Tighter immigration controls will not deter BME voters

March 25, 2015

Tighter immigration controls do not deter voters from an ethnic minority background but the tone of the debate must be right, that is the conclusion of a Migration Watch UK report released today.

With the election just around the corner the immigration industry, including a new lobby group called ‘Bright Blue’, claim that the Conservatives must abandon their net migration target in order to attract more BME voters many of whom traditionally vote Labour. However, their claims are based on slanted and selective polling.

The Migration Watch UK analysis shows that, while BME voters are more likely to think that previous waves of immigration have made a positive contribution to the UK, they are clearly concerned about the current levels of immigration to the UK. For all minority groups a majority want immigration reduced while about 30% want it to stay the same; only about 10% want it increased. Policies to reduce immigration will therefore not deter most BME voters from considering voting Conservative.

This should come as no surprise since all voters experience the same problems and pressures exacerbated by immigration - including overcrowding especially in London and the South East. This leads to rising rents and house prices driven by a rapidly increasing population and by a failure to build enough homes. Mass immigration also leads to shortages of school places and overcrowded GPs’ surgeries and hospitals. BME voters are at least as much affected as anybody else. Indeed, they are almost twice as likely as the total population to say that they have lost their job or suffered a loss of income due to immigration or that they have lost out to migrants for housing or other public services.

The Conservatives have historically had a smaller share of the BME voter but abandoning immigration control is not the way to change this.

Commenting, Mr Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

“The report confirms that the concerns of ethnic minority voters are very similar to those of everyone else and why wouldn’t they be. The way to appeal to the ethnic minority communities is to propose reasonable policies and reducing net migration to the level last seen in the early 1990s is entirely reasonable. Bright Blue have shown their true colours. Rather than being blue they are a front for the immigration industry.“

Commenting, Kiran Bali MBE, Member of Migration Watch UK’s Advisory Council, said:

“My community cohesion efforts across the UK have shown me that the majority of people share similar concerns, they are worried about various dimensions of schools, hospitals, jobs and overcrowding. It is ludicrous for anyone to lump diverse communities together in suggesting that we all want mass immigration. Reasonable levels of migration are the only way to achieve strengthened community relations. This in turn will support immigrants and help their individual integration into life in Britain.”

Read the full briefing paper here

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