It's now more than two months since the election. For those of us working with refugees, it's been a worrying time. Some of the initial policy decisions made by new Ministers will lead to considerable hardship amongst both newly arrived asylum seekers as well as those that have been in the UK longer. Our task is not made any easier by some of our newspapers. We've already read enough tabloid myths about asylum seekers to last into the next Parliament. Nonetheless, five years is a long time - in politics and, as many refugees will tell you, in life.
David Cameron will join the leaders of other EU countries on Thursday and Friday for a special summit to discuss the EU's migration policy, following a dramatic increase in the number of irregular migrants trying to enter the EU this year. In recent months there have also been more cases of migrants drowning while trying to cross the Mediterranean.
This week, the United Kingdom was declared the most LGBT-friendly place in Europe and yet there is one group of people in this country who have little to celebrate: LGBT asylum seekers. Five years ago, the Conservative Party promised that it would protect LGBT asylum seekers fleeing persecution. So far they have failed.
We should bear that fact in mind before denying our responsibilities in this crisis. Migration and asylum claims are part of our modern world and we need to be pro-active in international collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to preserve the right to seek international protection.
Khaled sits down in what appears to be an awkward position, his back against the wall. Half sitting, half lying. It is how he sat in his cell in Damaskus. During a total of 12 months, locked up in a cell too small to lie down in, and not high enough to stand up, Khaled was tortured by the Syrian Security forces...
The UK has a problem with immigration. Even those who support migration have to concede that there are practical difficulties, such as a squeeze on school class sizes and GP waiting lists in areas where many new people have settled. This has boosted parties such as UKIP where a withdrawal from the EU - and therefore an end to free migration throughout Europe - is one of their major policies.
In just over six weeks, we'll wake up to a new Parliament. Immigration will doubtless be a prominent and divisive issue in the run-up to the election. What does this mean for the refugees that will come to Britain fleeing war and persecution over the next five years? The welcome we give to refugees to Britain during the next Parliament depends not on the outcome of the election, but on what happens once it is over. Whoever wins we need to impress on them, and on the public, that a fair and just asylum system is the right thing for Britain and the right thing for the asylum seekers that need our support and protection.
If the government wants to prove it's serious about justice and protecting vulnerable people, then it will recognise that the detention estate is a product of the dark ages. Instead of tinkering with processes, Ministers should focus their efforts on consigning the whole system to the history books where it belongs.
Britain can and must provide asylum seekers and refugees with the protection and support they deserve. Its political parties must outline their proposals for an efficient and fair immigration and asylum policy, which reflects our national self-interest and the rights of those feeling war and persecution.
These bones from arid countries that have walked, run, climbed, crawled, sailed, clung on and hidden for two years on the journey from Africa and the Middle East to reach their promised land, the United Kingdom... when winter comes, having made it this far, if it is an unkind one, some will almost certainly die.
I have seen how detention is bad for the physical and emotional wellbeing of those detained, especially those who are kept there for months, not knowing when it will end. It is important to remember that these are not criminals but people who have been refused asylum or broken immigration rules - complex systems which few people understand. I believe that if an asylum seeker has the reasonable reason to stay within the government rules they should grant them asylum or send them home with dignity -not keep them in detention for a long period. Detention breaks the soul.
In truth I was grateful for all the things that eventually made Britain my home. But I was also angry. Angry for all the hoops I had to jump through to get the same rights as others who were born here, as if begging entry to some exclusive club I wasn't allowed to join even though it was located at my house.
My thoughts on this have been very mixed. I too have very strong views on Israel's aggression towards Palestine. But I find myself questioning whether picketing a small hip hop show at an arts festival is the best way to make a demonstration. Does the theatre company's receipt of a government grant really make them complicit in the assault on Gaza?