Immigration

Letter from Australia

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Protests have erupted across Australia at the new Tory government's anti-refugee policies.

On the Sunday before Easter several thousand people took to the streets in cities across Australia to protest against the Tory government's anti-refugee policies. It was the latest of a series of mass protests focused mainly, but not exclusively, on the Abbott government's harsh refugee policies. One feature of the rallies was the prominence in Sydney of 13 different trade unions participating in a "Unions for Refugees" contingent while the secretary of Unions New South Wales was a key speaker on the platform.

Do Migrants lower wages?

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The notion that immigration is putting workers' wages under pressure is widely accepted even among some on the left. Yet this argument is both dangerous and wrong.

In January a much-quoted official study found "nominal wage growth below the rate of price inflation has resulted in real wages falling for the longest sustained period since at least 1964". The figure would have been even more shocking if comparable statistics were available for earlier periods. Many economists agree that British workers are facing the longest fall in their living standards since the 1870s.

New spin on same old story

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Ken Olende demolishes the new arguments put forward by liberal commentators about the "dangers" of immigration, and the intellectual cover they give to right wing ideas over race.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson's programme, The Truth About Immigration, was the latest step in a concerted attempt to redefine the "liberal" agenda on immigration.

Two recent books, Britain's Dream by David Goodhart and Exodus by Paul Collier, try to stake the same ground with more intellectual clout. Both are dreadful and shallow.

Goodhart is director of the Demos think-tank and former editor of Prospect magazine. Collier is an Oxford professor and former advisor to the World Bank. All three deploy similar arguments in favour of controlled immigration.

Immigration: a hostile act

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The government's new bill aims to create a "hostile environment" for illegal migrants. Alan Gibson looks at the measures in the proposed law and how it will target all migrants and serve to stoke up racism.


What is the declared aim of the bill?

To create a "hostile environment for illegal migrants". This will be done by forcing landlords, NHS staff and public servants, and bank staff, to check the immigration status of migrants who are potential tenants, users of NHS services, appliers for a driving licence or a bank account. Other proposed measures include a drastic reduction in rights of appeal and bail, and a denial of the right of appeal prior to deportation.

What will the residential measures mean?

Whipping up hatred

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Alan Gibson looks at the wave of anti-immigrant racism that has been marked by the "Go Home" vans and UK Border Agency raids at London tube stations.

The demand by judge Peter Murphy in August that a Muslim woman transgress her religious beliefs and reveal her face to a packed courtroom is just the latest in a series of Islamophobic outrages - all conditioned by a deepening anti-immigrant onslaught.

UKIP: A breeding ground for racism

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Ukip's success in last month's council elections underlined its move from the margins to a more significant force. Tash Shifrin looks at the roots of its emergence and how we should respond

We have had an ugly month of May, drenched by a double wave of racism. On 3 May the racist Ukip sailed in on a high spring tide, its 25 percent share of the vote in the county council elections making it the new third party in British politics. The party's triumph followed a campaign based on anti-immigrant scaremongering.

No to immigration controls

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Bookmarks are updating and reprinting the pamphlet Immigration: The Myths Spread to Divide Us by Charlie Kimber. Here we reprint an extract:

Many people can see the cruelty and racism of the present immigration system. But they believe there must be some sort of "fair" system of immigration control. We believe that all immigration controls should go. And 100 years ago that would not have seemed unusual. Incredible as it may now seem, Britain had no immigration controls until 1905. People could, and did, move around the world in great numbers. Think of the millions of immigrants who went to the United States in the 19th century.

The Politics of Immigration

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Brian Richardson examines the battle lines being drawn around immigration. We also publish an extract from the updated pamphlet Immigration: The Myths Spread to Divide Us that puts the case for opposition to all immigration controls.

The next general election is still two years away, but the battle lines are already being drawn. In a series of carefully planned announcements, the mainstream parties have all made it crystal clear that immigration will be at the top of the political agenda. The 2015 election looks set to herald the most racist campaign in a long time.

Strike for your rights!

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Jack Farmer spoke to University of London cleaners about how they won the London Living Wage and union recognition by staging an unofficial strike

Cleaners are among the most badly treated and poorly paid workers in London. Many are immigrants from South America and a lack of fluent English often makes it all the more difficult to organise.

This is why the struggle of cleaners, porters and security guards at Senate House - part of the University of London - has been so remarkable. Over a number of years they've built a Unison union branch which includes over 100 outsourced workers, organised noisy public protests and a successful unofficial strike, winning the London Living Wage and union recognition.

UKIP and the crisis of conservatism

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Strong votes for the United Kingdom Indepedence Party (UKIP) in recent by-elections has led to speculation that Britain may have shifted to the right. Jonathan Maunder argues that, although UKIP's vote is concerning, its root cause is a deep seated crisis in the base of the Tory party

The strong votes received by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in three by-elections in late November prompted speculation about the existence of a new right-wing mood in Britain. UKIP won 5.7 percent of the vote in Croydon, 11.8 percent in Middlesbrough and 21.8 percent to come second in Rotherham - the last result being its highest ever election vote. Opinion polling regularly puts UKIP on around 10 percent of the vote.

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