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Facts that expose immigration lies

Immigration has become a key issue in the general election – Socialist Worker gives you the arguments you need to take apart the right wing consensus

Issue No. 2199

Immigration has brought many benefits to British society—including multi-racial integration
  (Pic:» Jess Hurd/ )

Immigration has brought many benefits to British society—including multi-racial integration (Pic: » Jess Hurd/

Immigration does not cause unemployment

Saying that employment levels and low wages are the result of immigration is to look at the situation the wrong way round.

It’s capitalism’s booms and slumps that cause unemployment.

The economic crash is responsible for the fact that there are a million more people unemployed in Britain today than there were in 2008.

There is a correlation between unemployment and immigration, though it is ignored by the tabloid papers and the politicians.

When unemployment in Britain was high in 1992 more people left the country than came here.

Then, as unemployment began to fall, a few more people were encouraged to come to Britain. But as unemployment rose the level of migration dropped off.

Migrant workers tend to leave countries if there are no jobs. Many reports into immigration patterns show that they make a significant contribution to economies and communities.

They also show that migration has no significant impact on employment rates. Several have shown that migrant workers have a positive effect on wage levels.

The housing crisis is not the fault of migrants

There is a huge shortage of decent housing in Britain. In some parts of the country people are expected to wait for over 20 years for a council house.

The BNP, and some of the main parties, want to use this crisis to attack immigrants—claiming that housing is being given to immigrants and not “British” people.

But the shortage of council housing is due to the fact that there hasn’t been a serious house-building programme since the 1970s.

Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government allowed council housing to be sold off to private landlords and individuals under the “right to buy scheme”.

This housing stock was never replaced and demand has grown. In 2008, 375 new council houses were built—down from 74,000 in 1980.

We need a serious building programme to cut the waiting lists. There are also around 750,000 empty houses in Britain, which should be brought back into use.

It’s cuts, not migrants, that are a threat to public services

David Cameron says that migrants are putting a strain on resources and cutting public services’ ability to effectively help people.

This is the same man who is championing tens of billions of pounds worth of cuts to services. Labour and the Liberal Democrats also support cuts.

It is these cuts that threaten the quality of the services we get.

Britain is not full up

The new “scary” statistic is that Britain’s population is going to reach 70 million within the next five years. Britain has had a slow rise in comparison to other developed countries.

Between 1971 and 2004, Britain’s population grew by 7 percent. In the same period the US grew by 42 percent, China by 52 percent and the population of India doubled.

There is not a fixed cake of wealth where less will go to people already resident if new people arrive.

It is people working and using their skills that create the wealth.

Many of those who go on about the costs of immigration also say the country cannot afford to give people decent pensions because there aren’t going to be enough people of working age around.

Migrants, who come here to work, can help produce the wealth and services for us all to have a decent standard of living.

Migrants are an asset—not a drain

Migrant workers contribute a huge amount to British society and the economy. Many of the lowest paid do vital jobs.

For instance, the NHS would collapse without nurses and doctors from overseas. A quarter of Britain’s nurses—and half of London’s—were born abroad.

The main parties are helping to legitimise racism with their attacks on immigration

Mainstream political parties cannot stop talking about immigration—helping open the door to the fascists of the British National Party (BNP).

At times of economic crisis politicians want to divert blame onto anyone other than themselves and their system.

The attacks on immigration are legitimising the arguments of the BNP not defeating them.

Being “tough” on immigration helps to give rise to racism and the idea that “outsiders” are a problem.

Immigration is not new to Britain

Fifty thousand years ago no one lived in Britain, but over the centuries it became a hub for people from all over the world.

Immigration has made Britain the country it is today. For example, Irish immigrants built the infrastructure for the Industrial Revolution—suffering racism and poverty.

Other waves of immigrants, including those from the Caribbean, Asia and eastern Europe, have made similar positive impacts to Britain’s economy and culture.

Racism is used to divide us

Racism is the enemy of working class solidarity. When times are hard, racist myths which pit ordinary people against each other increase.

This can lead to attacks on black and Asian people, and weaken our ability to fight back together.

If people believe that immigrants are to blame for the problems in society, it lets the real perpetrators off the hook.

We have to fight collectively for better conditions at work and in society.

It is difficult to do this if people think that the boss or the politician is “on the same side” as the workers because he or she is white.

The economic crisis was the fault of the bankers and governments—not migrants. It is the system that is to blame for making our lives harder.

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Tue 27 Apr 2010, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2199
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