UK-aiming migrants forfeit right to refugee status

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Carolyn Taylor and Angela Innes, in their responses to my letter and that of Benedict Bate, are critical of our attitude to immigrants and “refugees” (Letters, 22 June).

Numerous “refugees” are travelling through Europe to reach Britain whereas they should be claiming “safe haven” in the first European country they set foot in. By not doing so they should forfeit the right to refugee status. Other countries are now experiencing a political backlash since there is only so much saturation that the electorate will endure, as is evidenced by countries refusing to take a proportion of refugees as the European Union decreed.

Would refugees ever get jobs or would it be a lifetime of benefits? Terrorists and foreign criminals could infiltrate. I repeat my previous comment that our health service, welfare, housing, education and infrastructure are already under inordinate pressure, so where will the money come from for the hundreds of thousands of “refugees”?

Recently, one “refugee” from Somalia was interviewed in Calais and asked why he wanted to get to Britain and he said: “I will get a house and money and will never need to work.”

Clark Cross

Springfield Road

Linlithgow

In response to Angela Innes and Carolyn Taylor’s well-meaning concern for the plight of their fellow human beings crossing the Mediterranean illegally I would agree with Ms Taylor that we need a sensible discussion. Might I start now:

1) Just because someone wants something, does not mean they should or will get it – if I fly into New York from overseas without the correct documentation, I will not gain entry to the USA and the carrier will be fined. This rule is not being applied to those arriving in Italy.

2) There is a good deal of talk about the countries from which these folk come but little about the countries in which they wish to settle. Since Gillian Duffy spoke with Gordon Brown about immigration in the 2010 election campaign, politicians have finally acknowledged that this country’s infrastructure is stretched.

3) Ms Innes and Taylor suggest they know the motives of those seeking entry to Europe, but I have seen no reliable research into this question. If their lives are so poverty stricken, where do they get the cash from to pay the people smugglers?

No, instead of bickering among ourselves we need to put pressure on those who purport to lead the country – this is a political problem that needs to be addressed by the UK, EU and UN. A short-term solution, quietly mooted, is the establishment of camps in North Africa provisioned by the UN along with EU naval patrols to ensure the people smugglers are not permitted to endanger boatloads by sending them to cross the Med with no food or water. That measure would save lives.

But where is the political will to organise something like that? Who will champion a longer term solution? Once more on this issue, Britons, Europeans and those leaving Africa are being let down badly by our leaders. 

Benedict Bate

South Clerk Street

Edinburgh

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