Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Tuesday, 30 April 2002 12:13 UK

Should children of asylum seekers have separate schooling?

The government has moved to defuse the race row sparked by the Home Secretary's remark about asylum seekers "swamping" British schools.

Introducing the controversial Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, David Blunkett said children of asylum seekers would be taught in accommodation centres rather than overwhelming local schools.

Many MPs and campaigners fear that separate schooling could lead to segregation and would rather refugee children had the chance of a mainstream education.

Should the children of asylum seekers be taught separately in special schools? Or should they receive a mainstream education in local state schools?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I applaud David Blunkett
Paul Monro, UK
I am a teacher and I suppose I have always had 'left' leanings. However I do believe we should have a debate about asylum seekers and I applaud David Blunkett for having the guts to do so. I think that children who cannot speak English should be taught the language BEFORE they are integrated.
Paul Monro, UK

What kind of society do you honestly believe you would have with a different schooling for different people of different cultures? Whether we like it or not we are at the beginning of a new world order, a global order where we must teach both our differences and similarities.
Jeem, Canada

We should be uniting society, not classifying it into sections.
Emily, UK

In our country we are fully capable of teaching children in the English language, even in schools where the vast majority of children can from homes where English is not spoken. How can it be possible that this type of an argument is even taking place? I am increasingly disgusted with the arrogance and selfishness that those from the West take their position in life for granted. If you don't have room for an asylum seekers child in your child's classroom, then something is rotten in your heart. By the way I am teacher...
K.A., Canada

As a foreign student myself, I have been very satisfied with the Educational system that Britain has to offer
Astrit Muhaxheri, UK
As a foreign student myself, I have been very satisfied with the Educational system that Britain has to offer. Thought I must say I regret David Blunkett's comment on the situation with 'refugee students' in British schools. I came to Britain 4 years ago and wasn't able to get into any school for over 8 months, and when I got in it was the worst in my borough, but still I managed to come top with my GCSE results, out of a school which had over 1300 pupils and that only after studying there for a year, I not only managed to learn the language but much more. And since then I have kept on improving. Now I am at the second year of my A levels which I am predicted 5 A grades.
Astrit Muhaxheri, UK

I came to England from Nigeria to study for a masters and my standard of written and spoken English was far better than that of my British counterparts. Also my scientific knowledge was far better. This spurred the British students to compete with me and thus raised the standard. It would do the British students a world of good to have a competitive environment.
SP, USA/UK/Nigeria

I think they should be sent to boot camps and trained to do specific menial jobs. When they've earned enough money they can pay for their own education.
Philip Cray, UK

I don't care where people are from, it's not about background, it's about ability. If 'they' are at the standard expecting for a given age group then 'they' should be taught with that age group - and that goes for British kids as well.
James Roberts, London, UK

There is no need for segregation unless the aim is to breed contempt and hatred
Eileen, UK
There is no need for segregation unless the aim is to breed contempt and hatred. It is a fact that children pick up languages very quickly. Children of asylum seekers should be allowed access to mainstream education immediately with extra language tuition to help them integrate fully. It is wrong to say that non-English speaking children will hinder the progress of their peers. Where this does happen, you should be questioning the capabilities of the teachers. Any competent teacher will know how to address an individual's needs without compromising their other students. If we don't give people access to mainstream education they will never be equipped to embrace independence. If we segregate these children, we will only be encouraging them to rely on the state's welfare system which our own people are already putting a strain on.
Eileen, UK

It is very hard to put all asylum seekers in the same category and therefore your question is not easy to answer. I'm a bit doubtful about putting asylum seekers into main stream schools, especially if the percentage is very high. Teachers are struggling as it is with large size classes and keep taking on more responsibilities. Some people say that other pupils will not be affected by placing children of asylum seekers in their classes. I find this very hard to believe and therefore would prefer these children to achieve a reasonable level of English before joining main stream schools. It's a major problem and especially since the doors are wide open to come to the UK. Once here, it is very hard to send anyone back. How much more can this island take.
Victoria, UK

Surely it makes sense to ensure that a class has a common language before trying to teach it? I cannot see how anyone can argue that having a class of children where some do not have a suitable grasp of English to learn what is being taught is in anyway helpful for anyone.
Dan, UK

