Amnesty for illegals not a 'benefit' but a major liability

September 03, 2007

Instead of “netting” £1 billion pounds annually for the Treasury an amnesty for illegal immigrants would in fact cost the taxpayer between £0.8 billion and £1.8 billion a year, says a new report out today.

A recent paper from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claimed that an amnesty for illegal immigrants could provide extra revenue of around £1billion a year but, when their figures were examined in detail by think-tank Migrationwatch, the very opposite of this turns out to be the case.

‘Our analysis, based on their own figures, blows their claims out of the water,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman. ‘They have presented a thoroughly biased and misleading case. They have very conveniently taken absolutely no account of the additional expenditure involved in, for example, Tax Credits, Unemployment Benefits, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Education and Health which turns this ‘benefit’ into a major liability, all of course footed by the UK taxpayer.’

In the longer term, as families are formed and become entitled to a higher level of benefits, the cost to the tax payer could be more than £5 billion a year, or £15 million every day.

Sir Andrew said it was clear that the IPPR paper had been taken up by supporters of liberal immigration policies to persuade the public that an amnesty would be a ‘good’ thing but it was high time that the claim that it would benefit the tax payer was exposed as utterly bogus.

‘The more recent claim by the Liberal Democrat's spokesman that the Treasury is "losing out” on £3.3 billion of unpaid tax each year is even more ridiculous while the so called "earned legalisation" they are touting makes no difference to these costs,’ he said.

‘The true effects of an amnesty would eventually be to cost the tax payer £15 million a day, add hundreds of thousands to the waiting lists for council housing, and encourage still more illegal immigration. The public are right to dismiss this absurd proposal as they have done so decisively and repeatedly,’ he said.

‘Let us have a debate about whether or not we should have an amnesty for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants now in this country, but let us do so on the basis of accurate facts,’ he said.

‘It is very clear from previous amnesties across Europe that their effect is to encourage yet more illegal immigration leading inevitably to calls for yet more amnesties, with yet more asked of the taxpayer. The public are getting very tired of hearing that those who have broken our laws for long enough should receive benefits, leading even to citizenship, rather than face penalties,’ he said.

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