May 02, 2010
A new poll out today shows that the public are opposed to Nick Clegg’s policy of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Among those intending to vote for the Liberal Democrats, opponents outnumber supporters by more than two to one.
The poll by YouGov, commissioned by MigrationwatchUK, did not use the term “amnesty”. Instead, it described the proposal in the terms used by the Liberal Democrats themselves. It asked whether respondents would support a proposal that migrants who have been living illegally in the UK for 10 years with a ‘clean record’ since they’ve been here should be granted full citizenship, subject to civic and language tests. 54% of the sample were opposed (37% strongly), 30% supported (6 % strongly). 11% neither supported nor opposed and 4% did not know.
However, opposition among those intending to vote Lib Dem was even stronger with 57% opposed (36% strongly), 26% supported (4% strongly). 14% neither supported nor opposed while 3% did not know.
In the last leaders’ debate, David Cameron challenged Nick Clegg to say whether his amnesty would apply to 600,000 people who could later be able to bring over a similar number of relatives.
Recent research by Migrationwatch has suggested that the size of the illegal immigrant population could be as high 1.1 million. A further Migrationwatch paper calculated that the lifetime cost to the taxpayer of an illegal immigrant granted an amnesty would come to just over £ 1/2 million if he had a wife and two children and earned on average, the minimum wage plus 50 per cent.
Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationwatchUK, said:
“The penny has dropped with the public, and especially with Liberal Democrat supporters, that an amnesty would be hugely expensive to the taxpayer while being completely ineffective. The present crop of illegals would simply be replaced by visitors and students staying on illegally to take their places in the black economy. A severe crackdown on bent employers is the only answer.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The field work was conducted on 28 – 30 April 2010 and the sample size was 2,404 adults in Great Britain. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults aged 18.
2. The Migrationwatch paper on the size of the illegal population can be found at: http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefingPaper/document/188
3. The Migrationwatch paper on the cost of an amnesty can be found at: http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefingPaper/document/189
4. The full breakdown of the responses to this question are here.