Monday, March 09, 2009

Plight of 'Illegals' On Streets Of London

The plight of the capital's illegal immigrants has been exposed again but few are willing to raise their heads above the parapet and offer sensible practical solutions, preferring instead to brush it all under the carpet in the hope they will go away. 

Meanwhile poor souls suffer with no status and no protection, at the mercy of ruthless exploitation, forced to eek out a squalid, meagre existence in the underbelly of a twilight world. 

A study for London Mayor, Boris Johnson, puts the number of illegal immigrants at around three-quarters of a million, with London home to an estimated two thirds of illegal immigrants in the UK. 

Burying its head in the sand and scared of a backlash for failed immigration policies and highly spun figures, the government would not comment on the estimates, preferring instead to hide behind the useless statistic that the UK border is one of the toughest in the world.

Illegal immigration isn't confined to the capital but, as with many western cities, that is where they are drawn, with the false hope and promise of a better life before they are left to rot in the shadowy, anonymous underbelly of any large metropolis. 

Wandering around in limbo-land, falling victim to exploitation, their lack of status makes them easy prey for the slave labour bosses in the hotels, restaurants, sweat shops and food processing factories. Or just living on the streets and off scraps of hand-outs. 

Sucked into society's underbelly, they are forced to live in squalid accommodation and work propping up the lifestyles of the better-off, doing the menial jobs and scratching a living, without any state protection, falling victims to brutal harassment and meagre wages.

Mayor Johnson's  suggestion for some kind of amnesty doesn't curry favour in all quarters but behind the idea does lie a solution to an every-growing and squalid problem. 

Send them home is the cry from some quarters but where is home? Home is where the heart is, where there's a glimmer of hope and where people can live with a sense of pride. And that's certainly not in the squalor of third world slums or refugee camps. 

This is one issue the government wants to sweep under the carpet for fear its previous lax immigration policies are exposed again for the sham they were, as a neat way of propping up the economy for the false boom years. 

The government totally misses the point when it admits it would be impractical to round them up and send them home, preferring instead to treat this  big issue as a lost cause and flagging up the strict border controls now in place. 

But how many illegal immigrants come through passport control waiving their visas? They are smuggled in, crammed in container lorries through the slave labour supply routes across Europe with the bosses making all the bucks. That's if they don't end up as dead bodies in the back of a lorry.

Immigration minister, Phil Woolas, is talking bollocks when he says that far from helping, an amnesty would just encourage more illegal immigrants to come. So is the solution to criminalise a whole bunch of people and let them rot in a metropolitan hell-hole?

Government posters put the frighteners up everyone just to show they're being tough. But without status, 'illegals' live in fear, looking over their shoulders, falling prey to blackmailers, with the threat of being reported if they don't toe the line. 

By giving 'illegals' some kind of status they would be taken in by the state safety net and afforded some kind of protection against ruthless exploitation. 

Sure there would have to be be some tough criteria. Obviously no serious criminals, a legal job and they should have been here for a reasonable period of time.

But leave things as they are and it would take decades and cost billions to clear the backlog of all the people who are currently in the UK illegally.

Johnson is just being practical, but with the whole issue of illegal immigration a political hot potato, both the Conservative Party and the government do not seem to want to grasp the nettle, living instead in a smug, self-satisfied world, instead of listening to Ralph McTell's poignant lyrics for 'Streets of London'

Let me take you by the hand 
And lead you through the streets of London 
I'll show you something 
To make you change your mind 

Immigration - Time for an Amnesty? is the subject of BBC1 Panorama, 8.30pm. 

1 comment:

aproposofwhat said...

Common sense of the best sort - this country has plenty of room and plenty of work for those willing to chip in.

Woolas is the worst sort of Neues Arbeit cunt - I remember him sat on a bus shelter when we blocked Westminster Bridge, pointing out protesters to the plods.

I'll be there on April Hoon's day, and will be leading the diversion to Westminster as I did 20-odd years ago.