Green Manifesto 2010 Immigration
Migration is a fact of life. People have always moved from one country to another, and as a practical matter the ability to control borders without oppressive measures is more limited than most politicians like to pretend. Much of our language, culture and way of life have been enriched by successive new arrivals over two thousand years. It is not just a matter of immigration – over 5 million British Citizens benefit from other countries’ liberal immigration policies by living abroad.
The causes of a person moving to the UK are complex. For the person concerned, there may be escape from persecution and improved economic prospects, but also separation from home, friends and family. For the country of origin, there may be the loss of skilled workers, especially health professionals, but also the receipt of remittances from the immigrant, and many migrants return with improved skills. For the community that receives the immigrant there may be the benefits of getting done jobs that no one in that community wants to or can do, more taxes being paid and the creation of a more cosmopolitan atmosphere. But there may also be costs in terms of unwelcome competition for jobs, pressure on housing and other resources and longer-term pressures on overall population.
In deciding policy on immigration it is important that all these points are considered and balanced against each other. We must accept too our legal and moral obligations to give sanctuary to those fleeing persecution, and the principle of free movement throughout the European Union. Against this background our policy is as follows:
• Where we are limiting numbers, our priority must be to meet our obligations to refugees and those seeking sanctuary, including the increasing numbers of people displaced by environmental change, above the needs of our economy.
• Our immigration policies must be fair and non-discriminatory,respect the integrity of families and be applied promptly and effectively.
• Our international policies should everywhere seek to reduce the economic, political and environmental factors that force people to migrate. Emigration should be a positive choice, not the outcome of desperation. In particular, free movement within the EU is a fact. We should press for EU policies that make all parts of the EU an attractive place to live.
•We reject the use of immigration as a political issue to mask problems such as a lack of high-quality social housing.The proper solution is to provide enough social housing, as we propose elsewhere in this manifesto.
•We should not tolerate the long-term presence of large numbers of people whose immigration status is not defined. Such immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers and others, undermining national terms and conditions of employment. We would open up ways for existing illegal migrants who have been here for three years to become legal. In particular, a legal status must be provided for people who have not succeeded in their claim for humanitarian protection but who cannot be returned to their country of origin due to the political situation there.
•We would review the asylum procedures to ensure that destitution plays no role in the asylum process by allowing those seeking sanctuary to work.
•We would review the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, particularly with regard to issues of access to legal advice, childcare and levels of subsistence allowance.
• Those who have been trafficked should not be subject to summary deportation. They should receive a temporary right to stay and have the same right to apply to remain as others seeking to migrate.
• Those seeking sanctuary should not be detained, and in particular the administrative detention of children is unacceptable and should cease immediately.
Copyright ©, The Green Party, 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ. All rights reserved. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.