174 - UK Illegal Immigration

We are still complaining at the numbers of people seeking to enter Britain. This essay starts by looking at the illegal element.

By ‘illegal immigration’ one means people resident in the UK without authorisation. This is a difficult thing to measure as it relies upon searching for discrepancies in the counting that takes place. A 2001 study referred to in the wikipedia entry estimated a population of 440±130 thousand people, or 0.7±.2% of the national population. This number then needs to be increased by the children born to these migrants and of course needs adjustment for undocumented people entering and leaving the country. Some of these people move onto lists (e.g. as asylum seekers). A further study done under the auspices of the LSE moved the total in 2009 up to 640±223 thousand or around 50% higher than the 2001 figure (published in 2005). The child element of these figures is perhaps a further 5% per year.

One of the more reliable sources for information is the 2011 census. A census attempts to take a snapshot of where everyone is on one particular night in a year ending in one, which we have done since 1841.

Another source is MigrationWatch and though this source may be described as biased, it has shown itself to be correct sufficiently often for its output to at the very least be taken seriously.


We elected the Conservatives – actually, something like a third of us did, while a similar number voted for someone else and the last third did not vote at all. Whatever, this is the ‘will of the people’. One of the planks of the platform, with parallels in the other parties, was to reduce immigration. The majority of us successfully left a message for the politicians, who essentially try to offer us what they think we want to hear, that we wanted immigration to go away. The Conservatives put a number on this, 100,000 net migration. This is a target we implicitly supported. We failed to have a sensible conversation what this meant. We already have over 300,000 as net migration. Reducing this by two thirds means we will have to turn ourselves from being one of the countries most targeted (along with Sweden and Germany) into the one least targeted.


As the last essay showed, and adding in an element of guesswork for ‘others’, that UK migration is made up of

                                                                       IN                OUT                CHANGE                                                                         

British passport holders                              83,000        139,000                -56,000                                                                       

other EU passport holders                        268,000          91,000               178,000                                         

non-EU passport holders                          290,000          94,000               197,000                                                   

others (largely guesses)                             90,000          30,000                 60,000                                                            

    net change                                            731,000        353,000               378,000                                               


To affect net migration we must make ourselves far less attractive and do this without screwing up the education market, the tourism market or our global trade. That requires us to dance a fine line between being a nice place to do business with, to come to learn and to visit but at the very same time not a place you will be able to (or want to) stay long-term. That strikes me as a very difficult task, made far more so in the climate we have of press and political opponents all clamouring for whatever is opposite to what the government says. Which is why I continue to say the Press is the enemy; if it were doing its job properly, i.e. informing the people, we would have recognised these difficulties and we would be striving to agree what the best route forward would be to achieve that which we said we wanted. Instead, what will happen is that we will believe that the State is a fool in letting us get to the next parlous situation and at no point accept we said we wanted this.


The Guardian article linked below tells us we hate ourselves; I read many of the comments, which disagree with this. We don’t hate these people, but neither do we want them in our country. I found much comment that a majority of these people are from Africa1, where the population is exploding. Then that points to what I have long said is the problem we should be dealing with, that there simply are too many people and we are not dealing with the surplus of people. There is a sick sense in which it could be said that our efforts to reduce disease in places like Africa lower the death rate and raise the population, so that directly we are a contributory cause. I heard David Attenborough tell Barack Obama that one solution to that problem is to raise the education of females – there is, he said, a strong correlation between the education level of females and a lower birth rate1. I point out that we should adopt such attitudes at home before we foist such opinions on others.

Subsequently I found another Guardian article with which I disagreed (much as usual, but in disagreeing one is made to think). Among the comments—hugely reduced once one ignores the pointless rage and name-calling—I found some worthwhile content:


  1. We cannot let everyone in, so some form of selection must be applied. We tend to select on
  2. (i)  legality, meaning having paperwork
  3. (ii)  having family here already
  4. (iii) having work already arranged
  5. (iv) having copious money to bring into the country
  6. (v)  fleeing life-threatening persecution.

•  Asylum seekers are supposed to apply for asylum in the first country to which they move. Therefore people trying to move across the Channel are economic migrants, not refugees. People granted asylum within Europe are (this readership thinks) permitted to travel within Europe. Ergo, travellers are expected, according to the understanding of ‘system’, to apply for permission to be in Europe in Italy, Greece, France or Spain and then move elsewhere (Britain, Germany, Sweden) subsequently. This is what does not happen.

•   We should be proud that many others wish to join us in our country. One reason for the UK being a target of choice is because of language, which in turn is partly a consequence of our (empirical?) history.

•   Several respondents see a direct connection between military action (‘bombing’) in a country and mass emigration. In particular, there is a responsibility seen between say the UK doing some bombing in Syria and then being responsible for those Syrians who feel displaced. I might well agree, if in a similar position. This then brings into question whether we should (ever) interfere in another country and what responsibility we take when doing so. I’m sure there are parallels with inter-personal aid.


