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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
British Asians' immigration fears
By Gordon Harcourt
BBC News, Southall

Southall is London's little India in a borough which is home to 50,000 Indians and 12,000 other Asians.
Palace Cinema, Southall
Southall - London's "little India"

In a part of west London where you can even pay in rupees in a pub, many people are worried at the rising temperature of the immigration debate.

"People are becoming concerned, especially in this area," said one voter.

Avtar Lit, owner of the UK's best-known Asian radio station Sunshine Radio, is not impressed by the main parties' handling of immigration.

"For four or five years between elections the politicians say good things about the Asian community then come to election they go back to a divisive policy which doesn't do the country, host community or the immigrants any good."

Rising migrant numbers are a fact - but the costs and benefits of immigration are hotly contested.

Increased immigration produces fear; fear produces hatred; hatred produces racism
Lawyer Geeta Sidhu

A recent study says that migrants earn more on average and pay more tax than those born in Britain.

But pressure group Migrationwatch UK disagrees.

They say that money sent home by migrants and pressures due to population growth outweighs any gains from migration.

'Work hard'

Polling consistently shows that the Conservative approach of tougher controls is to the taste of British voters.

And not just white Britons.

Sir Gulam Noon
Sir Gulam Noon says migrants must integrate

A poll by the BBC's Asian Network radio station shows that 60% of British Asians say there are too many immigrants in Britain.

Lawyer and former Conservative candidate Geeta Sidhu says increased immigration is a cause of racism against established migrant communities.

"Increased immigration produces fear; fear produces hatred; hatred produces racism.

"This racism strikes in low-income poverty areas that are overcrowded and traditionally the home base of any immigrant."

Southall-based Noon Foods employs around 900 people and its owner Sir Gulam Noon says migrants must take some responsibility for integration into their new home.

"We must have the right people as immigrants.

"People who are prepared to work hard, assimilate into our society and learn the English language."

Plenty of British voters are steamed up about immigration and, whichever party wins, new controls will be introduced.



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