This week we issued a paper detailing how, even as the number of illegal entries has shot up, the funding devoted to immigration enforcement has been slashed by tens of millions of pounds. This comes to light as the government tries to pass legislation it claims will deter criminality, tackle absconding and increase the number of removals of people with no right to be here, including those who may be a threat to security. Meanwhile, illegal immigration (see our Channel tracker), which is lining the pockets of people smugglers and which has seen at least 63,000 unauthorised entries since 2018, is rampant, and not just by boat and lorry, while resources for enforcement of immigration law have been slashed.
In other news, the costs of our new Afghan resettlement plans are reportedly projected to amount to £2.5 billion over the coming decade. Current numbers suggest at least 27,000 people are to be resettled by the mid-2020s (including 7,000 this year) even as the UK faces an acute housing crisis. Let us, by all means, help Afghans in whatever way we can but offering an open door to all Afghans, as some people seem to be pushing for, is neither sensible nor practicable. Nor is it what the majority of the public want. Concern about immigration has risen after a period when the people took the government at its word that immigration would be controlled and reduced. It is because that is clearly not happening that we are seeing again why 30 million people say immigration has been too high (300,000 net non-UK arrivals per year since 2001). Only a minority want higher numbers. If ministers think that the public’s feelings have changed, then ministers really are living in cloud cuckoo land.
Blog of the week
Few people need to be reminded of how vital it is to have sensible border control. Here is a blog we wrote recently about the dangerous consequences of lax enforcement. Too often in recent years, those who have committed acts of terror or life-threatening crimes in the UK, have been able to stay here by exploiting weaknesses in human rights laws, other gaps in our laws and a serious decline in enforcement. Read our full blog here.
Migration Watch in the news
Our Chairman Alp Mehmet has been quoted once again in the media this week. See below:
Alp said the figures showed the Government’s priorities had become ‘skewed’ and sparked concerns ‘that the Channel crisis has led to direction of resources away from other vital enforcement tasks’.
‘I think that it’s really a nonsense, personally, it’s a nonsense to be paying France to do things that they should be doing anyway.’
Another reaction to a major story this week, from Alp:
‘This is a very welcome sentiment from the minister, however, I will believe it when I see it.’
Our executive director also spoke to the press this week:
‘Swift and effective enforcement action to deal with this problem is crucial for securing the border and tackling the abuse of our overwhelmed asylum system.’
See here for Migration Watch’s statement on the lorry driver fiasco, issued in a press release:
‘This problem has been years in the making. Neither party has seen the benefit of training and retaining UK workers rather than taking the cheaper option of foreign drivers. Now we are beginning to see the folly, but their response is just more of the same.’
Make your voice heard
Immigration is a key issue in the French presidential election (coming up next Spring). Candidate Michel Barnier (remember him?) has promised tough controls while Marine Le Pen promised to introduce a referendum on immigration if she is elected, noting: ‘I defend the nation, which remains the best structure to defend our identity, security, freedom and prosperity.’ Voters in the UK were given a referendum in 2016 and immigration was the top voter concern that helped decide the result. However, since then the government that promised to ‘take back control’ has proceeded to use that new-found sovereignty not to reduce immigration but to increase it – opening several new uncapped routes (e.g. for foreign students into low-paid work), removing a key cap on work permits and weakening skills and salary thresholds. This is not democracy as we understand it. A key way to challenge it is to contact your local MP. Please consider doing so by clicking here.