Saturday, 23 January 2010

Illegal Immigrants: What If We Give Them Amnesty?

Recently I had an opportunity to engage in a little but highly intelligent discussion with a facebook friend on the question of amnesty for illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom. It was a discussion I must claim was full of intelligence and common sense and therefore worthy of being shared here too.

What actually transpired was that the friend in question berated the Liberal Democrats Party for suggesting amnesty for the illegal immigrants. I do not intend to mention the name of the friend in question because she might be termed a racist. Minorities are using this ‘R’ word to play a fast game. If you do not identify with what pleases them, you are likely to be termed a racist.

In the politics of the United Kingdom, immigration is one of the issues that is seriously considered a no go area. It could make or mar a party’s chance of winning or losing an election. Presently, any party that shows sympathy towards this question of immigration or even think of amnesty for the illegal immigrants is more likely and certainly sure of loosing votes. The British electorates are fast becoming xenophobic and afraid of what would be of their future in the face of the pace of the present immigration system, trend and level. As a result of this, a party that comes up with a very hard line on this issue is more likely to win. This could explain the reason the electorates are fast embracing right wing parties like the British National Party and United Kingdom Independence Party.

However the question here is a moral one. The electorates are more likely to be deceived by the parties to get their votes and do nothing at the end of the day. Parties are in the business of winning elections and never loosing. For them to win they must do everything possible by all means to achieve their aim. That according to Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli in his ‘The Prince’ is allowed in politics; get what you want by all means because the end justifies the means. One of the things they could do would be to tell the voters lie by making false promises including leading them to the Promised Land and building mansions for them in the air. If they are able to win the election at the end of the day, every other thing becomes a promise after all they have got five years to work hard to deceive them again. The electorates are gullible and to deceive them you have to tell them what they want to hear. The parties could tell them that once they are voted in illegal immigration would be a history while those already here would be deported within few years. The former could be possible only when factors necessitating their illegal immigration are nipped to the bud while the later is completely impossible.

The United Kingdom at the moment according to the London School of Economic has about 750 thousand illegal immigrants. Most of them live and work in London and to deport them could take many years including the heavy cost on the tax payers. As a matter of fact the deportation option could be ludicrous and practically impossible and even if it is possible and going by the rate by which illegal immigrants are being removed in this country presently which is about 60,000 a year, it will take about 34 years at the cost of about £11,000 each to remove all of them. At the end of the 34 years it would have cost the nation about £9bn to remove them all. Therefore the realistic thing to do would be firstly to work hard to secure the UK border which frankly may not solve the problem till corruption in the country where these illegal immigrants are coming from is genuinely tackled and secondly to legalise those already here. Both make sense. But due to the egoistic reason of winning an election a party need only to pretend that the illegal immigration is a no go area even though the problem is there. Another thing the party could do to ensure that it does not mess herself up in the public would be to try as much possible to either evade the question entirely or confuse the electorates by being very ambiguous and loquacious in their action plan regarding the question.

This drama of either alluding to a no go area principle or being very ambiguous or garrulous is exactly what the main parties are rehearsing today with the exception of the Liberal Democrats. Amongst the three main political parties, it is only the Liberal Democrats that comes very close to being realistic with the question of solving the perennial issue of illegal immigrants already here. They do not actually have an action plan on how to tackle illegal immigration just like other parties. Labour and the Conservative parties are blindly opposed to any form of exercise that would eventually provide a platform for the illegals already here to be normalised. They do not have a cogent reason for that. In fact they have only two mantra they repeat all the time to support their claim. One is that the exercise would end up justifying illegality while the other is that the exercise would be a push factor. The fact that these illegal immigrants are here working and making profit and sending profits back home does not bother them at all. They more or less live comfortably compared to the legal immigrants since they have little or no bill to pay and therefore enjoy life just like every other person.

