Anti-immigrant tide slowed


by Rumbold
25th November, 2008 at 11:04 am    

In 2005, one of the Conservatives’ election slogans, ‘it’s not racist to talk about immigration’, was widely condemned as, er, racist. While the slogan itself wasn’t racist, the implication was that it was an attempt to lure more anti-immigration voters back to the Conservatives by suggesting that the time had come to crack down.

Yet three years on, that slogan looks positively tame by comparison with the tabloid-pleasing anti-immigrant stances taken by the Conservative and Labour parties these days. Immigrants now vie with Muslims and youths for the title of most vilified group of the day. So it was refreshing to see that Boris Johnson has called for a nationwide amnesty for illegal immigrants, subject to conditions. Yes, there are issues with an amnesty, and the Tory front bench have condemned these proposals, but isn’t it nice to hear a high profile politician standing up for immigrants, rather than attacking them in order to get his or her name in the Sun?


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16 Comments below   |  

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  1. billy — on 25th November, 2008 at 11:22 am  

    It won’t last, and it won’t catch on. The mood in the air wants immigrant demonisation.

    And Boris Johnson continues to impress me.

  2. Ashik — on 25th November, 2008 at 11:33 am  

    Amnesty is never gonna happen.
    UK needs to get to grips with illegal’s and secure it’s borders as apriority.
    Re-implementing disembarkation records and checks is a start.

    Immigrants are going to be everyones issue in a recession.

  3. Bert Rustle — on 25th November, 2008 at 11:35 am  

    The topic of BBC Radio London’s Vanessa Feltz program this morning.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/09/14/vanessa_podcast_feature.shtml

    Top right-hand corner to listen again.

  4. nedu — on 25th November, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    Which way is the best, spend wopping £11000 per head to deport 700000 undocumented army of workers or grant them an amnesty and used this money to recruit more board security to secure our board,

  5. AdamB — on 25th November, 2008 at 11:44 am  

    Yes, overall I prefer a politician to make the empty gesture of sticking up for immigrants in order to get a headline in the Guardian, rather than them making the empty gesture to stick it to immigrants in order to get a headline in the Daily Mail. Unfortunately the end result is likely to be the same.

  6. MaidMarian — on 25th November, 2008 at 2:04 pm  

    nedu (4) – You appear to overlook the slight problem that an amnesty amounts to a reward for breaking the law.

    Are there any other crimes you feel should be prosecuted on an amnesty basis out of interest?

    As to Johnson, well he knows he can talk about this all he likes without ever actually being responsible. It’s a big inverted pyramid of piffle.

    ashik (2) – Not sure exactly what it was, but my wife’s friend was given an exit stamp in her passport last weekend?

  7. Sunny — on 25th November, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    What Adam said, basically. Boris only said it because it was a pledge, not because there was any chance of him pushing that agenda. Has he said anything in response to the stupid response by Phil Woolas or the Tories?

  8. Rumbold — on 25th November, 2008 at 6:26 pm  

    Adam, MaidMarian and Sunny:

    I don’t think that Boris believes he is in charge of immigration policy. But it is nice to see a poltician actually standing up for immigrants for once. The importance is not so much in what might happen as what the words represent.

  9. Don — on 25th November, 2008 at 6:33 pm  

    Good point, Adam. Boris can’t effect policy, but it’s good to hear someone from that corner making sense.

    Getting into a country by the back door has always struck me as a pretty minor offense. If the circumstances were such, I’d do it without a qualm. What counts is your intent once you are there. If your intent is to work, support a family and generally get on with your neighbours then you should be given a chance to show it. An amnesty is more or less an admission that the entry rules need changing to allow in people who are willing and able to contribute.

    If the recession leads to talk of a ‘crackdown’ I shall be dismayed. And I don’t care what the dictionary says, anybody using ‘illegal’ as a noun is beyond the pale.

    So yes, an amnesty is a good idea, but only because the current rules don’t work. But I doubt we’ll get one.

  10. Andrew Adams — on 25th November, 2008 at 7:07 pm  

    Are there any other crimes you feel should be prosecuted on an amnesty basis out of interest?

    There have been amnesties for people in posession of illegal weapons, which I would say is rather more serious than being an illegal immigrant.

