“UK and US Groups Call For Immigration Reduction”
This bulletin consists of 2 articles, one from The London Times Online and the other from The Washington Post.
The articles demonstrate that there is strong opposition to current high immigration policies in the UK and US.
Because high immigration levels have caused many of the same serious problems here in Canada, we say that immigration should be a major issue in the current Canadian election.
Frank Field Leads Calls For Curbs On Migrants
London Times Online
September 7, 2008
The leading Labour rebel, Frank Field, has teamed up with senior Tories to demand a cap on the number of immigrants settling in Britain.
In a move that will alarm Downing Street, Field will tomorrow become the first prominent Labour figure to tackle Gordon Brown openly over the explosive issue of immigration.
A former welfare minister under Tony Blair, Field will join Nicholas Soames, the Tory MP, to call for a huge reduction in the numbers of non-European Union workers who settle permanently in Britain. Soames, a former minister under John Major, is a hate figure among many Labour MPs.
Together with the pressure group Migrationwatch, Field and his allies will launch the first cross-party parliamentary immigration group. The move has tacit support from at least one government minister.
Field aims to push Brown to end Britains open door immigration policy, which he says is costing British jobs and is deeply unpopular with voters.
The Labour maverick led the backbench rebellion over Browns controversial abolition of the 10p tax rate. His latest intervention will be seen by Downing Street as likely to cause division within Labour ranks by challenging Brown on a key area of Labour policy. Until now the idea of imposing any kind of immigration quota has been taboo in Labour circles.
Field believes that unchecked immigration is placing an intolerable burden on schools, transport, the health service and the environment. He will cite figures showing that the rise in immigration means that Britain will need to build seven new cities the size of Birmingham by 2031.
A forecast by the European commission predicts that Britains population will rise from 60.9m today to 77m within 50 years, making it Europes most populous country.
In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, an estimated 591,000 people arrived in the UK. About 400,000 left the country, leaving net immigration at 191,000.
Field will call on Brown to balance the number of those coming to settle in Britain with those emigrating.
He will propose that all but a tiny minority of the skilled foreigners from outside the EU coming to work here on new four-year work permits should leave as soon as their permits expire. Under the present system, most stay on and are allowed to settle permanently.
The group believe that this should be the central aim of immigration policy. Only a small number would be allowed to settle and that number would be capped, said a source close to Field.
Yesterday one government minister said he privately supported the move. We absolutely have to have a cap, otherwise how can you control it? Any sensible person will say that predictions that the population will grow to nearly 80m is unsustainable, he said.
If you dont have a cap on those who stay after their work permits expire, you cant control the long-term trend.
Field has spoken about the need to control immigration from eastern Europe. But this is the first time that any Labour figure has called for a quota on migrants coming to settle.
Ministers have consistently dismissed Tory calls for a quota, saying it would make little difference as most migrants come from the EU and have a legal right to stay. But that view is challenged by Migrationwatch, which has found that immigration from the EU will soon balance out. The pressure of immigration in future will come from non-EU countries, including those in Africa and Asia.
Unofficial estimates suggest that as many as 100,000 foreigners a year who come to Britain under work permit schemes decide to flout immigration rules and stay on when their permits expire.
The Home Office has recently introduced an Australian points-based system designed to restrict the number of non-EU migrants entering under the work permit scheme to those who have proper qualifications and experience. But the Tories and Field believe that the scheme is still an open door because it does not set an annual limit on numbers.
David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, said last year that he wanted to reduce substantially the number of non-EU immigrants. He has promised to announce a specific limit in the partys next election manifesto.
Field will emphasise that he does not want a limit on the numbers of new migrants per se. Instead he plans to target the more important issue of placing a cap on those who settle here permanently.
Fields friends say his move is designed to reflect genuine concern among working-class people in his Birkenhead constituency. Last December the MP revealed new figures which showed that most new jobs were going to migrants. The figures made a mockery of Browns declaration that he wanted British jobs for British workers.
The Statistics Commission said that 1.4m workers born abroad had taken jobs in Britain since 1997 up to 81% of the 1.7m new jobs.
