Compassionate words for people seeking refuge in Britain | Letters | World news

So according to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, 94 refugees trying to cross the Channel is a “major incident” (Rise in migrants trying to cross Channel declared a ‘major incident’, 29 December). Tell that to the people of Lampedusa, who have received 400,000 refugees (both alive and dead) on their shores in the past two decades – and whose municipal officials have resisted calling them “migrants” and named them “refugees” (which they are until proved otherwise).

The home secretary would do well to consider the inflammatory nature of his language, playing as it does right into the anti-immigrant narrative with its aspersions of illegality. The Guardian might also consider the laxity of its language – 17 uses of the word “migrants” in one article (Crisis at sea: Who are the people taking this risky route and why?, 29 December) when referring to the refugees arriving in Kent whose status has yet to be determined.
Ruth Windle
Frome, Somerset

As is acknowledged by Yvette Cooper and Diane Abbott in your report, the only way to prevent such “incidents” from happening is to improve communications with the French authorities. While the build-up of refugees in areas such as Calais may only affect the French, the devastating effects of ill-advised refugees attempting to cross the Channel on their own is felt just as strongly on British shores.

The statistic that 94 migrants have attempted to cross over to Britain since Christmas Day alone speaks volumes about the desperation and insecurity that these migrants must be feeling. At this point, the crisis becomes less of a political issue determined by national borders, and more of a human issue. This can only be solved through nations uniting, and understanding the problems seen in each other’s territories.
Thomas Hodgson

With more than 68 million displaced people in the world, with thousands welcomed by Greece, Italy and Germany, is this really a “major incident”? While England’s prime minister advocated a “hostile environment” and a former foreign secretary trivialised the customs of Muslims, many of us already felt sick. Tragedy in the Channel adds to our shame. It might also be apt to remember that Christianity’s founder, whose birth many recently celebrated, was himself a refugee.
Liz Byrne
Letchworth, Hertfordshire

Re your report (Trump threatens to close Mexico border ‘entirely’ unless funds approved for wall, 29 December), if Donald Trump claims he has the power to “close the Southern Border entirely”, therefore blocking illegal immigration and ensuring US security, doesn’t that make constructing his wall futile? Threats of closing the border “entirely” if he is not given consent to build the wall, however, fail to recognise the vital flows of goods between the two nations that also benefit his beloved USA. Ultimately, the infrastructure necessary for the border to function is already there. Constructing a wall along the boundary simply to make a statement would only increase hostility.
Lucy Gabriel
Newcastle upon Tyne

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