Mercy Muroki: We have an immigration crisis in this country
'Let us scrutinise, criticise, and hold our politicians' feet to the fire for every failure to deliver on an immigration system that works for us, the voters, the taxpayers'
We have an immigration crisis in this country. The number of migrants crossing the English Channel is running at a record high, already around three times the figures for last year.
Open borders and free movement have led to a decade of inaccurate and unreliable data on inflows of EU migrants. For instance, official government figures estimated there to be 3 and a half million EU citizens living in the UK – but when the EU settlement scheme opened, 6 million EU migrants applied, revealing a 2 and a half million black hole of 'hidden' migrants.
And whilst the exact number of illegal immigrants in the UK is not known, for obvious reasons, recent studies estimate there could be anywhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million in Britain today. And this morning, it's been reported in the national papers that Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen tried to 'game the system' by converting to Christianity to avoid deportation.
And the Home Office has said that these christian conversions are 'standard practice' among some Muslim asylum seekers. But whilst these are real and frustrating problems for the British people, I want us to remain level headed about people who migrate to this country.
Foreigner has over time become a dirty word, but the overwhelming majority of foreigners are good people who do everything by the book and who want to make an active contribution to British society.
There are some lazy stereotypes, generalisations, and falsehoods when it comes to foreigners, and in particular non-EU migrants. For example, there are things said about that migrants using and abusing our benefits system or skipping the queue, en masse, many of which are either misleading or patently untrue.There are also myths about health tourism – where migrants come to the UK to use free NHS healthcare – being rife.
But even the government, who have been keen to crack down on health tourism, admit not only that this accounts for 0.3% of the NHS budget but that the majority of health tourism is actually British people who live overseas coming back for treatment, rather than foreigners.
I'll be the first to admit that the way successive governments have handled the issue of immigration and asylum has not only let down the British people, but mass immigration into the country too often feels like its caused more problems than it has solved.
And over the next few days and weeks, you will see an barrage of information talking about immigrants in a negative light, conflating immigrants with asylum seekers, and reviving debates about closing our borders. but when you are faced with that – all I ask is that you remember this: for every murderous, psychopathic foreigner who wishes harm on the people of this nation, there are countless others like me, and my family who love and adore this country, who respect and uphold British values to the core.
So let's have that robust conversation about immigration that is desperately needed, let's not be bullied by liberal metropolitan elites into brushing legitimate concerns under the carpet for the sake of being politically correct. Let us scrutinise, criticise, and hold our politicians' feet to the fire for every failure to deliver on an immigration system that works for us, the voters, the taxpayers.
But above all else, in the chaos we find ourselves in, let's invoke that good old British spirit of common sense, of decency – and let's not get swept into a whirlwind of resentment for foreigners.