debate about immigration, partly prompted by Ian’s post, but mainly by some letters I have been reading. Recently some letters have come to light in my family which were written by my Great-Grandad to my Grandad and Great Aunt in the 1920’s and 30’s. He was at the time living in New York and they were living in Bristol. When they were 12 and 13, there Mother died, and several of the letters were written around this time, with some others being written when they were in their later teens. At the time he was living with very little money illegally, and wasn’t in a position to either return to the UK or get his children to America. Reading the letters re-enforces how he desperately wanted to do the right thing for his children, but couldn’t change the situation. The letters just remind me that anyone can end up in the situation of being an immigrant, it is by an accident of birth, it’s because of the situation that I was born in to that I am not the person hoping to find a better life in a different country, relying on others good will. Reading his letters I can also see he regrets his initial decision to seek a better life else where, but that once he had made what he thought was the right choice for all his family, that he was stuck in a situation that he was unable to change. Before judging both asylum seekers and economic migrants, it is worth reminding ourselves, that if we had been born somewhere else, then it could have been us.