London Mayor Boris Johnson has come out in favour of amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for over 12 years.
The announcement marks a shift in the hard-line anti-immigration rhetoric that has been prevalent in the Leave campaigns, and which has been held responsible for the rise in the polls in the Out camp over the past few weeks.
And, yes, let us take back control of our borders with a sensible, fair and impartial system. And let me take on this issue absolutely directly. Because I am pro-immigration, my friends. I am the proud descendent of Turkish immigrants. And let me stun you, perhaps, by saying I would go further. I am not only pro-immigration, I’m pro-immigrants, but I am in favour of an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been here for more than 12 years, unable to contribute to this economy, unable to pay taxes, unable to take proper part in society. And I will tell you why: because it is the humane thing to do. It is the economically rational thing do to. And it means taking back control of a system that is at the moment completely out of control.
And if we take back control of our immigration system with an Australian-style points-based system, you will be dealing fairly and justly with every part of the world, and you will be neutralising people in this country and across Europe who wish to play politics with immigration and who are opposed to immigrants. And that is the way forward, to neutralise the extremists by taking back control of our immigration system.
Mr. Johnson’s comments about the “neutralising extremists” are no doubt a sop to those who have tried to malign UKIP supporters as Neo-Nazis following the murder of Jo Cox MP.
UKIP sources have expressed anger at being linked to the incident, and at Mr. Johnson’s allusion to the incident.
UKIP has consistently proposed an “ethical” immigration policy based upon the Australian points-style system.