The Liberal Democrats are very much aware of this fact and certainly talks out of experience. The Liberal Democrats are in charge of the Southwark Council which has the highest percentage of these illegal immigrants, most from the sub-Saharan Africa. Due to this first had experience, they are of the view that any solution that thinks of deporting all of them would be unrealistic, pennywise and pound foolish and would surely end up being a huge problem to the society and the people involved. In fact the Liberal Democrats believes that the only solution to the problem of illegal immigrants already here is simply granting them amnesty; any form of amnesty even conditional one to enable them turn their lives around, come out of darkness into light and live openly like others instead of living underground. I strongly identify with and share the views of the Liberal democrats. It is noble and more realistic than sending them home. They score high here when compared to other parties.

My identifying with the Liberal Democrats does not in any way suggest justifying illegal immigration but the fact is that I have also thought of this issue over and over again and concluded that we cannot continue to pretend that the problem is not there. The problem is there and must be addressed after all we are dealing with human beings and not dogs. This democracy is therefore under a moral obligation to give this shame a butt and for the sake of humanity must courageously cut a deal that would go a long way to give a second chance to these people. They have made the mistake and we cannot dwell on that forever after all rapists and murderers are routinely paroled. The United Kingdom would not cease to exist if that is done and it would obviously have no negative impact on any part of life of the Kingdom. The United Kingdom stands to gain from this exercise. Somebody therefore must make the first move no matter whose Ox is going to be gored.

I am therefore strongly in support of the steps advocated by the Liberal Democrats. My view is that the Liberal Democrats may not be wrong after all considering the amount of food we waste and throw away in this country and the money we spend daily on our pets. If we consider the fact that illegal immigrants are human beings, then the liberal democrats are making a sense and a big sense indeed. If we can spend so much money on our pets and use same money to buy food and either waste them or throw them away, then all of us need to join this campaign to give a second chance to these people. They are humans like us, though less fortunate due to their place of origin and present status.

My case is very concrete and makes more sense if there is any iota of truth in the fact that every authority comes from God. God is an instrument of good government and if God is indeed an instrument of good government, then the poor and the marginalised are on the side of God as the bible stated and that is where every authority on earth including that of the United Kingdom should be. The UK government is not unaware of this hence its motto ‘God and my right’ which reflects the fact that this kingdom does not only know but is ever conscience of the fact that there is God. This is a very strong statement which suggests that the foundation of the government of the United Kingdom is built upon awareness of the fact that there is something like universal fatherhood of God, brotherhood of mankind, justice, human rights, compassion, sympathy, consideration, selflessness, fellow feeling, egalitarianism, mercy and the opportunity for individual pursuit of happiness.

It is widely held that the main obstacle towards this proposed amnesty comes from the Lords and the Commons. If that is true then the events of last year should have taught all of us that nobody is above mistake or beyond getting their ends by all means. I am talking in particular of the recent scandal relating to the MPs expenses. The fact is that the MPs are not telling the voters the truth. They are brainwashing them into believing that the illegal immigrants are the reason for the woes of this nation. They are not. Almost all of them work and pay their taxes and the only thing they miss is inability to travel home and that is not a big deal for them so far money is remitted to their families at intervals. Also the emergence of twitter, facebook, mySpace, bebo, linkedin and mobile phones has made it very simple and easy for them to be in constant contact with their family thereby obviating the need for travelling which is denied them by their status. Therefore the case for amnesty is meaningful and worthwhile. Illegal immigrants in the past may have had it very hard but with the present ones, the case is a different thing altogether. The globalisation and emergence of social networks and internet technology including the ubiquitous camera and webcam and low cost international calls especially the Skype and the likes makes their travelling less important.

When I think of the plight of the illegal immigrants, I find it absolutely difficult to comprehend that people are still living like dogs in the west despite all the noise about human rights and civilisation. My feeling is as a result of what I see in the South East of London on daily basis. This place boasts of thousands of illegal immigrants and I know of a particular family with 6 children in one bedroom room apartment and by their status of being illegal they are forced to bring up their children underground in that one bedroom apartment; a breeding ground for angry young people. Children brought up in that type of environment are more likely to grow up to become angry young men and women and the society would surely be forced to bear the consequences. Ever thought of the reason for the high rate of crime in the south east of London? That could be partly a reason for that!

