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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Opinion: This influx 'must stop'
Born Abroad
By Sir Andrew Green
Migration Watch chairman

Sir Andrew Green
Immigration at present rates cannot go on, says Sir Andrew Green

This report is full of interesting detail - and empty of serious content. In fact, it completely misses the point.

In almost its first sentence it claims that there is "a growing realisation that immigration is set to continue."

We entirely disagree. We believe that there is a growing realisation that immigration simply cannot continue at the present levels.

What the report fails to bring out is the massive increase in immigration in recent years and its consequences.

The flow of immigrants has trebled under the present government.

An extra one million immigrants have arrived since they came to power. And immigration will add five million to our population the next 30 years.

This amounts to 84% of our population growth and is the equivalent of five times the population of Birmingham.

This is not "scaremongering". It is the government's own population projection.

'Real issue'

So the real issue is not where our five million immigrants have come from, nor where they happen to be now.

It is time for a fundamental rethink on the back of an open and honest debate

The real question is whether we need another five million people on this island, adding to a population which is already at record levels.

We think that this is an extremely bad idea for three main reasons.

The first is integration. The reality is that we now face a crisis in community relations. We simply cannot integrate people at the present pace.

A recent paper delivered to the Royal Geographical Society reported that a number of British cities are now as ghettoised as American cities.

The general public would be amazed if they realised that foreign immigration is now running at nearly a quarter of a million a year - and those are just the ones we know about.

Secondly, England is already heavily overcrowded. It is second only to Holland as the most crowded country in Europe.

'Democracy' question

Yet we will need an extra one million houses in the next 20 years just for immigration. Where are we going to put them?

Finally, there is the key question of democracy. The public are deeply opposed to this policy; 70%, including, interestingly, 60% of Asians, feel that there are too many immigrants coming to Britain.

The government are riding roughshod over us. "Managed migration" is simply a smokescreen for a failed policy.

Talk of economic benefits is viewed with deep scepticism, and rightly so. All major studies - in the US, Canada and Holland - have shown that the benefit to the host community is minimal. In Britain it would be about 25 per head per year.

The social effects are much more significant and, at present levels, are of widespread concern. It is time for a fundamental rethink on the back of an open and honest debate.

Sir Andrew Green is chairman of Migration Watch, a body which says migration is neither moderate nor managed and seeks to "thoroughly examine" arguments in favour of immigration on the current scale.


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