The Left’s Immigration Hangup

The Byron case highlights the moral bind many on the Left have got themselves in, and how out of touch they are with public opinion.

Owen Jones has written a polemic in The Guardian about the plight of ‘undocumented migrants’ and how they keep the country running with their blood, sweat and tears.

The statement is inaccurate of course, because the workers at Byron were indeed documented, but unfortunately they had got their documentation from criminal gangs rather than the UK authorities. Something the Home Office spotted.

They were, in actual fact, illegal immigrants. These people may indeed help keep the country running, but they also keep residents’ wages low, profits high, tax credit bills higher, and productivity in the doldrums.

What about the millions of people in the country who are suffering because illegal immigrants are suppressing their wages and allowing businesses to get away with minimal investment and training?

This is the Left’s immigration problem writ large. There is a set of people who put the needs of people from outside the UK ahead of those who are currently resident here (including those immigrants with legitimate paperwork). That set then run for national office and wonder why they don’t get elected.

It is because they don’t put the voters as a priority ahead of anybody else.

Anti-immigration sentiment is almost entirely due to the residents of the UK feeling as though they are not being asked if somebody can come into the country.

If you have a house and somebody wanders in without asking, then you generally ask the police to remove them. Because it is your house. Collectively the residents of the UK own the house that is the UK. It is entirely right that we ask the enforcement agencies to remove somebody who wandered in without asking or overstayed their welcome.

I find it entertaining that those proposing open borders, amnesties and the like still have locks on the front doors of their own properties. So really they just want the borders moving so it is other people that are affected, not them.

To deal with employer exploitation, we need a Job Guarantee — a living wage job offer to all residents with decent terms and conditions. That forces businesses to compete for workers against a job with decent pay and conditions, making exploitation near impossible.

But to have that, and to have a wage differential to the rest of the world, you have to have immigration controls. As Ha Joon Chang puts it

“Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80–90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics. So, if you have any residual doubt about the massive role that the government plays in the economy’s free market, then pause to reflect that all our wages are, at root, politically determined.”

Yes the Border Agency is not fit for purpose. Yes the handling of removals is insensitive and needs to be better.

But ultimately a national government has to put its residents at the front of the queue, or it won’t remain the national government.