It is particularly clear from the numbers above that if we are to reduce net immigration then the illegal / other element is small but the cause of greatest relative alarm. Changing the EU-passport-holder element requires us to identify reasons for the UK being so very attractive and then (obviously) looking to change that – or to recognise that such change is further than we are prepared to go. Being the mess we are, I expect we’ll have conflicting attitudes represented by left-hand and right-hand and just make the overall position worse, driving more UK passport holders out of GB. Or, having looked at the figures, out of England. Reducing the non-EU immigration is a different problem and may well directly affect my own immediate family and drive us out (again, more so, etc).


Look at the numbers yourself and ask how we might reduce the net change to 100,000. Then remind yourself we elected a government to do exactly that. Oh yes you did elect them; just because two-thirds of us didn’t doesn’t make us less responsible now.


What bothers me most about this is that we failed to be engaged as an electorate. I see this as a failure at many levels: assumption that we are too stupid to engage, failure by the fourth estate to engage on our behalf, failure by all three of the other estates to produce solid evidence and opinion as to what we should do – which is a failure of leadership by which I do not mean our leaders failed, I mean that those who should be demonstrating leadership failed to do so. I also do not mean ‘leadership’ in the sense of ‘follow me, chaps’ and ‘over the top’, I mean that those in position of power and positions to produce information should act (should have acted) to inform far more than jump to an assumption that they know best. I’m not saying they did or did not do either; yet again I point to the press as failing to communicate with the populace and to the populace for not chasing up answers. I’m looking for answers and merely showing on a daily basis that this is difficult.


It is time that our politics grew up and recognised that in educating the population we should not continue to be stupid. Perhaps from their point of view the evidence tells the opposite story. Perhaps far too many of us simply do not care. In which case, the suggestion that we need to return to having patricians and plebeians gains ground.


DJS 20150804


Next, to look at demographic change.

Incidentally, if we could reduce net migration to 100,000 then the expected UK growth of around 500,000 just about matches the other predictions. See Essay 173 again to remind yourself that half of that increase is from recent migrants. Reducing intake will slowly have an effect of UK growth internally but what we are not exploring is how we need to change our society. For example, if we accept that new migrants have more children than the average and that established Brits have fewer, then one solution would be to encourage Britishness among the new entrants. How do we do that? Well, not by ostracising these people and thus ensuring they maintain their own non-British culture. The same could be said of religious differences; perhaps what we have to do is stop ignoring our neighbours but embrace them and make our society more homogeneous. I am struggling to pluck up the courage to do such a thing.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_in_the_United_Kingdom

http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/latest-immigration-statistics Watch for the next release of migration statistics, late August 2015.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/02/why-fortress-britain-doesnt-welcome-refugees

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/97facts/edu2birt.htm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-to-experience-population-boom/article19998373/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/07/16/the-amazing-surprising-africa-driven-demographic-future-of-the-earth-in-9-charts/

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-global-population-growing-faster-than-thought-20130710-story.html


1 See evidence from the UN Population Division. Current models show that what was a 2% growth back in the 1950s will change to being 4 times its current size by 2100. The prediction is that Africa’s population will be over five times its 2000 size by 2100. I reckon this is well under 2% per annum and point out that a 1% growth would give us 2.7 times the current population. So the complaint is not what it seems; we need to aim for a negative growth rate across the globe in the hope of hitting something near stability. Well that isn’t going to happen, because the first religion to embrace such an attitude is going to be swamped by all the others that do not.  “Go forth and multiply”, and quick so there’s more of ‘us’ than ‘them’. We are so very selfish that the appeal has to be that we will be better off as individuals by not having children.

April 24 1997 Birth and Fertility Rates by Educational Attainment: United States, 1994. Vol. 45 No. 10 supplement. 20 pp. (PHS) 97-1120[PDF - 255 KB](http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/mvsr/supp/mv45_10s.pdf)



I realise that, when reading ‘opinion’ or op-ed pieces, I am made to think far more by those with which and with whom I disagree. Too many of these can be disregarded as fluff pieces, where one can find points that fail to stand scrutiny. An example in this case is anyone saying we should take in all-comers. I have a simple test for such a situation: Would I take someone in myself? Almost always the answer would be ‘No’. That’s because at root I am a selfish bastard.

Conversely I have respect for anyone who does something positive about their circumstances, so I have huge respect for some of the economic migrants interviewed at Calais, especially those who have travelled far in dire circumstances and who are clearly willing to contribute positively to a welcoming host country. Indeed, I might well agree to act as sponsor  (taking responsibility on behalf of someone) for those I thought deserving cases.

However, we have a problem because we approve of family joining subsequently, so if I were to accept responsibility for one I would have grave reservations at having to take similar responsibility for an unknown host of connected persons. Directly, for example, I support my spouse but largely because there is no way (as I currently understand matters) she will support her immediate family in also moving to Britain. So I am responsible for her and only her, an understood quantity (not entity, guys).

It is far harder to find an opinion of your own when the writer so nearly says what you might think for yourself. This is insidious behaviour, probably not intended as such, but I find myself adopting the attitudes of writers with whom I generally agree. At odds with this, the writer with whom I disagree gives me statements where I can identify disagreement, which is far easier than the general near-agreement of the other sort.

© David Scoins 2017