Friday, May 20, 2011

Immigration 'boosted the UK population by 1.75m in just eight years'

The number of people from minority backgrounds who live in England and Wales went up by 2.5million in eight years, figures revealed yesterday. Estimates said that 1.75million of the rise came about because of immigration, while 734,000 was the result of rising birthrates. The increases meant the minority population increased by 37 per cent between 2001 and 2009.

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in six of the population is now from an ethnic minority or white non-British background.

In the eight year period studied, the population of white foreigners rose by 550,000 as Eastern Europeans and migrants from Commonwealth countries poured in.

Numbers grew by a further two million with people from black and Asian backgrounds thanks to immigration, rising birthrates, and asylum seeking.

The ONS said its figures, based on immigration counts, census data and birth and death records, had been found to tally with its existing population estimates.

The figures cast new light on the last Labour government’s immigration policies, which added three million to the population between 1997 and last year.

Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch said: ‘This is the legacy of Labour’s mass immigration policy now appearing in the official figures. They have, whether deliberately or not, changed the face of Britain. ‘If immigration continues on anything like this scale, we are heading for a population of 70million in 20 years’ time, absolutely contrary to the frequently expressed wishes of the British people.’

The breakdown showed a rise of just under 553,000 in the white non-British population, of which 514,000 were people who came to England and Wales as migrants.

These were ‘particularly people born elsewhere in Europe’ but there was also a large inflow from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Much of the increase was driven by numbers from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, who arrived after Britain opened its borders when their countries joined the European Union in 2004.

Among black and Asian groups, the Indian population rose by 380,000 to 1.43million and the Pakistani population went up from 728,000 to top one million.

Because of comparatively young age profiles and higher fertility rates than among other groups, Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations were driven up by high numbers of births.

Numbers of black Africans in the population went up by more than 300,000 to reach nearly 800,000. The ONS said one reason for this was high numbers of African asylum seekers. Its report pointed to the effect of ‘international migration, in particular of people from African Commonwealth countries, and from citizens of African countries, notably Zimbabwe, Somalia, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking asylum’.

The fastest-growing ethnic group was of Chinese people, whose population nearly doubled to reach 452,000 in 2009.

The greatest concentration of black and Asian numbers was in London, where in several areas ‘minority’ populations make up a majority. However the share of ethnic minority and white non-British in the capital stayed roughly the same, at about 40 per cent, over the eight years. This is because while large numbers of immigrants arrived, many minority families joined the growing flight to suburban towns in the Home Counties.


Alligators, Moats and Other Such Nonsense

President Obama gave what was billed as an important speech on immigration last week near the border in El Paso, Texas. Unfortunately, it was one of the most demagogic moments in recent presidential history. Nearly everything Obama said was either factually incorrect or deliberately misleading.

Why, 28 months into the Obama presidency, is there now a sudden push to pass "comprehensive" immigration reform? After all, from 2009 to early 2011, Obama had large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. Why hasn't Obama already rammed through his own immigration bill, as he did with health care?

The answer, of course, is that about 70 percent of the American people consistently poll against the president's initiatives on illegal immigration. Obama simply did not want to sign an easily passable bill that would earn him further unpopularity.

But now he has lost the House. A close re-election bid looms. The president is enjoying a sudden bounce in popularity after the capture of Osama bin Laden. He needs to firm up his base of Latino supporters. Presto: time to blame Republicans for his own past unwillingness to get a bill through his Democratic Congress.

Obama's demagoguery seemed to work on the crowd in El Paso. It interrupted the president's speech to answer, "Tear it down," when he mentioned the border fence. The audience booed, and jeered on cue, "They're racist," when he went after Republicans. And it joined Obama, the sudden cheerleader in chief, in chanting, "Yes, we can."

In blaming Republicans, Obama charged that their fears about open borders were groundless since, "The fence is now basically complete." And to emphasize that claim, he mocked his opponents by saying, "Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they'll need alligators in the moat."

That sounds cute. But it is again quite untrue. The fence is most assuredly not "basically" complete. Currently, fewer than 700 miles of the more than 1,900-mile border have any sort of barrier. And less than 5 percent of the border has a secure double-fenced impediment. Even with increased patrols, a recent Government Accountability Office study found that 40 percent of the border is essentially open and unguarded. There are still well over a half-million illegal border crossings per year.

In a fit of projection, the president also accused his opponents of politicking the issue for partisan advantage: "We've seen a lot of blame and a lot of politics and a lot of ugly rhetoric around immigration."

That too was a distortion for at least two reasons. One, during the 2010 midterm election, the president himself urged Latinos to "punish" their political "enemies." That advice sure seemed like "ugly rhetoric."

And in the El Paso speech, the president rallied his listeners to go lobby for his proposals: "So I'm asking you to add your voices to this debate. You can sign up to help at" Whipping up crowds to log onto his website seems just like "the usual Washington games" that Obama deplored in the speech.

The president also deliberately confused legal and illegal immigration in lamenting the inability of highly skilled immigrants to obtain work visas and citizenship opportunities. But polls show wide support for legal immigration based on skill sets, not just on proximity to the border or family ties.

What the president did not dare reveal was that to let in professionals and business people from around the world, based on their skills and earning potential, might also mean to curtail those without education and capital -- in other words, to discourage the millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico who don't speak English or have high school educations, and who often have little means of support but apparent political clout.

Even when the president offered some sensible proposals about illegal aliens paying fines, applying formally for citizenship and learning English, he was still disingenuous. Obama deliberately floated these proposals to his partisan audience without any details of enforcement, since to do so would likely turn off the cheering crowd.

So how exactly would Obama coerce some 11 million illegal aliens into paying a fine, returning to the immigration line to apply legally, or learning English? By threat of deportation or incarceration?

The vast majority of the American public is not racist or "playing politics" in worrying about out-of-control illegal immigration. The enforcement of existing federal immigration law has become a joke. Drug violence in Mexico is destabilizing an entire country and spilling over the border. Jobs are scarce, with unemployment here still at 9 percent. Many billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico leave the American Southwest, often from illegal aliens who rely on American social services to make up the difference.

These are serious issues that deserve more from a president than re-election pandering at the border and bad jokes about alligators and moats.


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