2003 February 08 Saturday
Tony Blair Proposes To Cut Asylum Seekers In Britain

The British government is attempting to stem the influx of asylum seekers into the UK.

The government hopes measures in new asylum legislation coming into effect, including securing the border with France, withdrawing benefits, increasing the number of deportations and extending the "white list" of safe countries from 10 to 17 states will rapidly bring the numbers down.

On Monday Mr Blair will also discuss his longer-term "safe havens" plan with Ruud Lubbers, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, under which most arrivals would be removed from Britain before they can claim asylum.

The number of asylum seekers is rising rapidly.

Last year Britain received 89,700 applications for asylum, up 53 percent over the previous year.

Swamped with more than 100,000 still unprocessed asylum applications, people who arrive here without visas often stay five years or more before there is a ruling. While they wait, many receive state benefits like welfare payments.

If Britain cut the number in half it would still be more than twice the number of asylum seekers it received in 1993.

There were 22,400 asylum seekers in Britain (excluding dependent relatives and children), five times the number who applied six years ago, but a drop of 2,200 from 1992.

Asylum seeking in Britain has grown by over an order of magnitude over the last 15 years. The British government is divided over proposals to reduce the influx. Home Secretary David Blunkett is unenthused about Blair's proposal and does not promise to achieve it. As it standads now the vast bulk of asylum applicants have their complaints rejected but very few of those are deported.

Only about 10,000 were granted asylum. Of the remainder, approximately 8,000 left or were deported, leaving another 82,000 whose claims were rejected, but who remain in Britain and whose whereabouts are unknown. This means that more than 200 rejected asylum seekers a day disappear.

There are now over 300,000 illegals still living in Britain after having their asylum applications rejected. The British government appears to be as inefficient in carrying out deportation orders as is the United States government.

One analyst questions the sincerity of the British government's statements.

Harriet Sergeant, who wrote a report on asylum for the right-wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, said Mr Blair would cut numbers by reclassifying refugees.

"We simply rename half our asylum seekers economic migrants, give them work permits and let them into this country," she said.

In a similar vein visa applications will be harder to get for those who are trying to travel to the UK to get free medical care.

Suspected 'health tourists' - foreigners who come to Britain just to seek free NHS treatment - are to be barred from travelling to this country under a planned government clampdown.

Visas will be withheld from applicants with obvious signs of pre-existing medical conditions - such as heavily pregnant women - unless they show they can pay for their medical care while here.

The vast bulk of the asylum seekers are economic migrants looking for a higher living standard. Some come from politically repressive countries. Therefore human rights activists oppose their return. The human rights activists are taking an impractical position. If the British government let anyone stay who came from a politically repressive country then the rate of entry by asylum seekers would rise by one or two orders of magnitude. People would manage to gain entrance with tourist visas, fake identifications, and by smuggling. The economic incentives are so great that any Western country that is lax in its efforts to control asylum seekers will be deluged.

Update: Anthony Browne discusses the causes of the rising opposition to immigration in Britain.

The police raided a North London mosque where the imams regularly order their followers to murder all British people, particularly Jews. The police discovered several asylum seekers, hundreds of false passports, stolen credit cards, a biological warfare protection suit and a small arsenal of weapons.

But the event that tipped the public mood right over the edge was the discovery that several Taliban fighters, who until recently were supporting Osama bin Laden in his quest to destroy the West and trying to kill British troops in Afghanistan, had successfully claimed asylum in Britain claiming persecution by the Western backed, democratic government.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 February 08 08:45 PM  Immigration Border Control

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