It has been at least three months since illegal immigrants began to cross the English Channel in large numbers. The response to this from the political powers that be has been typical and predictable.
Liberal leftists and socialists speak of compassion, but are not willing to lift a finger to help them personally. Margaret Thatcher poignantly made the observation that socialists never tire of being willing to spend other people’s money. Despite their virtue signalling, there is little evidence that socialists like Jeremy Corbyn or liberal luvvies like Benedict Cumberbatch and Lily Allen have taken any immigrants into their own homes. Such people do not have to share their own resources, space, facilities or communities with large numbers of immigrants themselves. The people that do are working-class communities predominantly in post-industrial towns in the north of England, who have seen their communities changed beyond all recognition. It is not unfair to say that some enclaves like Saville Town in Dewsbury or Sparkbrook in Birmingham are now unrecognisable as England. Yet the very same liberals and socialists who deride and disdain these working-class communities happily avoid illegal immigrants when they are not virtue signalling in front of a camera.
On the other hand, Home Secretary Sajid Javid of the Conservative-In-Name-Only party, has rushed back from his Christmas holiday in South Africa to declare an emergency. Why he didn’t declare an emergency in October at the start of the problem is another matter, but he is now making a big song and dance about taking action. The action he took was decisively useless: after a week of faffing about he decided to deploy two border force cutters from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel. It comes as news to most people who were surprise to hear that any UK Border Force vessels were in the Med in the first place rather than patrolling the UK border. Surely, one would think, unless there was an extreme weather event combined with a loss of satellite tracking which caused our boats to get lost, the UK Border Force should not be far from our own shores.
Nevertheless, they are on their way back and thanks to Sajid Javid thee number of vessels protecting our 7,728 miles of porous coastline has trebled from one to three. This is arguably the best protection we have had since King Cnut tried to stop the waves from coming in by speaking to them.
Javid also stated: ‘the problems are complex and there are no easy solutions.’ This is half true and half false.
There are certainly both push and pull factors to irregular immigration. A number of Middle Eastern countries are war-ravaged and millions of people have been displaced. The 1951 UN Treaty on Refugees allows genuine refugees to claim asylum in the first safe country they come to. The UK rightly sends help to genuine asylum seekers who have fled war in Syria and are stuck in refugee camps in neighbouring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. We can support at least a dozen refugees there for the price of housing an asylum seeker in the UK.
It is important to make the distinction between genuine refugees who seek asylum in the first safe country they come to and opportunists who have passed through a number of safe countries to reach the UK. France and Belgium are safe countries, and none of the illegal immigrants landing from there are genuine asylum seekers.
The major pull factor for why the UK is an attractive destination is obvious. They continue to come because they are rewarded.
Under the governments of Blair, Brown, Cameron and May, illegal immigrants who make it to the UK are rewarded, and rewarded handsomely. The incentive to make the journey is so big, that thousands of people are willing to pay £10,000 or more to people smuggling gangs to get them across borders, and to risk their lives to make it to the UK. If their journey is successful, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
After a few days in a processing centre, they will be given social housing. They will have free healthcare on the NHS paid for by the British taxpayer, and they will be allowed to work in the UK. After five years of living in the UK they will be eligible to apply for citizenship. You must speak an intermediate level of English to pass the Citizenship test, but free help is available to study for an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualification. When an illegal immigrant has gained citizenship, they have the right to bring up to five generations of their family to join them here – spouse, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, who will also be allowed to work, study, claim benefits and receive free healthcare here. This is what President Trump in the USA calls chain migration. It has happened in the UK for the last 20 years and has been unquestioned.
The virtue signalling champagne socialists and liberal luvvies in the London media bubble think this is all wonderful, but it is here that they are shielded from the consequences.
In most local authority areas there are waiting lists of years or even decades for local people to get social housing. There is so little available that most British people simply cannot access social housing, so there is understandably great consternation when a British person who has been on the housing waiting list for many years sees new arrivals being given a home immediately at great cost to the state.
It is also a well-established fact that competition for unskilled labour pushes down wages for the poorest people in society who work in unskilled and entry-level jobs. The arrival of millions of unskilled migrants over the last 20 years has pushed down wages for ordinary working people.
Waiting times to see a GP have increased immensely and queues at Accident and Emergency units are well over 4 hours in many places. Much of the rise in waiting times in due to demand from immigrants using the NHS as they are allowed to do under current rules.
If one person arrives illegally, the country can absorb it, but if a million people arrive illegally it has a marked effect on everybody in terms of the availability and cost of housing, accessibility of public services and wages for entry-level jobs. This is before you even start to consider that some people entering the country illegally may have criminal intent, or may be jihadis who are planning terrorist atrocities.
There is a solution, however, and it has been implemented effectively in Australia by the former Prime Minister Tony Abbot. They too were overwhelmed by illegal immigrants coming on boats coming from Indonesia to Australia. Indonesia is a safe country which is not at war. They journey across the English Channel in a small dinghy in the middle of the night provided by people smuggling gangs is extremely hazardous, but the journey across the straits to Darwin is even longer and more dangerous still. Many people died in the attempt to cross, and it will only be a matter of time before the same thing happens in the English Channel.
Australia has made it clear that any immigrants arriving illegally in boats from Indonesia will never be allowed to stay, with no exceptions whatsoever. This is true whether they are travelling alone or if have dependents and children, whether they are unskilled labourers or skilled professionals. People with skills must arrive legally and there are plenty of routes and methods for citizens of countries all around the world to migrate legally if they want to. After implementing this system illegal boat crossings from Indonesia fell very quickly to nearly zero.
Sajid Javid has questioned whether migrants paying to cross the channel illegally are genuine asylum seekers but has stopped short of acknowledging the solution which will work: the UK must adopt the Australian system.
Positive, purposeful and sustainable legal immigration where small numbers of foreign students come to study STEM subjects at University, skilled professionals can work as doctors or engineers, and entrepreneurs can start businesses, has given way to an unsustainable free-for-all for everybody, and the people in government who have enabled it do not suffer the consequences of their virtue signalling.
The government must stop rewarding illegal immigrants, particularly those who are willing to lie about being refugees while paying people smugglers to bring them illegally to the UK. As long as the UK Government continues to reward illegal immigrants who break the law, the boats will keep coming across the Channel.
UKIP London Assembly Member
to The Salisbury Review