  11. Imran Khan — on 25th November, 2008 at 7:46 pm  

    If they haven’t got illegal immigrants out after so many years then they won’t. So let them settle and contribute towards the economy.

    Boris is right – most people who are illegal immigrants live in London and it is better they contribute towards London than are kept from contributing.

  12. MaidMarian — on 25th November, 2008 at 8:22 pm  

    Don (9) – ‘Getting into a country by the back door has always struck me as a pretty minor offense. If the circumstances were such, I’d do it without a qualm. What counts is your intent once you are there. If your intent is to work, support a family and generally get on with your neighbours then you should be given a chance to show it. An amnesty is more or less an admission that the entry rules need changing to allow in people who are willing and able to contribute. ‘

    Governments can not and should not legislate for intent. What would you think about, say, carrying a concealed gun? Should intent be a factor there? People are either eligible to be in Britain or they are not. What is in their head at the time is rather beside the point to my mind. Further, motives and intent can change.

    Amnesties are not an admission that entry rules need tightening, they are an admission that some have avoided enforcement. They are nothing less than a reward for breaking the law. In many cases this would be a reward for taking the piss.

    Don, one reason my wife’s parents have to go through the la-la land that is the visa system is because of people who have overstayed/abused the system. If people did not abuse the system, it would not need to be so tight.

    I can only agree with others that it is nice to hear something not giving immigrants grief – but arrant nonsense is arrant nonsense, refreshing or not.

  13. Ashik — on 25th November, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

    Maid Marion:

    ‘ashik (2) – Not sure exactly what it was, but my wife’s friend was given an exit stamp in her passport last weekend?’

    It has only recently been reintroduced by NuLabour to again count ppl out of Britain. They got rid of it in 1998.

    In a way it’s fair to both the state and applicants. Allows clients to show a good immigration history in favour of a refused appeal if other family members have returned to Bangladesh, India and Pak and equally lack of such evidence as a photocopy of exit stamps can also be followed up by the Home Office in subsequent appeals.

  14. billericaydicky — on 26th November, 2008 at 8:33 am  

    I agree that Boris is only making political capital and knows that he is not going to influence policy on this one just as the No Borders campaigners are only going through the motions when they demand that the whole world be allowed into the UK.

    I was re-reading the epilogue to Niall Ferguson’s War of The World where talks of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, on of the ports of entry for Sub Saharan immigrants to Europe. There are thousands of them living rough outside the two electrified fences patrolled by the Guardia Civil and everyso often, usually when the Moroccans start evicting them there is a rush at the fence.

    Spain has had four amnesties in the last ten years and the migrants still come. There is a good description of how the trade is organised in the Searchlight Magazine. Go to http://www.searchlightmagazine.com and put terry fitzpatrick into archive.

    Each time Spain has declared an amnesty there has been another fresh wave coming in through the Canaries or onto the beaches of southern Spain. Without any shadow of a doubt amnesties are seen as rewards for the financial and physical risks of getting to Europe.

    As soon as the news reaches the home country cattle are sold and land mortgaged to pay the smugglers, there is simply no end to it. Everything has been tried. Spain is now broadcasting on local radio and TV stations all down the coast of West Africa telling people that there is no work for them to no avail. European aid is tied to countries taking back the deportees, there are Spanish police in countries like Mauritania and Senegal and a sophisticated heat detecting system can see crowds of people in the remote coastline of the Sahara desert but still they get through.

    People have got to realise that we can also talk about failed continents as well as countries and Africa can fairly be described as failed. There are five hundred million people therewho all want to be somewhere else,like Europe. One amnesty will lead to more.

  15. zaffer — on 26th November, 2008 at 9:37 am  

    Well done Boris. Even if it surmounts to nothing he is on record defending immigrants rights. And i must say i also agree with him when he opposed the tax hike for the rich. London is like any other metropolis, to a certain extent, reliant on the rich to keep money moving between the different sectors.

  16. marvin — on 30th November, 2008 at 7:39 pm  

    The only thread I could find on the front page about immigration, so it’s on topic….

    Crypto-proto-neo-fascism, first from Phil Woolas, now from Gulam Noon. 10 year ban on immigration. How incredibly racist of him. I hope he’s vilified in the left wing press for his vile protocypto-ness, as everybody else is…

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