Immigration is a political issue
Immigration is one of the prime minister’s prime concerns. One of his key targets. Usually politicians talk about illegal immigration but when they saw the total immigration figures of over 600,000 for last year, a lot of them said this was too high as if they objected to all immigration.
Why is there so much legal immigration?
The biggest source of immigration was the war in the Ukraine. This was not a case of something going wrong, but a result of government policy as part of Britain’s support for that country. Why not be proud that we have been able to help so many victims of this war? The second largest group of immigrants came from Hong Kong. This too was a result of a government decision. Boris Johnson promised to help people fleeing persecution in Hong Kong as a result of the Chinese government’s policy of enforcing uniformity on all parts of that country and overriding the autonomy of that former British colony. Why is anyone unhappy that we have been able to help?
Are students immigrants?
The immigration figures include foreign students, but most will return to their home countries in due course and they pay higher tuition fees than British students. Our universities want them. Why does anyone object? Education and scientific research have always benefitted from international cooperation and the exchange of ideas. Why do we include students in the figures?
What is illegal immigration?
This constitutes a small fraction of the total. It’s cause is the illogicality of the system. There are specific arrangements for people from the Ukraine and Hong Kong to apply to come to the UK before they arrive. Britain does not permit other asylum-seekers to do that. They cannot apply until they reach our shores. Therefore, they are all ‘illegal’ until their applications have been processed. That government policy benefits only the people-traffickers.
How can we manage it better?
If we permitted people to apply from overseas, we could make decisions in advance. Then those approved would not need temporary accommodation in hostels, hotels or wherever, but could seek housing like anyone else. Those turned down would not come here, or they would be immediately deported. The ‘crime’ of illegal immigration exists, at least to the extent it does, only because of the government’s policy. People-trafficking is a real crime. Asylum-seekers are its victims.
Do I write about this kind of crime?
Organised crime, of any kind, tends to have links with other crimes. Let us do all we can to prevent it. I have not yet mentioned it in any of my novels, but the motive for murder is often connected with other crimes. In my series, Accounting for Murder, the motive usually turns out to be some kind of scam. I won’t say too much or I would give away the plot, but the series starts with Double Entry. Why not start there too? I might include people-trafficking in a future novel. However, I think the real crime is the incompetent, compassionless, unnecessary government policy.
Why is immigration a problem anyway?
- Some people just don’t like foreigners.
- Others say immigrants take ‘our’ jobs.
- On the other hand, they say immigrants use our benefits system without contributing.
- Still others say there’s not enough housing, schools. or NHS resources to go around as it is, and we should not add to the demand.
What can anyone say if you don’t like foreigners? Perhaps you should meet some? As for the other concerns, they are a distraction from the real problems.
What are the real problems?
- The benefits system does not favour immigrants. Asylum-seekers cannot claim benefits until the authorities have approved their applications. Until then they depend on charity or whatever resources they manage to bring with them.
- Unemployment depends on the growth or decline of the economy which should be managed by the government. People often wrongly blame immigration or new technology, which have little effect in the long run.
- Underfunding public services and the failure of the housing market go back a long time and need fixing regardless of anything else.
What is the real reason for all the fuss?
Governments often need scapegoats. It is convenient to blame people who are hardly able to fight back, such as people who don’t have votes. Alternatively they make scapegoats of people on benefits, just to be different. Blame the victims.