Calling migrants a “burden” or a “drain on resources” reveals the complete disregard with which we view those who are in less fortunate situations. It really highlights how heartlessly we are willing to deny people their dignity.
The stereotype of migrants being a “burden” or a “drain” exists in order to justify oppression against them: to deny them entry or to deny them access to the welfare system that they may need. It is important to note that those who fall under the label of “burden” are not just migrants. Migrants bear the brunt of this label, but so do non-migrant homeless and low income people, and non-migrant people who rely on benefits of any kind. Migrants and non-migrant homeless people are often pitted against each other, to garner sympathy for one group at the expense of another.
Calling migrants or a low-income person a “burden” is a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality. It shows that you are happy for marginalised people to be neglected, because you think that people should be denied the support they may need during a difficult time.
People often say, “let’s take care of our own first”, as if migrants are the reason we have so many people in poverty or experiencing homelessness. The Government often uses the narrative of scarcity: that there is not enough money or resources to go around. But scarcity is a state-peddled myth: there is more than enough to go around. The reason migrants are poor is the same reason that non-migrants are poor: capitalism, and the Government austerity policies that come under it.