The blog project, “Life Without Papers”, created by Len Grant, features stories of undocumented migrant families and young people. Undocumented migrants have nothing. They are not allowed to work. They have no right to state benefits nor to a place to live. They are unseen and potentially the most vulnerable group in the UK today.
Undocumented (or irregular) migrants include those trafficked into the sex trade or for domestic servitude; they include visa overstayers; those whose asylum applications have been refused and others who have been subject to failures in the immigration system. All of these may originally have come to the UK legally.
‘Illegal immigrants’ – those imagined to have entered the country in the backs of lorries – make up a small proportion of the undocumented.
Indeed some sources suggest that half the estimated 120,000 undocumented children in the UK were actually born here to undocumented parents. These children are disadvantaged from birth, solely by their immigration status.
The blog tells the stories of the undocumented. It highlights their daily struggles and vulnerabilities, but also their strength and resilience. It’s not an easy read.
You can access the blog via our website (bottom of right hand column on Home Page).
The blog has won the online category of the Speaking Together media awards. The awards were a new addition this year to the Migrant and Refugee Woman of the Year Awards celebration at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of International Women’s Day. The panel of judges – including novelist and playwright Gillian Slovo, and journalist and author, Hannah Pool – was particularly looking for work that challenged myths and stereotypes.
The blog has also won the Blog North Awards 2013 in the Best Writing category and was also shortlisted for an Amnesty International Media Award.