On National Poetry Day, 4th October, over 140 children from schools part of London Citizens came together outside the Home Office to perform poems about their experiences of struggling to become British citizens and hand an anthology of their work to Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP.
These young people were either born or raised in the UK and are directly affected by the £1012 Home Office child citizenship fee. Though they may feel as British as their peers, they are often blocked from becoming citizens due to the prohibitive costs involved. Even when their families can save enough to pay the fee, their parents are often forced into risky and expensive debt.
Daniel, a Year 5 student, began by reciting his poem entitled 'HOME':
Having a passport is important to people
Only if I had one to explore the world like other people
My mum has to go through a long process to get us one
Either way, my mum was not born here... so I am not a British citizen!
Nihmatalai, a Year 8 student, recited her 'Chances' poem:
Chances of university gone
Chances of voting gone
How can they fit in with their friends if they're gone?
Gone to university
Gone to vote
Leila, a Year 9 student, recited her 'That's all it is' poem:
A couple pieces of paper
So many of us
Adults, children, pensioners
Cannot afford our right
Cannot afford the price of belonging
After performing their poems, the children handed their anthology to Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP, along with a letter asking for a meeting to discuss a reduction in the fees. You can read their anthology, which contains other poems, here.
Read more about our organising work on migration and social inclusion here.