So holiday season is here and as much as I want to travel the world and visit plenty exotic destinations, nothing pains me more than the fact that I am not able to join the dozens of people my age that will be in Ghana enjoying themselves this summer. I have always loved Ghana and always will love Ghana; it’s my home. I dreamed of being able to go to Ghana every year at least once since I was a little girl and this yearning has only become worse now that other African folk seem to have started loving their motherlands, too.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of ‘going home’ the way many others my age do for the simple reason of immigration issues. Although (as a Ghanaian citizen with a UK resident status) I am able of travelling to Ghana and back, I am currently in a battle with the British Home Office about applying for citizenship. Believe me when I tell you this struggle is tedious.
Now most people that were born in Europe or moved here when they were very young don’t have to deal with things but immigration issues can be one of the most frustrating and degrading things minorities have to deal with. Especially due to the stigma of ‘illegal immigrant’ that comes with explaining to a white person that you can’t go on a cheeky holiday to Ibiza with them because you haven’t got the right visa to.
I don’t have a European citizenship for the main reason that second generation immigrants very often suffer the repercussions of the actions of their first gen immigrant parents altough for most of them, the only crime they committed is to try and make a better living. My mother moved to Germany when she was young, overstayed, seeked asylum and had me while undocumented. Due to this, I was classed as an ‘Alien child’. It sounds much more exciting than it is. All it basically means is that, although culturally most people believe one is from the place they were born, legally, Germans shunned me as one of them and denied me citizenship. Besides the restrictions this put on my travels ( I have never been to America for instance) it also means that as an adult I don’t have the same rights as other German children. I know of many German teens that moved to the UK to study and have/will return home to Germany to start their careers. I do not have that opportunity because, due to not being a citizen, I lost my right of residency when I moved to the UK (which by the way was mainly to secure my safety as well as my future but that’s another post).
Immigration among young black people is not something we often talk about because it is seemingly a taboo topic but we must address the unfairness therein. I have recently been refused UK naturalization on the basis that I could not prove my English language knowledge to the satisfaction of the new Tory government. So living here for 10 years, gaining 12 A*-C GCSEs, 5 A-levels and a pending university degree isn’t enough to make me deserving of a red booklet? Many of us take for granted how much control the west has over immigrants due to immigration laws. Our parents work ridiculous hours to put food on the table and find any way possible to gain the rights to live in a country they will eventually leave anyway. Once they get their papers they toil and pay taxes only for their children to still be treated as second class citizens in the countries they now know as home.
Let’s find ways to support each in raising awareness on these issues and fighting the inequality.
Stay Ruthful x