Hold Back The Immigrant Flood (UK) + Farm Labour Shortages : How Real? (UK)

To provide you with more international perspective on the immigration issue, Immigration Watch Canada.org's latest bulletin includes two non-Canadian items: (1) “HOLD BACK THE IMMIGRANT FLOOD” from Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch UK and (2) “FARM LABOR SHORTAGES: HOW REAL?” from the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C.

Sir Andrew Green argues that three recent events in the UK have crystallized public opinion against high immigration levels, transformed the U.K's immigration landscape and should precipitate significant political changes there.

In a more narrowly focused study, Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis, examines workers wages, farmers earnings, and the prospects of mechanization. Professor Martin questions farm industry claims and media reports of farm worker shortages. His work represents the latest in a long list of research which shows that so-called “labour shortages” are immigration industry attempts to generate a high immigration stampede.

Canadians should take note of these developments in both the UK and U.S.

Meanwhile, Canada's federal government pretends that nothing is wrong with immigration policy here. The government's 2008 immigration proposals, recently presented to Parliament, demonstrate that it has learned little from the Mulroney government's extremely foolish (and brazen) vote-searching decision to increase immigration levels from around 88,000 per year in 1984 to around 241,000 per year in 1990—an increase which most Canadians find incredible. Furthermore, by refusing to acknowledge the host of problems that have resulted from the unjustified high levels, our current government has given completely-undeserved respectability to the “Carry On As Usual” immigration practices of the Chretien and Martin governments.

The blunt truth is that most of the immigration problems of the Mulroney, Chretien and Martin eras remain today, yet our government's proposals for 2008 include no corrective action. What further words need to be said?



By Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK
The Sunday Times, London, 4 November, 2007

Just occasionally, a series of events crystallises public opinion and transforms the political landscape. That is what has happened with immigration in the past fortnight. Three events stand out.

The crucial wake-up call was publication of the governments latest population forecasts. They were truly shocking. They showed that, if immigration continues at the level the government now assumes, the population of the UK will grow by more than 10m in the next 25 years – that is equivalent to 10 cities the size of Birmingham; 70% of the increase will be due to immigration.

The public were taken aback by these numbers. They are now beginning to realise that we face the most critical decision for a generation. Not since the referendum on the Common Market in the 1970s have we confronted a decision that will so greatly affect the lives of our children and grandchildren. Do we set about a massive building programme, constructing a virtual Birmingham every 2 years and do we accept the fundamental changes to our society that will flow from immigration on this scale? Or do we take action now to cut immigration sharply?

Next was David Camerons decision to speak about immigration for the first time in two years. His speech on Monday called for a grown-up debate, set out the dilemma in measured terms and outlined Conservative proposals for both an annual limit to immigration and, importantly, a substantial reduction in numbers.

It was not long before we had Labour and Conservatives competing to sound tough on immigration – an extraordinary transformation from the days when people hardly dared mention the topic for fear of being accused of racism.

The third event – if such it be – was the farcical episode when the governments count of the new jobs taken by foreigners changed three times in a day, ending up roughly double where it began. The outcome was another blow to confidence in the governments ability to manage immigration.

The genie is now well and truly out of the bottle. Public opinion is extremely strong – 80% disbelieve the governments honesty and competence; 75% want to see an annual limit; two-thirds fear that our culture is under threat. Only one in three believe that immigration brings economic benefit to Britain.

The immigration lobby claims there is little that the government can do. It is all down to some mysterious force called globalisation. They are wrong. In fact, immigration to the UK took off in 1997. The prime cause was a series of policy errors by the present government. First, it abolished such border controls as it inherited. Then it trebled the number of work permits to 150,000 a year, plus dependants. Finally, it hopelessly miscalculated the inflow of east Europeans.

These policies can and should be reversed. The government could use its much-vaunted points-based system to throttle back sharply on work permits. The Australians, who have such a system, set a ceiling on immigration. So should we.

A ceiling would not apply to European Union citizens, but that is not a long-term problem. Before the recent enlargement, migration to and from the EU was roughly in balance and arrivals from the new east European members are now fairly steady at about 200,000 a year. The net inflow will decline as other EU members open their labour markets. Holland and half a dozen others have done so. The key countries, Austria, Germany and France, have kept their markets closed but restrictions have to be lifted in May 2011.

Added to that, as the economic level of east European countries approaches ours, there will be much less incentive to migrate. There was a blip for a few years when Spain, Portugal and Greece joined the EU but the net level of immigration has now fallen back.

Furthermore, those here will be more likely to go home. Many intend to spend several years here, save some money and then return to their families. As they do so, their numbers will counterbalance those still arriving so net immigration will fall.

Meanwhile, the pool of young people in eastern Europe will grow only slowly. The population of 18-year-olds in the two most populous countries, Poland and Romania is projected to fall by about 30% in the next 10 years.

What this adds up to is that, over a decade or so, net east European immigration to the UK is likely to decline substantially. The real long-term problem is immigration from outside the EU. Here populations are growing rapidly and huge numbers of young people are without work and prospects. It is vital that our immigration system should be a barrier to such people.

Failure to act now will mean that our society will be changed beyond recognition – and especially our cities. London is one-third immigrant and half of all babies born there have a foreign parent. Other large cities will follow. According to one academic study, the ethnic community in Britain will grow from 9% to 29% by mid-century.

There is every reason for concern. The Commission for Racial Equalitys final report spoke frankly about growing segregation and of our society fracturing, with bonds of solidarity across different groups weakening, and tensions between people increasing. These are serious warnings. The CRE was in denial about the role of mass immigration in all this but the rest of us can see it clearly.

We can now at last speak about the elephant in the room. But when will our political leaders respond to the deep anxieties that so many of us feel? And will they get down to some serious action before it is, indeed, too late?


Farm Worker Shortage?
New Study Looks at Agricultural Labor Force

WASHINGTON (November 2007) — A new Backgrounder from the Center for Immigration Studies challenges assertions by farmers and the media that crops are rotting in the fields for lack of workers. Philip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis, examines workers wages, farmers earnings, and the prospects of mechanization.

The full report, entitled Farm Labor Shortages: How Real? What Response?, is available at http://www.cis.org/articles/2007/back907.html

Among the findings:

# Production of fruits and vegetables have been increasing. In particular, plantings of very-labor-intensive crops such as cherries and strawberries have grown by more than 20 percent in just five years.

# The average farm worker makes $9.06 an hour, compared to $16.75 for non-farm production workers.

# Real wages for farm workers increased one-half of one percent (.5%) a year on average between 2000 and 2006. If there were a shortage, wages would be rising much more rapidly.

# Farm worker earnings have risen slower in California and Florida (the states with the most fruit and vegetable production) than in the United States as a whole.

# The average household spends only about $1 a day on fresh fruits and vegetables.

# Labor costs comprise only 6 percent of the price consumers pay for fresh produce. Thus, if farm wages were allowed to rise 40 percent, and if all the costs were passed on to consumers, the cost to the average household would be only about $8 a year.

# Mechanization could offset labor higher labor costs. After the Bracero Mexican guestworker program ended in the mid-1960s, farm worker wages rose 40 percent, but consumer prices rose relatively little because the mechanization of some crops dramatically increased productivity.

# Labor-saving mechanization can be difficult for one farmer, since packers and processors are usually set up to deal either with hand-picked or machine-picked crops, but not both. Government has a key role to play in facilitating mechanization.

Contact: Bryan Griffith
(202) 466-8185, press@cis.org

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The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.