Mr Vaz and the Home Affairs Committee have issued a timely reminder of the bulging in tray of the Border Agency. They have added up the Agency’s own figures and reckon over 250,000 illegal immigrants are still in the country.
The BBC has revealed the squalid conditions some illegal migrants live in, in sheds and lean to structures illegally erected and inhabited in back gardens. They seek irregular cash based work. They feel let down by the border buster gangs who charged them for their transit and entry to the UK.
Now we hear that the socialist French President is going to allow Sangatte to start up all over again, allowing more illegals to find their way from France to the UK.
The government has stated clearly its intention to clamp down on illegal immigration. It has said the Commitee has highlighted serious problems which it is already tackling. Many would like to see faster progress.
The first thing is to stop the new flow of illegals. Why doesn’t the Border Agency make it clear that no-one will be admitted without proper papers? It needs to end the practice of illegal migrants from safe countries turning up without papers and claiming asylum. All new entrants, including asylum seekers, can and should have a passport or other document making clear where they were born and where they are a citizen. Anyone travelling without papers should be prevented from getting on the plane at the place of departure. Anyone destroying documents on the plane should be sent back by the next flight to where they came from. If there are putative problems with the ECJ or the ECHR the UK Parliament shoud legislate to make clear in UK law the rule of needing papers applies regardless. UK citizens flying to the USA have to show a visa or ESTA visa waiver before being allowed on the plane.
All people with papers seeking entry to the UK should be advised to seek pre-clearance in the country where they currently live. Asylum seekers from a list of badly governed countries would be exempted from such a requirement if it was dangerous for them to comply. Most entrants should arrive in the UK knowing they could enter, and the task of the Border Agency would be simplified and speeded up. Requirements for visitors and business travellers who are clearly coming for a short stay should be much easier than requirements for people wanting to settle and work here. It is quite easy to enter the US as a tourist or business person, but they do require your US contact address and want to know when and how you are going home.
The Agency should also start to tackle its backlog more rapidly. It should know how to contact all the people it has allowed short term entry and should ask them to leave in accordance with their agreed permission. Criminals should also be well known to the authorities and should be removed as soon as possible.