Sunday, June 24, 2012

At last British Labour admits: Talking about immigration ISN'T racist as Miliband says his party was wrong to brand opponents as bigots

Voters who raise concerns about immigration are 'not bigots' and Labour got the issue 'wrong' for years, Ed Miliband will say today.

Unveiling plans for a major U-turn, the Labour leader will say the party became 'disconnected from the concerns of working people' during its 13 years in power.

In office, Labour often tried to silence criticism of its immigration policy by suggesting it was inspired by racism.

Today, Mr Miliband will admit this tactic was wrong, saying: 'Worrying about immigration, talking about immigration, thinking about immigration, does not make (people) bigots. Not in any way. They are anxious about the future.

'Labour, which is more rooted in people's lives than any other party, must listen to those anxieties and speak directly to them in return.'

His words are a thinly-veiled attack on Gordon Brown, who branded Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy a 'bigoted woman' for raising concerns about the impact of immigration during the 2010 election campaign.

Mr Miliband will also distance himself from Mr Brown's pledge to create 'British jobs for British workers'. The policy failed almost immediately when critics said he could not block workers coming here from the European Union.

Mr Miliband, who also attacks the Coalition's immigration cap, will say politicians 'need to be honest about what can be done'.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, last night welcomed the change of heart, but said it needed to be followed by a change of strategy.

Sarah Davies, 32, from Norwich, who lost her cleaning job four months ago, said: 'There are a lot of foreign workers and you are competing against them for even the most basic jobs.

'It means people like me are being left on the scrapheap. I don't want to be a burden on the taxpayer.'

He said: 'Mumbled apologies are not enough. Having caused the mass immigration of recent years, will Labour now pledge to cut back future immigration, and if so how?'

Mr Miliband will suggest that Labour under Tony Blair became 'dazzled by globalisation and too sanguine about its price'.

He suggests the impact of immigration has had a class divide, with the well-off benefiting from cheap labour, while others find their own jobs and incomes are undercut.

'Immigration made things easier for some, but it also makes things harder for others. If you wanted a conservatory built, you were probably better off. If you were working for a company building conservatories, you probably weren't.'

The Labour leader will also outline a string of changes to the party's approach to immigration.

He will acknowledge the party made 'a mistake' in not putting controls on the number of migrants who flocked here from Poland and other Eastern European countries after they joined the EU. Countries joining in future, such as Croatia and Turkey, should face curbs.

Firms with more than 25 per cent of foreign workers on their books should have to notify their local JobCentre, in order to provide an 'early warning system' about potential skills shortages in the economy.

Mr Miliband will also call for a crackdown on employment agencies that boast of exclusively employing foreign workers, saying a change in the law may be needed.

He will say: 'The idea that in core sectors of our economy, industries like construction or agriculture, you can get recruitment agencies who boast all their workers are Polish or denigrate the talents of people living locally is deeply wrong.'

Mr Miliband will also call for better enforcement of minimum wage laws. He will say it is wrong that just seven employers have been prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage when recent studies have suggested that up to 220,000 workers in the care sector alone are not being paid the legal minimum.

The Labour leader will warn that the Government's immigration cap will affect just three per cent of migrants. But he says Labour will 'examine the evidence' on whether the cap works before deciding whether to scrap it.

A Tory spokesman said Labour continued to lack 'credibility' on immigration.


Obama's immigration bombshell is naked lawlessness

By Charles Krauthammer

"With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations [of immigrants brought here illegally as children] through executive order, that's just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed."  -- President Barack Obama, March 28, 2011

Those laws remain on the books. They have not changed. Yet Obama last week suspended these very deportations -- granting infinitely renewable "deferred action" with attendant work permits -- thereby rewriting the law. And doing precisely what he himself admits he is barred from doing.

Obama had tried to change the law. In late 2010, he asked Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which offered a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. Congress refused.

When pressed by Hispanic groups to simply implement the law by executive action, Obama said it would be illegal.

Now he's gone and done it anyway. The election approaches and his margin is slipping. He needs a big Hispanic vote. After all, who will call him on it? A supine press? Congressional Democrats?

With a single Homeland Security Department memo, the immigration laws no longer apply to 800,000 people. By what justification? Prosecutorial discretion, says Janet Napolitano.

This is utter nonsense. Prosecutorial discretion is the application on a case-by-case basis of considerations of extreme and extenuating circumstances. The Napolitano memo is nothing of the sort. This is a fundamental rewriting of the law.

Imagine: A Republican president submits to Congress a bill abolishing the capital gains tax. Congress rejects it. The president then orders the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes and declares anyone refusing to pay them will suffer no fine penalty whatsoever. (Analogy first suggested by law professor John Yoo.)

It would be a scandal. Why? Because unlike, for example, war powers, this is not an area of perpetual executive-legislative territorial contention. Nor is cap-gains, like the judicial status of unlawful enemy combatants, an area where the law is silent or ambiguous. Capital gains is straightforward tax law. Just as Obama's bombshell amnesty-by-fiat is a subversion of straightforward immigration law.

It is shameful that Congressional Democrats should be applauding such a brazen end-run. Of course it's smart politics. But, by Obama's own admission, it is naked lawlessness.

As for policy, I sympathize with the obvious humanitarian motives of the DREAM Act. But two important considerations are overlooked in concentrating exclusively on the DREAM Act poster child, the straight-A valedictorian who rescues kittens from trees.

First, offering potential illegal immigrants the prospect that, if they can successfully hide long enough, their children will one day freely enjoy the bounties of American life creates a huge incentive for yet more illegal immigration.

Second, the case for compassion and fairness is hardly as clear-cut as advertised. What about those who languish for years awaiting legal admission to America? Their scrupulousness about the law could easily cost their children the American future that illegal immigrants will have secured for theirs.

But whatever our honest and honorable disagreements about the policy, what holds us together is a shared allegiance to our constitutional order. That's the fundamental issue here. As Obama himself argued in rejecting the executive action he has now undertaken: "America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the president, am obligated to enforce the law. I don't have a choice about that."

Except, apparently, when violating that solemn obligation serves his re-election needs.


1 comment:

  1. Well, Ed Miliband may have been reported as saying "sorry" for the mass immigration policy of the last Labour Government, but if you read his speech in full (painful, I realise) then you will see that the speech actually makes the case for ongoing mass immigration. Significantly, Miliband only singles out one group for 'criticism' when it comes to immigration: white Europeans from the EU accession states. Why is this? It was interesting to see Miliband's speech come during the same week that Peter Sutherland, Head of the Global Forum on Migration, had the temerity to tell the House of Lords that the homogeneity (or what's left of it) of the nations of Europe should be destroyed using mass immigration. Just what is going on?