Labour's Immigration Plan Won't Work
My thoughts on the latest proposals to solve Britain's escalating crisis
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Immigration is going to be a massive issue at Britain’s rapidly approaching general election and beyond.
Just look at the polls.
Against the backdrop of 1.2 million people entering Britain legally last year, close to 50,000 entering illegally, and the British taxpayer now paying nearly £4 billion a year to fund a broken asylum system, immigration is the third most important issue for all Brits and the second most important for people who voted Tory in 2019.
And contrary to what you hear on social media —where the SW1 conversation is dominated by journalists, pollsters and academics who are instinctively pro-immigration— many voters have become far more sceptical of immigration.
Large majorities think immigration has been too high, is being badly managed, and reject the suggestion it’s been ‘mostly good’ for Britain.
Last week, Lord Ashcroft asked voters to rate immigration on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 was ‘it’s a force for ill’ and 10 was ‘it’s a force for good’.
The mean score among all voters was just 4.8 —which slumped to 3.4 among 2019 Tories, 3.2 among Brexiteers and 3.4 among people who have deserted the Tories.
There is, in short, little public enthusiasm for mass immigration.
Which is why any new plan to tackle illegal migration and fix a system which is completely broken should be taken seriously.
Whatever our politics, whether you are on the left or right, I think I can say that we all want and need our leaders to get on top of this crisis as quickly as possible.
And this week it was the turn of Keir Starmer and the Labour Party to outline their plan for tackling illegal migration and restoring public confidence.
What does it involve?
Labour would set up a new unit to take on the criminal gangs which are helping migrants cross the Channel. It would fund this by scrapping the Rwanda scheme, brought in under Boris Johnson and which is currently held up in the courts.
Labour would also try and clear the massive backlog in asylum claims and would create new ‘safe and legal routes’ for refugees with family connections in Britain.
And it would pursue a returns agreement for asylum seekers with the European Union, whereby Britain would accept quotas of migrants from the EU in return for sending back some people who arrive in Britain illegally.
The only problem with all this, put simply, is that it won’t work. It will not come close to solving the migration crisis. If anything, it could make it much worse.
Why do I say that?
Well, for a start, I’ve been listening to experts at the National Crime Agency who’ve made it clear focusing only on the criminal gangs will not solve the crisis.
There are simply too many of them, they are non-hierarchical, and so the moment you disrupt one gang another will simply emerge in its place.
You’re also never really getting at the underlying problem.
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