Am I the only person who finds Tara's desire for a "healthy proportion of all races" insulting? How dare (s)he insinuate that areas with a predominantly white British population (i.e. most of the country outside the big cities) are somehow "unhealthy"?
PK, UK/Germany

I do not intend to stay in this country indefinitely but while I am working here, I would like to send my children to a school which has a healthy proportion of children of all races. I do not see such a mix in the area I live and I am afraid that this will cause my children to be segregated in the British society. I will return home to India when they are of a school going age.
Tara, India/UK

Why not assess them first?
Sarah, UK
Why not assess them first? Those who can speak English and are of a similar academic standard as the pupils in the classes they will be joining should be taught in mainstream schools. However, those who may struggle should be taught separately until they have reached a level at which they are on an equal footing with the rest of the class. At this point they should be free to join a mainstream school.
Sarah, UK

These children have every right to learn and be educated like any other child living in this country. They are not criminals and they are not a threat to society, and therefore do not need to be segregated from the rest of the population. These children are victims of unfortunate political circumstances, and so not need to suffer anymore then they already have!
Manjit, England

Until someone is a British Citizen they should not be allowed access to any of our public services, unless they are willing to pay for it. British citizens pay taxes for schools and hospitals. It is immoral, illogical and clearly wrong to give those facilities to someone who hasn't contributed towards them. When British citizens are abroad we pay for the right to use other people's services.
James Norris, England

They should be educated separately if they don't speak English. If they are put in mainstream schools then they will only hold back the rest of the class. Surely if they're educated separately then they can focus on English and communication skills to enable them to be educated in main-stream schools if their asylum status is recognised.
Amanda, England

If a child doesn't understand, they become bored and bored children play up.
Morag Cooper, UK in France
There is no point in a child being in a class when they don't understand anything. If a child doesn't understand, they become bored and bored children play up. It must be bad enough to teach a class of 33+ six year olds and trying to keep everyone working to their potential, but if there's a little group who don't speak English and worse, all speak the same language, all hell could break loose. There is a lack of discipline in UK schools already. All children need to be helped to reach their potential and children attending a school where they don't speak the language will be missing out on their chance of a decent education.
Morag Cooper, UK in France

A few years ago I had the honour (yes, honour) of helping some Bosnian refugees settle into their new country. The father spoke a little English, the mother none, and the kids pure Serbo-Croat. Do you think they wanted separate schooling? No way! They were proud to have found a home in a country that wanted them after their rejection from their natural home. Today they are strong contributors to society and the children graduated and hold down excellent jobs. I have no problem with refugees or asylum seekers receiving language training and settling-in help - look at what other countries do for their immigrants. But, you come to the UK to be British, not Afghan or Bosnian or anything else. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.
Brian, England

Why should we care about offending asylum seekers by saying their children swamp our schools? They should consider themselves lucky to be here. If they don't like it then they're more than welcome to leave!
Sara Dawson, UK

It is difficult enough for our teachers to teach children within the existing framework
ns, England
Having children who attend a school in an area where there are a large number of refugees/asylum seekers, I can see the need for providing separate schooling for these children. It is difficult enough for our teachers to teach children within the existing framework, where teachers are amongst the first to be blamed for bad behaviour and poor performance of the children. Neither they nor the majority of children and parents seeking education need additional distractions. I don't believe this is about segregation, or about treating the refugee children as second class, but about providing our children with good quality education, and stability.
ns, England

Although not asylum seekers, two of my children spent some time in German schools, where, at first their linguistic skills were minimal. Our experience showed that integration with native children is by far the best option. There is no need for teachers to spend any extra time with overseas children, as they pick the language up in their own time. All that's needed is a little patience.
Peter Sykes, UK

Absolutely not. I have worked in London schools for 20 years and in that time have worked with Vietnamese, Kurdish, and Somali refugee children and their families. They have all brought a richness to the schools and have helped broaden the horizons of the "English" children they came into contact with. They have also helped me to broaden my understanding of their cultures and the reasons why they fled their own countries. Separating them will only serve to deepen the entrenched racist views of many in the host community. This is well demonstrated by David Blunkett, who with his choice of the emotionally loaded word "swamped" has put himself on a par with Enoch Powell.
John Wadsworth, London, England

Will we apply the same rule to EU families whose children are unable to speak English - would they too be segregated into special schools? Shouldn't we, the more affluent in the world, pay the price by helping those less fortunate? After all the West and particularly my country utilises the majority of the world's natural resources. We should consider ourselves lucky and blessed that we can give.
Janeen, USA

I know that I have been given a chance in this great country to make something of myself.
It's no fun in a refugee camp. I know because I was in one for over 6 months. When I did come to the UK and had to attend school, it was tough and I had to work much harder than anyone else in the class. I could never take anything for granted. I know that I have been given a chance in this great country to make something of myself. And I have, compared to the other white kids I went to school with. They take education and social security for granted.

