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Labour Councils Sack Immigration Control Officers After Pressure from Open Borders Left

Labour
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
VIRGINIA HALE

Labour councils have been removing embedded immigration officers amidst pressure from open borders campaigners, who say officials are putting illegal migrants off accessing taxpayer-funded welfare.

Lewisham is one of a number of local authorities to make the move, reports The Guardian, with Labour mayor Damien Egan having vowed to turn the south-east London borough into one of sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

A report from self-styled migrant rights group Project 17 complained that the presence of Home Office immigration officers was deterring illegal immigrant “families” from seeking taxpayer-funded welfare and services, Egan said removing the officials embedded in the council would serve “to reassure vulnerable migrants that Lewisham will support them”.

“It is now time for Theresa May to scrap her government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy which has done so much to scapegoat and harm migrants, and to give councils the funding they need to support their communities,” he told The Guardian.

A spokesman for the council, whose website periodically brags about its moves to invite “record number[s] of refugees” to the borough, admitted that the officers were sent to Lewisham to ease mounting costs “of millions of pounds in supporting residents with irregular immigration status”.

The officers, who Project 17 slammed for offering voluntary return packages to illegal immigrants as they demanded state handouts, were embedded in nine London boroughs along with a number of local authorities elsewhere in the country, according to a report in the Financial Times last October.

London’s Labour-run Southwark and Haringey councils have now ditched their agreements with the Home Office, as Project 17 urged local authorities across the country to remove embedded immigration officials, who the group blast for having a “chilling effect on families that need to approach the council for support”.

While the government’s so-called hostile environment policies, which consist of requiring checks to individuals’ entitlement to access public services, enjoy the support of a large majority of the population, open borders activists — abetted by an overwhelmingly pro-mass migration mainstream media — have repeatedly succeeded in watering safeguards down with accusations of “racism”.

A report published by Migration Watch in September revealed that the UK’s illegal immigrant population is growing by 70,000 each year — an annual net rise near equivalent in size to the regular British Army.

Noting that the scale of illegal immigration was “considerably worse than the government admits and [that] very little is being done about it”, the migration policy watchdog called on the Home Office to reject pressure from open borders campaigners to dismantle checks on the problem and instead get serious about deporting individuals who have no right to live in the country.

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