Desperately seeking asylum
A TRAIN bound from France to Britain has been found to have a family of asylum seekers on it. The asylum seekers, however, were not ordinary train passengers since they had travelled not in the carriages, but underneath the train.
Travelling in such a way was, of course, extremely dangerous and is an indication of how desperate some refugees are to emigrate to another country. Unfortunately for the asylum seekers, it is the policy of many countries to have a restriction on the number and nature of immigrants allowed in. Thus, a great many asylum seekers travel in secret, either being smuggled in on lorries or boats, or becoming stowaways on planes, ships or trains. Such action is against the immigration laws and causes those arriving illegally to be known as illegal immigrants.
Some of the asylum seekers are seeking political asylum because their safety is under threat in their own countries, as a result of their political beliefs. Others are really economic refugees, who are seeking a better standard of living for themselves and their families.
Economic refugees are usually less welcome than the seekers of political asylum, since many countries fear that too many immigrants, particularly unskilled ones, are likely to increase both their levels of unemployement and the amount of money spent to benefit. For this reason, many asylum seekers falsely claim to be doing so on political grounds and have been called bogus asylum seekers.
Asylum seekers are often exploited by people who wish to make money out of the situation. These profiteers may provide the asylum seekers with false passports or with illegal transport.Their journeys are often extremely uncomfortable and often they are unsuccessful.
Life for those who do succeed in getting into another country is not easy. In some countries, they are put in reception centres, which are sometimes no better than detention centres, while their applications for entry are processed. If they are given accommodation in towns and cities, they usually do not have enough money to live on and are sometimes the victims of racist attacks.
asylum (also political system) protection given by a government to people from another country who have left it because their lives were in danger, often because of their political beliefs: The new presidents is a very cruel man and many of his opponents are seeking asylum abroad. asylum seeker a person who asks for political asylum in another country benefit (also called state benefit) money given by a government to someone who is in need of financial help because they cannot find work or because they are unable to work because of illness, etc: benefit more generally means something that is good for you or has a good effort on you in some way, an advantage bogus not genuine, although pretending to be so, false: He said that he was the dead man’s long-lost nephew, but his claim was bogus. detention centre a place where people are kept by the authorities and prevented from leaving, often a place where young people who have committed offences are kept to some time by order of a court: When Rob committed the crime he was too young to go to prison and so he was sent to a detention centre. detain to keep someone somewhere, often officially, and prevent them from leaving. He was detained overnight in a police cell. detain (formal) also means to delay someone economic refugee a person who comes to another country in order to improve their living conditions, rather than because they are in need of political asylum: It is often difficult for asylum seekers to prove that their lives were in danger in their own country and they are not simply economic refugees. emigrate to leave your native country and go and live permanently in another country: Pam’s parents emigrated to Peru because they couldn’t find work at home in Venezuela. emigrant a person who emigrates: A shipload of emigrants were leaving Britain for Canada. exploit 1. to treat someone unfairly for your own personal gain or advantage: The manager knows that jobs are scarce and he exploits the young workers by making them work long hours for low pay.
2. to use or develop something, especially so as to gain as much advantage from it as possible: By exploiting their resources skilfully, Bob and Laura were able to continue in business. illegal immigrant a person who tries to come and live permanently in a country without having legal permission to do so: The restaurant employs illegal immigrants as kitchen staff and pays them very low wages. immigrant (often used as an adjective) a person who comes to live permanently in a country, having left their native country to do so: Some of the immigrants were met by relatives as they came off the ship. immigration the act of coming to live permanently in a country having left your native country profiteer a person who makes a great deal of money in an unfair way, for example, by charging more for goods than they are worth by charging more for goods than they are worth because they are difficult to get
During the war, food was very scarce and there were many profiteers. racist showing racism; connected with racism reception centre a place which provides temporary accommodation for people who are in need of somewhere to live until permanent accommodation can be found: Flood victims are being taken to a reception centre in the next town. refugee a person who leaves their own country or home because they are seeking protection from war or protection from attack, because of their politcal or religious beliefs or because they are homeless and in need of food and clothing: Following the floods, many thousands were made homeless and the government had to set up refugee camps. refuge a place of shelter or protection; shelter or protection: We were seeking refuge from the storm when we found the barn. smuggle to bring something or someone into or out of a country or place secretly and often illegally: I didn't want my daughter to see her present so I had to smuggle it upstairs. standard of living (also living standard) the level of wealth or comfort that a person, group, country, etc: The family's standard of living had been greatly reduced since their father lost his job. stowaway a person who hides on a vehicle, plane or ship, hoping to be taken somewhere without having to pay: When the lorry driver got off the ferry, he found two stowaways in the back of his vehicle.