In secondary school, there is a system where smart kids are taught separately in some subjects, so they can realise their potential. Kids who couldn't care less whether they passed or failed their exams were babysat in lower groups. But every kid did tests to place them in the right group, giving everyone a chance at education. This is a possible way forward.

I work in special needs education, and we've worked hard to integrate pupils with special needs into mainstream schools. How is this any different? Segregation by race is even more divisive than segregation by disability.
Ben Drake, York, UK

I can't believe some of the arguments that are being forwarded for separate schools! What exactly is being preserved by separating the kids - culture, accents or anything if at all? The command of the English language is no prognosticator of intelligence and the British kids have a thing or two to learn from these kids that have seen more of life than on the back of a cereal box.

If the Government representatives wish their constituents to continue to wallow in their narrow minded view of the world then it is time new leaders were chosen. The world is such a changed place now - instead of separation, the teachers should be coming up with innovative ways to take advantage of the cultural and religious diversity they now have instead of using escapist techniques.
Bode Akintan, Nigerian citizen in Canada

The idea is laudable but not practicable. My children are in primary school and their teacher has to cope with the fact that one third of the students cannot speak English properly - I do not pay taxes for this type of education. These do-gooders who say we should integrate obviously do not have children in these type of classes and neither are their neighbourhoods full of asylum seekers - their views would surely change if they knew the reality and the pain it is causing.
Sam Lloyd, London

Kate, UK. It's quite possible that, "Research clearly shows that the quickest and most efficient way to learn an additional language is by total immersion" but this research doesn't show that this is equally beneficial to the other kids in class, which is perhaps what the issue is.
Jonathan, Spain

I find it puzzling that people believe that integration can occur by segregation
Kate, England
As someone who has experience of teaching refugee/asylum seeker's children in inner city Manchester, I can reassure some of your correspondents that children who have English as an additional language do not hold up the learning of the rest of the class. Research clearly shows that the quickest and most efficient way to learn an additional language is by total immersion, which is what currently happens. I find it puzzling that people believe that integration can occur by segregation!
Kate, England

When I was at school, immigrant children, including asylum seekers, who were unable to speak English, were assigned to normal tutorial groups, but took intensive English lessons apart from their classmates. As soon as they were considered able to understand lessons given in English, they then rejoined the rest of their class for normal lessons. It worked very well.
Julie, UK

Asylum seekers need to have their claims processed within three months. Faster processing of asylum claims would greatly help this situation. Only after they have been processed should the issue of schooling arise. If they stay in Britain, then the children should go to Britain's schools and learn to integrate, as well as having lessons in English.
Jacqui, UK

Separation and segregation is not the way forward in our society. Children should be in contact with other cultures and races from an early age, this is the way to build a more tolerant society - separation will worsen the problems of race relations in the UK and probably prove to be more expensive.
Huw, Wales

This is simply to appease the right wing
John Ward, UK
First the government wants people from overseas to integrate into British society, then it starts talking in terms of separating them in a way which smacks horribly of segregation. This is simply to appease the right wing. Unfortunately, singing from their song book simply makes their music more acceptable.
John Ward, UK

I have to speak up in support of David Blunkett and the truly ridiculous debate over his use of the word "swamping". I am a fellow Sheffielder and I can tell you this is just a "northernism" for having too much to cope with and nothing to do with sewage (as one MP said it reminded her of) or the BNP. Perhaps all the do-gooders who disagree with this latest proposal by the government should be forced to join our schools and cope with the day to day problems of dealing with children with no knowledge of the language alongside all the other challenges that teaching today presents.
Laraine Cook, England

These children should not be educated in British schools until they have a proper command of the English language. I am a supply teacher and we are finding it a struggle to cope with class sizes now. Please do not fill our schools with children who cannot speak the language as this will do our own children's future no good whatsoever. Charity begins at home!
Louise, UK

