Refugees and borders

Nearly three million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian tanks crossed the border at the end of February. Some say the UK was slow to respond but many thousands of people are now signed up to a government scheme to turn their houses into homes for Ukrainian refugees - the first should arrive soon. There has been an outpouring of generosity and goodwill toward those suffering in this conflict, but uncomfortable questions remain. Are we really doing enough? Why such generosity now, when we have spent years discussing how to keep migrants out? Is it morally acceptable to feel more comfortable welcoming large numbers of Ukrainian - rather than Syrian or Afghan - refugees? Is racism a factor, or is it simply that these people are fleeing an enemy who threatens us too?

Shortly the Nationality and Borders Bill will return to be voted on in Parliament. Campaigners say the bill is at odds with rhetoric about welcoming refugees as it could criminalise those who arrive to seek asylum in the UK without first filling in the correct forms. Is it right to put up yet more barriers? Perhaps it is a failure of moral imagination to turn away any individual who wants to make a better life? Some economists argue that the free movement of workers makes nations prosperous, but there’s more to Britain than its economy, and not everyone wants to do away with borders. How, without fierce gate-keepers, can we protect the places where we feel at home? With the human rights campaigner Bella Sankey; David Goodhart, who researches integration at the centre right think-tank Policy Exchange; the Chair of Britain’s oldest Immigration Museum, Susie Symes; and the former MEP and journalist Patrick O'Flynn.

Produced by Olive Clancy