Fundamental change 'only answer' to asylum and immigration crisis…

November 17, 2003

Public confidence has been damaged by the Home Secretary's recent statement that he sees 'no obvious upper limit to the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter Britain'.   Until now it has been the consensus that a firm and fair immigration policy is a fundamental requirement of good community relations.  If we are ever to regain control of our borders and have an immigration policy that commands public support, radical and urgent reform is essential.

That is the view of MigrationwatchUK which, in a wide-ranging paper published today called 'Asylum and Immigration: A programme of action,' sets out detailed proposals that would, over time, restore control to the system, and with it, the confidence and support of the British people.

'When you have a system costing £5 million a day, which abjectly fails genuine refugees while riding roughshod over the clearly expressed wishes of the host population, something has gone terribly wrong,' said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationwatchUK in launching the paper.  'At present the main beneficiaries are those who exploit the system.  Meanwhile the whole nature of our cities is changing without the British people being consulted.'

He said the Government's response so far has been to come up with piecemeal measures aimed at achieving 'tough' headlines but which do not go to the root of the problem.

'That is why we are calling for Britain to pull out of the outdated international conventions and for the Government to state how many people they want in this country,' said Sir Andrew.

'The Prime Minister said at his last monthly press conference that asylum and immigration issues today are radically different from 20 or 30 years ago and that politics simply hasn't caught up with it.  He specifically mentioned the 1951 Convention as being 'completely out of date'.

'We entirely agree but why is he not doing something about it?' said Sir Andrew. 'Only when the fundamental issues are tackled will real progress be made.'

Sir Andrew said that: 'Policy has been allowed to drift with the result that the Government have effectively lost control of our borders.  The government are now trying to make the case for "managed migration" but this is simply a slogan until control over our borders has been restored.  A whole range of measures, implemented over a period of years, will be necessary to restore it - including withdrawal from the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees and amending Human Rights Legislation so that national laws which are right for Britain can be introduced.'

'Our paper is designed to take forward the policy debate.  With the number of non British immigrants entering Britain having more than doubled since 1997 to a rate of nearly 250,000 a year, real debate and effective action are now urgent.'

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