As a teacher of refugee children I completely disagree with educating children in special centres. The full force of government education policy at this time is centred on inclusion - surely the segregation of refugees is diametrically against this?
Patricia Douglas, UK

Let's be honest about this problem. These children have to be educated and the best start is to teach them English before we integrate them into our school system, so that they are on a par with those born and bred in these islands.
Brian Wood, England

Why this obsession with learning to speak English properly? Refugee children will learn the local language best by integrating into the mainstream education system as quickly as possible. Their knowledge of science and maths are often better than their British contemporaries, so they shouldn't have too much trouble. Similarly, their parents will learn English best by living and working in the community - maybe attending advanced literacy classes to further improve their education and employment prospects. I find it interesting that so many correspondents equate "Britishness" with English language skills. My children and I are UK citizens, but speak Welsh - what is our status?
Lisa, Wales

I can certainly see the point of having the children of asylum seekers educated separately. Once they have been granted asylum, then of course they should be part of the normal education system, but while their fate is undecided it makes sense for them to be educated separately. It should allow for English language classes to bring them up to speed and classes about life in Britain so that once they are part of the normal system they will stand a better chance of fitting in and making the most of the educational opportunities available to them.
Anna, UK

There is little point in sending them to a main-stream school until they can speak, read and write English
Caron, England
There is little point in sending them to a main-stream school until they can speak, read and write English. Hence the first priority is to teach them this, preferably in small groups of peers so that they don't feel isolated by their lack of English. Then, and only then, should they be integrated in the main-stream schooling.
Caron, England

What is wrong with educating the children in the same school but in a different class with other similar children. This way they learn English by playing with the other children and get educated at the same time. It would also be good for the British children to have friends that are from other countries.
Robert , UK

All across Europe it has been recognised that getting children into mainstream education, whether they have a disability or a special need, is desirable and has positive effects for the child. Is this any different for Asylum Seekers' children, for whom English is a second language. The findings of the report into the problems in Bradford and Oldham argued the case for closer integration not separation. The actions of the government appear to contradict this.
Ewan Roberts, UK

These people are seeking asylum. They are not yet Her Majesty's subjects. The UK has no incumbent responsibility to people who are not UK citizens. If you look at the US, immigrants are only allowed to become US citizens after passing exams in US history and are able to provide for themselves. Unfortunately in the UK we do not get immigrants who wish to work but those who have heard of the welfare state and are out to sponge off UK tax payers without contributing to society. It irritates me that our social services are swamped by people who are not contributing to our society. We have no responsibility to these people and should do as the US does.
Dr. Paul Mackey, UK

Blunkett never said that there was to be a permanent segregation.
William, UK
The point being missed here is that the families will be together in the reception centres until the end of the asylum process. If the result is the grant of asylum then it is natural and proper that integration will follow as permission to remain will have been given and they will leave the asylum system. If the applications are refused then removal from the UK will follow. There is no point in arranging for asylum seekers to settle into a community and then have the trauma of being uprooted from it and removed. The failed applicant will rarely if ever volunteer to be removed in any case. What we need is enough space for all applicants in the centres and the facilities to provide services within them until the process. Blunkett never said that there was to be a permanent segregation. Deal with the application then integrate or remove but do it fairly and quickly to both the applicant and the overstretched host community.
William, UK

It seems reasonable that those lacking English language skills should be educated separately; I would include those many native-born-and-bred who have never grasped HM's English.
Gerry, UK

Mr Blunkett is paving the way for segregation
Yetunde, UK
Surely if the asylum seekers are separated from mainstream local schools Mr Blunkett is paving the way for segregation. I am so appalled by his comments that I feel physically sick. He wants to teach the children and parents English culture but on the other hand he wants to keep them separate. The best way surely to integrate society is to allow society to merge and mix not separate.
Yetunde, UK

We keep talking about asylum seekers, but 80% of these people are economic migrants. Therefore, we should demand their host countries pay the British Government their tuition fees.

