The Home Secretary has shown courage with the proposals in the Nationality and Borders Bill presented in Parliament this week. The Opposition, NGOs and open borders commentariat lost no time in denouncing the Bill. There is of course no question of our going to the aid of genuine refugees fleeing persecution, as we always have. However, the prime purpose of this Bill is to deal with those who abuse our asylum system – many of them having made their way illegally to our shores – and the ruthless traffickers who get rich by exploiting asylum shoppers and economic migrants trying to game the system. The public recognises the difference (see our recent polling) even if the aforementioned opponents of the Bill do not. The new bill promises to introduce tougher sentences for people-smuggling and illegal entry, as well as powers for border officials to intercept and return boats. For our take on the Bill, read our chairman’s article in the Daily Mail of 8 July, here.
Blog of the week
To illustrate the difference between words and action on immigration, we published a blog at the end of last year describing the way immigration enforcement has crumbled in recent years. It outlines the government’s lamentable performance over the past decade and how this compares unfavorably with even that of the Labour governments that preceded it. Overall, the number of removals has declined, with significantly fewer removals of failed asylum seekers. This woeful record can be partly explained by cuts in resources and training, as well as the steady erosion of political will. Read the blog here.
Migration Watch in the media
With all the extensive coverage of the Nationality and Borders Bill, this week, our Chairman Alp Mehmet has been in demand for comment. See below:
‘If the government really mean it, and they want to stop the boats, this is not the way to do it.’
‘I have no doubt the Home Secretary wants to deal with illegal immigration and has shown her usual courage in introducing the new Nationality and Borders Bill. If the measures she has proposed make it into law, they will be a step in the right direction. But without French co-operation, the boats will keep coming and numbers will go on increasing.’
‘These large boats are the smugglers’ way of telling the Government that they can do what they like. Until we quickly return all those who arrive illegally, the boats will keep coming and possibly get bigger.’
‘The CPS’s take on this part of the Bill confirms the difficulty there has always been of securing convictions of illegal entrants. The CPS view that migrants have no choice is telling and suggests another stumbling block for the Home Office, before any case even gets to court. It seems the Home Secretary and Director of Public Prosecutions are at loggerheads already. This will not end well.’
Make your voice heard
This government was elected on the promise of taking back control, but it is clear from both the asylum crisis and the weakening of our border regulations that control remains elusive. As well as a culture of decreasing enforcement the government has actively lowered qualification and earnings thresholds for skilled workers coming from abroad, removed the cap on work permits and taken away any need for companies to prioritise UK jobseekers. Covid, little international travel, absence of reliable statistics and specious government claims for the new immigration system have all helped divert attention away from the concerns people have for high immigration levels. However, as normality returns, travel resumes and the economic damage inflicted on the economy by the pandemic becomes ever more apparent, as immigration reverts to its pre-pandemic trajectory, public disappointment could turn to anger. If the government’s abject failure to deal with immigration sticks as much in your craw as it does in ours, please do consider writing to your MP to voice your concern.