Saturday, 17 April 2010

Immigration - What to say on the doorstep

There is no doubt the the Liberal Democrats are about to have a whole world of hurt directed at them. I'm sure it's about to get really nasty for the Liberal Democrats.

One issue that the parties will attack the Lib Dems over is that hot potato Immigration. What the papers are calling an amnesty for illegal migrants.

However Lib Dem policy on immigration is not an amnesty or all illegal immigrants as is being quoted in the news today. It's is not relax as it says in the Daily Mail today but it is sensible and brave.

The policy is;

1.reintroduce exit checks immediately. National Border Force with police powers

3.A regional points-based system to ensure migrants go where they are needed.

4.Allow asylum seekers to work.

5.Give responsibility to an independent agency.

6.burden proportionally between EU member states.

7.Focus deportation efforts on criminals – letting law-abiding families earn citizenship.

The 7th one is the most controversial point. the full policy explaination is;

'It would take years and cost us £8bn to deport all those who are living in Britain illegally. Some of them are criminals and people-traffickers. Others are families who have been here for years, and just want to work and pay their taxes. Immigration officers are focusing on families because they’re easy targets, letting criminals off the hook. We would allow people who have been in Britain for 10 years, speak English, have a clean record and want to live here long-term to earn citizenship. That way, immigration officers can spend all their time deporting dangerous people and checking up on employers to stop illegal working.'

The fact is that these people have already put down roots and will be here for 10 years more. We can't find illegal immigrants because they are hiding or are being forced to work for criminals. So in the mean time they are not paying taxes and are hiding away from society. It cost £11,000 to deport one person on average and that person may come back. We can't afford it even if we did find them. They are not being given a amnesty but a chance to earn citizenship. This is not offered to everyone but only to families because of issues like child slave labour.

No government will beable to find all the illegal immigrants or indeed stop illegal immigrants from coming as long as our borders are not tight enough. He have to start with a clean slate. If say UKIP froze migration they would find a massive increase in illegal migration as demand for cheap labour escalated. There would also be a hugh increase in false asylum claims that a UKIP government would still have deal with.

Migration is not that easy to fix or reduce so seting out markers and geting some long term illegal immigrants to pay tax makes sence.

I mention UKIP because a guy came up to me in Bracknell town while campaigning last saturday.

He said "let me tell you the problem with this country"

I said "Immigration".

He said "Yeah yeah immigration" He pulled out his Daily Mail and showed my an article in it.

I said "look we have policies on immigration"

He said "I don't care your all the same"

I said well "If you don't look you wont know"

He said "I'm voting UKIP so you can just F'off! He walked away at this point.

I said "your a good advert for UKIP!"

Anyway I do understand how angry people get on this subject people tell me all the time and my girl friend works for immigration in the Home Office so I know a fair amount about the issues of trying to send people back (this can't be done to some countries as they will not accept them and not allow your plane to land).

On the Doorstep I would say 'We are not asking for everyone to be part of an amnesty just those that have been year for 10 years and are unlikely to leave. We won't know who these people are unless we offer them the right to gain citizenship otherwise they will continue to work for criminal gangs and we will continue to have this hidden underclass in our society. Is it not a good idea to cut the slave labour offered to the criminal gangs but cutting of their supply of labour? To solve the problems of immigration we have to be radical and brave and should not hide away from it because of popularist politics that won't solve our problems.

Liberal Democrats full policy on immigration can be found here


  1. As you say, immigration appears to be a big issue when you speak to people on the street. I must admit, it's not something I think about too much at all. However, you can't just ignore the people.

    It appears that Philip Lee (Tory) in Bracknell is pushing immigration as an issue at every opportunity in his campaign in Bracknell. It's surprising considering the relatively high employment and "very white" nature of the town.

    But it's obviously still an issue for people. It's also something very hard to sort out, as you point out with the costing figures to deport all "illegal immigrants" - something I'd find pretty abhorrent, and something that I feel would be a mistake for the country to make.

  2. Yes it is amazing how worked up people get. I guess they think all their money is being spend on them. Fact is there are loads of people in slave labour in this country providing us services.