Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Register that Alien!

I'm still working through several old boxes of family photographs and came across a provocative little something the other day that gave me cause for thought - my grandfather's old Alien Registration permit from the 1920s...




Alien or not, and even though he held an Italian passport, my grandfather was still called-up into the British Army when the War came around which I suppose, technically, made him a traitor.

It's quite amusing to read through all the reporting requirements and penalties for non compliance detailed in the permit...




Given the way migration is managed today, it has certainly got me thinking.

One thing I do know for sure is that migrants of my grandparents' generation didn't have it easy. And, rightly or wrongly, many were bemused and eventually became quite resentful of later migrants who didn't have to routinely report to the police and were given access to free healthcare, unemployment and housing benefit, language support and all that other good stuff that wasn't on offer when they came over.

.

4 comments:

Ian said...

regarding old documentation, the other day I came across my Grandfathers 1912 'Licence to Drive a Mechanically Propelled Carriage'(ie a bus)'around the streets of Willesden.

Stef said...

People had more time to fully describe things back then. Happy days

t-mix said...

I'm currently reading "Made in America" by Bill Bryson and had to think of the following quote while reading this post:

"If one attitude can be said to characterize America's regard for immigration over the past two hundred years it is the belief that while immigration was unquestionably a wise and prescient thing in the case of one's parents or grandparents, it really ought to stop now."

I like the way Bryson writes, I am almost inclined to recommend it, if I would understand more about literature :-)

Stef said...

nicely put...