Jean Calder's article (The Argus, April 3) on the reality of life as an asylum seeker is a breath of fresh air.

It puts the wall-to-wall tabloid horror stories about refugees into their proper context.

Britain as a country has grown stronger and richer as a result of successive waves of immigration, from Dutch Huguenots to the Irish, Jews and Ugandan Asians.

Those who proclaim that, of course genuine refugees were welcomed in the past but things are different now, are either ignorant or dishonest.

Opportunist politicians and newspapers seeking to sell papers have always opposed refugees, however genuine they might be.

My grandparents were among the thousands of Jews who fled the pogroms in Russia at the beginning of this century.

The Daily Mail and the British Brothers League opposed them as strongly then as the Mail and BNP do now.

Who would now say that Britain is weaker and poorer as a result of Jewish immigration?

Immigration from the ex-colonies was essential to staff the NHS and today, with an ageing population, there is an equal need for migrant labour.

It is a pity that we are detaining asylum seekers without trial and forcing them to live off reduced benefits (at best) when we ought to be allowing them to work for their keep.

It is unfortunate New Labour chooses to run with the tabloids rather than confront its prejudices.

-Tony Greenstein, secretary - Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre, The Crestway, Brighton