This will lead to more violence towards young refugees and asylum-seekers
Annie, UK
Segregating children in this way will only lead to more violence being perpetrated towards young refugees and asylum-seekers, and it will make the process of integration far longer and more painful for those children who will eventually become British citizens. Children do integrate, and it's vitally important that British children have the opportunity to learn with and from children who have come from appalling situations. Segregation will lead to demonisation. No ghetto has ever survived the onslaught of a determined oppressor and we should be very afraid of where Mr Blunkett's steps will lead our society.
Annie, UK

What a clueless approach. Here's a clue Mr Blunkett: if there are not enough schools, build some more. That was tough eh? Use the money you are going to use to educate immigrant children outside mainstream education to educate them INSIDE it. What a bunch of clowns. What I'd give for a decent alternative.
Matt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Blunkett has done the right thing here
OK, England
David Blunkett has done the right thing here, he knows he must be seen to be doing something for both English and immigrant communities. I think separate schooling is a good idea. They should be taught in special schools linked to their refugee camps.
OK, England

What is required is common sense, not racist, right wing segregation or left wing passiveness. If the class sizes are not going to expand dramatically and the refugees do not require a grossly disproportionate amount of teacher time then they should of course go to mainstream schools.
Philip Levy, UK

No. We now have various completely separate societies in the UK based on different religions and cultures. The country is now divided into different little countries and to further isolate immigrants will only drive greater wedges into society's fabric.
Adrian W, UK

Yes, they certainly should have separate schooling. The entire social infrastructure of Britain - including education, health, policing and housing - is under unbearable strain in many areas from having to deal with huge numbers of illegal immigrants (most of whom have no legitimate claim to asylum, so let's use the correct term for a change). Why on earth should British citizens suffer the double whammy of both financing services for illegal immigrants and undermining the services that Britons themselves pay for and use?
Michael Entill, UK

To deprive children of a chance is bureaucracy at its most underhand
Stephen, N. Ireland
No they shouldn't have separate schooling. Their parents brought them to our country to start a new life and take avail of all the opportunities that the UK can offer. It's one thing to say that we shouldn't accept too many asylum seekers but to deprive children of a chance to make something of themselves is bureaucracy at its most underhand. What type of people would they grow up to be if they were refused a decent education all of their young lives because they "didn't belong here"? Children have the potential to grow into valuable members of society that contribute to the overall economy of the country or to grow into wasteful, hateful antisocial urchins. We have the power to help them along the right path, which would you prefer?
Stephen, N. Ireland

Why should we educate the kids of asylum seekers at all? We are already short of teachers for the tax paying, hard working population. It is worth applying for asylum in the UK just to get free education. Given the speed that asylum requests are processed, there is a good 10 years or so of western education to be had for nothing.
John Atkins, England

Stop marking the language out of ten and get on with the job
Paul B, Oxfordshire, UK
Politicians would rather agonise over the words used than attempt to solve the problems recognised by vast numbers of people in the UK. Diane Abbott, on the radio spoke only of what we should not do - she didn't offer any solutions. This morning on Radio 4 Roy Hattersley even rejected the use of the word "overwhelm" as pejorative. He didn't offer any solutions either. It's time our politicians stopped hiding behind a PC wall and confronted directly the concerns of people. Can we drop the cliches, stop marking the language out of ten and just get on with the job.
Paul B, Oxfordshire, UK

They should be part of the main school system but should be provided with lessons aimed at bringing them up to a level with their peers.
Gerry, Scotland

I have the greatest admiration for asylum seekers
Mark, UK
I have the greatest respect and admiration for asylum seekers, who travel great distances at huge risk to improve their lives. The problem that this country faces, is the attitude of various refugee groups, who brand as racist any objective discussion of the very real issues involved for the indigenous population. Logistically, the problem is probably manageable but the funds expended on refugees come at the expense of our public services, already under great strain. We need to debate this issue openly.
Mark, UK

Is it any wonder the far-right are gaining ground when there are outcries like this by minority groups over a perfectly legitimate word in this sort of debate? This will backfire on these people and make ordinary, tolerant people more extreme. I would have thought it was obvious that asylum seeker's children would need to be educated separately. How are the teachers supposed to cope, and offer our own children the best education they can under these circumstances?
Anon, UK

How are the children of asylum seekers going to learn the English of their peers, and integrate adequately into British society without being educated alongside other children? If extra help can be given in accomodation centres, it can be transferred to local schools as additional help for teachers. Children need to be encouraged to mix with other children, to learn the language and to make friends.
S. Harris, UK

