Saturday, January 1, 2011

Irish emigrants means Britain will not reach its immigration target

Immigration to Britain in “unlikely” to significantly fall next year due to the turbulent state of the Eurozone, a leading think-tank has warned. Over 100,000 Irish people are expected to leave Ireland over the next 12 months and many of these are likely to travel to Britain considering the level of proximity and lack of a language barrier. The influx of Irish citizens will have an impact on Britain’s target to lower migration.

Proposals to impose a cap and gradually bring down migration levels will fail as there are few restrictions on workers coming from the EU.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has warned that net migration is unlikely to fall below 200,000 in the coming year. This contradicts the Government’s pledge to restrict immigration from “hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands”.

Since the beginning of 2007 workers from the newest EU member countries such as Bulgaria and Romania have largely needed to apply for work permits in order to work in the UK. However that restriction is due to be lifted in December 2011, which means that thousands more could be tempted to emigrate.

Britain could see migration increase further if citizens from other economically challenged countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece choose to relocate to Britain. In contrast fewer Britons are currently moving abroad, as they weakness of the pound has made it difficult for many to leave.

With the influx of those coming from European countries, the Home Secretary Theresa May has imposed a cap on non-EU economic migrants. From April, no more than 21,700 will be permitted to work and live in Britain.

However Nick Pearse, the Director of the The Institute for Public Policy Research, said this would not have a great effect on the overall migration levels. “The cap on skilled migration from outside the EU, which the Government has already put in place, could hurt the economic recovery. Other hasty measures to reduce numbers artificially would be even more damaging.”

“Bringing down the level of immigration, which has been high in recent years, is a legitimate policy goal. But this should be done by making long-term and sustainable reforms to the structure of our economy and labour market,” he added.


NY governor Paterson and Federal Officials Reach Pact on Immigration

Gov. David A. Paterson, seeking to assuage critics of a new government program to strengthen immigration enforcement, said Thursday that he had negotiated a pact with federal officials to help protect illegal immigrants in New York without criminal records.

But the pact is unlikely to mollify the program’s opponents. It does little more than reiterate the long-stated position of the Department of Homeland Security, which has said it intends to use the program primarily to detain and deport immigrants who are considered a threat to public safety and national security.

Under the enforcement program, called Secure Communities, fingerprints collected by local police departments are automatically shared with federal immigration officials. Mr. Paterson signed an agreement in May to cooperate with the program, which is going into effect state by state and is scheduled to start in New York by 2013.

In recent months, critics of the plan, including immigrant advocates and some elected officials, have urged the governor to withdraw from the program, saying it would mostly ensnare illegal immigrants with low-level convictions or no criminal history at all.

The pact, which Mr. Paterson signed this week, added language explaining the enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security and clarifying that the agency will focus on deportable immigrants considered a threat to public safety and national security, as well as those who have been convicted of crimes or have illegally re-entered the United States after being deported.

“This new agreement balances the homeland security and civil liberties issues that have surrounded the Secure Communities initiative,” Mr. Paterson said in a statement.

Homeland Security officials said the agreement, however, did not alter the mechanisms of the Secure Communities program or hinder putting it into effect. It also does not preclude immigration officials from detaining and deporting immigrants without criminal histories.

Under the program, the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail will be sent to the Homeland Security Department and compared with prints in the agency’s databases. If officials discover that a suspect is in the country illegally, or is a noncitizen with a criminal record, they may seek to deport him.

Federal officials said a state could refuse to cooperate, but it would lose access to criminal databases of other states and the federal government, hampering crime-fighting efforts. In his statement, Mr. Paterson said, “It is appropriate and important for New York State to share information with the federal government that could protect us from terrorist attacks.”

But some reacted to the new agreement with skepticism. “My sense is that the governor caved to federal officials, and that’s unfortunate,” said Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan’s borough president and one of more than 40 elected officials who signed a letter last week urging Mr. Paterson to block the program in New York State.

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said the governor had lost an opportunity to curb immigration officials from “ramping up deportations of immigrants who are only the victims of our dysfunctional immigration system.”


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