Once again, normalising these illegal immigrants would never cost heaven in this country. The United Kingdom has got enough to feed our need but never our greed. In fact the amount of food we waste in this country on daily basis if saved would enough to offset the cost of whatever would be the financial consequences of the amnesty exercise. Also looking at the cost of the ongoing immoral and illegal war and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, then you would agree with me that amnesty is long overdue. How can reasonable people support the wars and oppose fiercely the giving of life and second chance to their fellow humans? Something must be wrong somewhere and God and the angels must be turning with anger in heaven!

Amnesty is long overdue. In fact so long overdue and we are all well aware of that. Sending these illegal immigrants home would never solve the problem. It would create more than it would solve. The solution to this perennial question lies in tackling the corruption in their home country which leads to situations like this. Corruption and not even the quest for better life is the push factor in illegal immigration. Think of Nigeria with enough oil to feed the need of the whole world and yet is still poor because of corruption and bad leadership. These corrupt leaders are bent on avariciously looting the commonwealth and thereby impoverishing millions of their people. These poor and the wretched of the earth are the people who end up coming here by all means to end up as illegal immigrants. They prefer staying here washing plates, cleaning floors and doing all sorts of menial job to staying hopelessly in their country with the heartbreaking reality that their contributions towards the development of their nation is being looted by few unscrupulous individuals.

These people are going through a lot and history may not after all be very harsh on them. The natural instinct to survive is the reason they are taking numerous risks to come to the west and do even the menial jobs to survive even with their university degrees. Therefore sending them home or building a very huge wall across the whole of United Kingdom would never solve the problem. Even if we succeed in building a first class border here, civilised British people would tear it down for no sane person would ever feel comfortable when his brothers and sisters are suffering. There is still something like circle of life and ubuntu. Think of the state of Israel on one side and the big wall they are building to protect themselves from the Palestinians and yet the problem unfortunately is still there. The meaning is that 24-hour vigilance over the UK borders would certainly not solve the problem. Common sense and being more realistic would and that obviously involves fighting corruption everywhere including Africa with special emphasis on Nigeria. What happens in Nigeria is miserable!

African leaders are senselessly corrupt and we should join hands together to fight them. They are thieves and cheats and they are the reason these illegal immigrants are running to this place for succour. We therefore cannot turn them away for we also contributed to their plight. Their leaders refuse to develop their educational sector and yet send their own kids here to receive the best education. They refuse to develop their healthcare and yet send their own families here to receive the best healthcare. This is evil and should never be encouraged. The west must find a way to stop this. I would suggest an embargo on African leaders and their elected officials from sending their families here to receive western education and healthcare whilst in the office. Their children should stay in their country and be part of the mess their fathers put their nation in. The fathers have eaten the sour grape and now let their children’s teeth be set on edge! If this is done, the problem of illegal immigration would surely be reduced by half, at least.

At this point she asked if Nigerian problems just like that of other African nations should not be their own problem which they must solve themselves. In my reply I again picked Nigeria as a case study since I come from Nigeria and know more about Nigerian politics than that of other African countries. Nigeria is corrupt and when I say corrupt I mean very corrupt. I think God was fast asleep when the British gave Nigeria independence. If God had been awake that day, He would obviously have resisted any attempt to give independence to Nigeria and to be sincere, the 'baddest' thing the UK did to Nigeria was to give her that independence. It was too premature.

The UK and the west as I pointed out earlier have got a huge role to play in stopping this nonsense. I have some points to prove that. Am sure you know about DFID which stands for Department For International Development. It is an arm of the British Government charged with giving aids to poor countries like ‘Nigeria’. DFID is the equivalent of the United States USAID. Every year DFID dishes out millions in pounds to Nigeria as aid without making any effort to know how that money is being spent. Majority of this amount goes into the pocket of corrupt government officials. DFID give us this aid to help to develop our local healthcare, education and poverty alleviation but because DFID does not have a mechanism to check how this money is being spent, they end up being diverted into private pockets. This is the reason why aid is the worst the west can do for Africa at the moment and I mean it! Trade is better off compared to aid. If it must be aid then give it directly to the people.