Yes, unless they can speak English at an equivalent level to British students of the same age, and are also at the same stage of learning. At least they would be able to learn at a similar rate to their fellow asylum seekers and not hinder the education of others. Any who are thought to have reached the correct standards for their age should then be assimilated into the school system. This will provide a strong learning incentive. Good luck to them, and welcome to Britain.
Andy Bennett, Manchester, England

Racism is clearly stupid but so is political correctness
K Sadler, UK
This has more to do with the language abilities of the children than the fact that they are asylum seekers. My sister teaches six-year-olds and has three Cypriot children in her class who don't speak English and she doesn't speak Turkish. She estimates she is having to spend 35% of her time with them when she has 29 children to teach. The result is that every child in the class suffers. We have to be pragmatic, racism is clearly stupid but so is political correctness. Dedicated schools can focus on teaching the asylum seekers children English and whatever else is needed to let them join mainstream schools after, say, two years. And there should be a clear expectation of how long the integration process should take.
K Sadler, UK

I don't think asylum seekers children are swamping British schools but I do think they might benefit from being taught separately for a while to help them acclimatise. Many will not speak English, and a year of being bought up to speed will be better for them than being thrown into a class where they are expected to just pick it up.
Tom, UK

Blunkett is to be applauded for creating a debate
Brendan Fernandes, UK
If there's no specific reason to send a child to a special school, then we should endeavour to integrate them as much as possible. That way they will be educated on an equal footing with everyone else and so may get a job in the future and contribute to society. Even if they don't remain in this country, with hope they'll develop a positive view of the UK, improve on their English and become a "friend" in the future. In a global society, we should be cautious about having policies which segregate not integrate.

As for the argument that raising this subject "appeases" the far right, it is better that the issues are addressed in the mainstream now, rather than allowing the extremists to become the voice of the people. Even though Blunkett's tone was unfortunate, he is to be applauded for creating a debate. Hopefully we can put to bed the misconceptions about immigration and race that the likes of Le Pen feed upon.
Brendan Fernandes, UK

We want to foster good relationships for racial harmony
Mike, England
Our schools are underfunded and stretched to breaking point already but we want to foster good relationships for racial harmony. I have a suggestion: separate schooling until the immigrants are formally accepted into this country, then they should be spread evenly over the whole country (to ease the schooling systems in hotspots) and definitely sent to a regular school, and made to learn English and British history and customs (citizenship). The forceful learning of English is against some people's wishes, but I think we must accept that a policy must be put in place so that communities are not isolated as was seen last year in the north.
Mike, England

No, no, and a thousand times NO! These children should be treated like any other child living in the UK. By all means make sure the schools are funded accordingly but don't make these children feel even more like second-hand citizens!
Jenny, UK

Mr Blunkett's quote that the education in centres will be to the same standard as schools nullifies his proposal to teach children separately. That money could be given to schools to improve facilities so that they can accommodate these children and make them feel like a normal child, otherwise this scheme will increase the crime rate.
Khalid, India/UK

Their inclusion would hinder the progress of English-speaking children
Tina, England
If the children of asylum seekers don't speak English, then they should be educated separately. Their inclusion in mainstream schools would hinder the progress of English-speaking children. That's not racist, just common sense.
Tina, England

As if there isn't enough segregation already in schools! These politicians and their exclusionist policies are the solely responsible for creating a ''two speed'' Europe. On one hand, we see the society of affluence where profit and individuality count above all, on the other, there is a poor, secondary Europe, persecuted by wars (often even with the consent of EU politicians). Now we hear it should be further segregated! And then people wonder why Le Pen was successful!!
Mats, Sweden/UK

Yes, why should they be integrated into the society by entering schools? They are unlikely to speak English and they will not integrate. Blunkett is right and the do-gooding left is shouting already, has nobody seen what's just happened in France? Take a look and deal with the issues that worry British people, don't ignore them.
Sven, England

Mini-communities can do a lot to help themselves
John Anderson, UK
Perhaps they should be segregated until they're sufficiently fluent and are able to join in. I think if the different nationalities are sorted out (or sorted themselves out) geographically into mini-communities, then they can do a lot to help themselves.

Self-help is important because the asylum seekers should understand that this isn't the promised land but just another country trying to make its way in the world as best it can, determined to make the best use of limited resources for all its people. This largely unregulated influx of people from all parts of the world is straining the system, but with patience and understanding on both sides, I'm sure it will come right in the end.
John Anderson, UK

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