Numbers are at heart of immigration debate

September 21, 2005

The assumption that immigration at its current unprecedented level is somehow ‘inevitable’ has been challenged by think tank Migrationwatch in a response to the recent report from the IPPR , ‘Beyond Black and White.’

In part the IPPR report said that “… there is the growing realisation that immigration is set to continue, as the UK continues to require the skills that immigrants bring, in order to remain competitive in a global economy. This realisation underpins the move to a managed migration policy.”

‘The IPPR report contained very useful data which allowed us to see in detail the enormous changes taking place in our towns and cities as well as to compare the economic contribution of various groups,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch.

‘But the clear assumption was that immigration will continue at present levels – the highest in our history - and that we are somehow powerless to stop it. This is clearly nonsense and is certainly not what the vast majority of the British people believe or want.

‘We have, in theory, “managed migration” now, but as everyone knows, the present system leaks like a sieve.’

Sir Andrew said that foreign immigration had quadrupled since 1990. Deliberate government policy (for example over work permits and family formation) had allowed immigration to increase dramatically. Immigration now accounted for 84% of future population growth and the outflow of Londoners had doubled in the past five years to over 100,000 a year.

‘The Minister of Immigration referred recently to “ the same tired old nonsense about numbers” when anyone can see that numbers are at the heart of the debate. That is why 80% of the public believe that laws on immigration should be much tougher.

‘It is high time that the government dropped their spin and dealt with the legitimate concerns of the vast majority of the public regarding the present scale of immigration,' he said.

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