For instance instead of giving 1 Million pounds to the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide books for the Federal Polytechnic at Oko, Nigeria, DFID may think of using that money to buy the books from the Waterstones here in London and ship it directly to the Federal Polytechnic at Oko. This way we are using one stone to kill two birds. First it will completely obviate the need to give cash to these corrupt government officials and secondly we would be definitely sure that the aid gets to the intended recipients. This model could also be replicated in other areas including healthcare, provision of potable water, Scholarship, rural development and many others.

Besides, our government has completely messed up our educational and health care sector and they are not even bothered because they could easily send their own family to the west for western education and healthcare. What the west and the UK government can do here is to place a ban on any of these government officials from sending their family here to receive either medical care or western education so far they are still in the office. They should be forced to use the money to develop our local education and healthcare system. We have both the money and the personnel. Nigerian health workers are performing wonders in the west. What we need is to lure them back home with juicy working incentives and packages. This is definitely going to work and I am very much convinced of that. The only thing required is for somebody to make the first step. However that first step could be very difficult but the fruit is going to be unquantifiable including a sharp reduction in illegal immigration.

In addition most of these corrupt government officials have assets worth millions of pounds here. The UK government should demand to know how much they earn as salary in Nigeria and then figure out how it could be possible for them to earn such amount of money to have those assets in the United Kingdom. The Government of the United Kingdom has a moral obligation towards Nigerian masses and to the mankind and therefore should as a matter of urgency seize those assets and use the money for the betterment of those people living in the place it was stolen from.

In addition there is an urgent need to ban these people who are violating human rights in their own country from coming to the UK at all. If they do not want human rights for their people, they should not come to the UK to enjoy human rights. In Nigeria, there is currently a bill in the House of Assembly seeking to imprison homosexuals for 5 years. Its counterpart in Uganda is seeking for death penalty for them. What the United Kingdom can do here would be to formally warn Nigeria and Uganda of the implication of such a bill on human rights of the homosexuals. If they go ahead to pass it into law the UK should then come in with travel ban on the people behind the law on the understanding that they cannot come to the UK , a ‘country of homosexuals’ to enjoy life while at the same time refuse to respect that of homosexuals in their own country. If they do not like the idea of homosexuality, then they should as well not think of coming to a country that recognises them by law. If this is done, then there would be no need of any homosexual coming to the United Kingdom to seek for asylum or to live illegally. This point is very vital since respect, tolerance and accommodation as well as commonsense and justice are an integral part of democracy.

These approaches would obviously go a long way towards ameliorating the problem of illegal immigration because by the time these corrupt governments see that looting of public fund is no more appetising they would be forced to invest the stolen funds in their own country for the betterment of their own people or better still would not steal at all knowing that the UK and the west would definitely always seize them. I do not have a doubt these measures would work and I hope that somebody should table it before the Commons one day.

2 comments:

  1. The BNP are far-left nationalist socialists, UKIP are centre right social conservatives.

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  2. wonkotsane...Please permit me to disagree with you on the assertion that BNP is a leftist and UKIP rightist. In fact in my personal opinion, ,I do not have a doubt that both are rightist bearing in mind that both are nationalist and have nationalist agenda including returning the United Kingdom to the status quo ante before the present surge in migration. Both therefore cannot be leftist since the leftist are associated much more with what may be termed more liberal values, the role of society, and the community as a whole. Law and order policies tend to be more relaxed, taxation is increased by large amounts as they look to create a safety net and look after the poorer members of society through a more robust healthcare system etc. The rightist on the other hand are generally used to describe support for preserving traditional social orders with a view favoring a more stratified society.

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