The new group believes it has backing from business leaders such as the Institute of Directors and the CBI. Field expects to receive substantial public support. Previous opinion polls show about half of existing migrants felt there should be curbs on future immigrants coming to Britain.
A Home Office spokesperson last night said: “Migration is good for employment and good for the economy – new migrants contributed 6 billion to the UK economy in 2006 alone.
“The tough Australian-style points system means only those Britain needs and no more can come here and it's flexible – allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and the country as a whole. When setting the pass mark, we will listen to the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent panel of economists.
“All migrants must speak English and obey the law if they want to gain citizenship.
How Many Americans?
By Steven A. Camarota
Center For Immigration Studies
The Washington Post, September 2, 2008
When the Census Bureau released its new population projections last month, most of the media focused on the country's changing racial composition. But this was almost certainly not the most important finding. The projections show that the U.S. population will grow by 135 million in just 42 years — a 44 percent increase. Such growth would have profound implications for our environment and quality of life. Most of the increase would be a direct result of one federal policy — immigration. If we reduced the level of immigration, the projections would be much lower. The question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we want to be a much more densely settled country?
Native-born Americans have only about two children on average, which makes for a roughly stable population over time. But with an estimated 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country each year, and about 900,000 births to these immigrants each year, immigration directly and indirectly accounts for at least three-fourths of U.S. population growth.
An increase of 135 million people by 2050 is equivalent to the entire populations of Mexico and Canada moving here. Assuming the same ratio of population to infrastructure that exists today, the United States would need to build and pay for 36,000 schools. We would need to develop enough land to accommodate 52 million new housing units, along with places for the people who lived in them to shop and work. We would also have to construct enough roads to handle 106 million more vehicles.
Of course, our country can 'fit' more people. But such a dramatic increase would affect many issues about which Americans are concerned, including the environment, traffic, congestion, sprawl and the loss of open spaces. Technology and planning could help manage this situation, but there is no way they could offset all of the impact of 135 million more people. This massive increase also would have implications for the size and scope of government; more densely settled societies almost always are more heavily regulated societies.
Another important finding in the census projections is that, even with record levels of immigration for the next four decades, the U.S. population will still grow significantly older. Immigration makes our society only slightly younger than it would otherwise be. (Consider that, on average, the overall fertility rate in the United States is about 2.1 children per woman. If immigrants are excluded from the data, it's still about 2.0 children per woman. This compares with 1.4 children in Western Europe. Immigration makes for a much more densely settled country; it does not make for a much younger country.) As the Census Bureau stated in its 2000 projections, immigration is a 'highly inefficient' means for addressing the problem of an aging society in the long run. The new projections show the same thing.
Some people think that immigration creates large economic benefits. But the economic research is pretty clear: While immigration does significantly increase economic activity in the receiving society, almost all of that increased activity go to the immigrants themselves in the form of wages and benefits. The gain to natives is tiny. When the National Research Council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, examined this question, it concluded that the benefits for native-born Americans were equal to only about one- or two-tenths of 1 percent of their income. The two economists who did the work for the council described the effect as 'minuscule.'
Moreover, this tiny economic benefit was entirely erased by the fiscal drain immigrant households imposed on taxpayers. Perhaps worst of all, the researchers found that to generate this small gain, immigration reduced the wages of the least educated and poorest American workers.
There is no question that immigrants benefit by coming here. But it is difficult to argue that immigration is a well-targeted way to lift up the world's poor. Many immigrants to the United States were not poor in their home countries. More important, although immigration causes an enormous increase in the overall U.S. population, it still represents an infinitesimal fraction of the world's low-income population. We can do more to help poor people in developing countries through trade policies and development assistance.
The United States may well decide to continue to allow the settlement of 1.5 million immigrants (legal and illegal) each year. But legal immigration is a federal program like any other and could be reduced below the 1 million currently allowed to enter annually. Greater resources could also be devoted to reducing illegal immigration. It's important to understand that the new projections show us one possible future. We must decide as a country if this is the future we want.