The Windrush scandal and the predictable injustice of immigration enforcement

by Chris Bertram on April 26, 2018

In the UK we are living through one of those moments when the public briefly realises that immigration control has significant human consequences and can be bad not just for the stock “illegal immigrants” of tabloid caricature, but for citizens too. The background is that Theresa May, now Prime Minister but then Home Secretary progressively introduced what she called “a really hostile environment” for “illegal immigrants”, a regime continued by her successor, Amber Rudd. This has involved turning ordinary citizens and civil society institutions into border guards so as to deprive people without the proper documentation of the means to live a tolerable existence. So those who cannot prove their right to be in the country, by producing, say, a passport, can lose their job, their home, their bank account and be denied medical services. Well, guess what? Thousands of people, particularly people born overseas as British citizens but legally resident in the UK for decades, lack the documentary proof required. So they have indeed lost jobs, homes and been denied cancer treatment. Others have been subjected to detention in immigration removal centres, some may have been removed or deported from the country, and others have gone abroad and visited relatives only to be refused readmission.

This has not had an even impact on all sectors of the population. It turns out that having a black or a brown skin makes it far more likely that you will be left destitute and without healthcare or that a prospective landlord with be inclined to check your identity and leave you homeless. So much for all citizens being equal before the law. Indeed, so much for the “rule of law”, much promoted by the Conservatives as a “British value” under the Prevent Strategy. The rule of law requires not just that people obey the law (as Tories seem to think) but that it be possible for people to regulate their conduct on the basis of laws that are reasonably knowable and that they are able to assert their rights effectively in the face of state power. This is totally undermined by the fact that those people caught up in the hostile environment are often poor and vulnerable and lack the means effectively to challenge the bureaucrats who have wrecked their lives. The rules people are expected to follow are complex and ever changing and the evidence they are expected to provide is often refused as inadequate by civil servants who hold onto essential documents for years on end and often lose them. To further undermine the ability of citizens and migrants to defend themselves, the UK government removed legal aid for immigration cases. Unable to establish their status to the satisfaction of the Home Office, people have been left in limbo for years.

Though the effects of the hostile environment policy fall unequally on citizens there are now privacy threats to everyone, as the government tries to carve out exemptions to data protection legislation for the purposes of immigration control. This risks not only that they can look at everyone to check that each person is not illegal (in the way that they, or private companies acting at their behest) are now examining every bank account in the UK, but also that you will not be able to challenge inaccurate data that formed the basis of decisions taken about you by goverment.

The UK government has now been forced to apologise to the immediate victims of the “Windrush scandal” and has tried to manage the political fallout by saying that as soon as they saw there was a problem they acted. But this is untrue. The government was warned of the likely consequences of the policy in advance and a steady stream of heartbreaking cases has been emerging for several years. If the government had really been as appalled by the consequences of their own policy as they claim, they would have done something as soon as they knew about those policies instead of waiting until the political and media pressure (for which the Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman deserves great credit) became too great for them. But the most they are “conceding” at present is a bespoke government unit to handle the cases of those who arrived in the UK before 1971 and the promise of unspecified compensation. And nobody has resigned. But unless the hostile environment policy is abandoned it is entirely predictable that others will be unjustly caught up in it. EU citizens, anxious about their status in the UK after Brexit are taking the Windrush scandal as evidence for how the UK government may violate their rights in the future. Among non-EU citizen residents, the many children, often born in the UK or living in the UK since early childhood, who lack British nationality and who cannot afford the literally thousands of pounds needed to regularalize their status, may well be the human beings who trigger the next crisis and the next round of after-the-fact crocodile tears from government.

Much of the discussion in the philosophy of migration centres on whether states have the rights to exclude and whether people have the human right to migrate. But recently an increasing number of normative theorists have started to tackly the issue of whether immigration enforcement can ever be compatible with human rights and the values of liberal states. And if the methods used by states to regulate and enforce migration are impermissible, we then face the question of what migrants may do to resist those measures. Recent work by Alex Sager on bureaucratic discretion and domination, by Stephanie Silverman on detention, by Patti Lenard on deportation and by Jose Jorge Mendoza on human rights and enforcement is the essential reading on enforcement and Javier Hidalgo has produced some compelling work on the ethics of resistance. I try to discuss some of these issues further in the final chapter of my fortcoming book Do States Have the Right to Exclude Immigrants? (out on 25 May in the UK).

{ 91 comments }

1

Alan White 04.26.18 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for this thorough overview Chris (if I may). It’s little comfort to find out that the DACA fear-mongers here in the US–and as arguments concerning Trump’s travel-ban went in the Supreme Court yesterday, maybe even in a majority of that so-called august chamber–have as many ugly twins in the UK. I look forward to your book.

2

L2P 04.26.18 at 3:17 pm

Why aren’t children born in the UK automatically citizens? That seems fundamentally unfair.

3

Raven Onthill 04.26.18 at 4:27 pm

They want to do it here in the USA, too. Ironically, states rights, that deservedly much-derided part of US law, is providing some protection; state and local forces and immigration police are separate and few major cities want to set up a situation where immigrant communities are hostile to local police.

4

Chris Bertram 04.26.18 at 6:42 pm

@L2P, straightforward ius soli was abolished in the UK by the 1981 Nationality Act, but any child born on the territory to at least one British parent or where the parents have settled status gets to be British. Other children can acquire a right to register as British after several years of residence. But the Coalition and then the Conservative government have ratcheted up the fees for registration so that it is prohibitive for poor families and also many families just don’t know what they are supposed to do. Where the children are in the care of local authorities, the local authority often fails to register them (either out of ignorance or from a desire to save money). Also, children are subject to a “good character” test, such that the Home Secretary can just refuse to register them if they’ve been as much as cautioned for some offence. So lots of kids who in theory have the right to have British citizenship end up not having it, with terrible consequences for them.

The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens does fantastic work to remedy some of this:

https://prcbc.wordpress.com/

5

Stephen 04.26.18 at 6:48 pm

Chris: please correct me if I have misunderstood you.

Are you arguing, as I think it seems, that states are never justified in excluding would-be immigrants, and deporting those who arrived illegally? If they aren’t, why not?

This is not relevant to the Windrush-related gross misbehaviour of civil servants, which can probably be explained by this sequence. For a certain sort of bureaucrat (you must have come across them in university administration) the main purpose of human life is to fill in forms. With the Windrush generation, we are often confronted with People Who Have Not Filled In Forms, even if there was no need for them to do so at the time. Evil heretics, disobedient to the prime bureaucratic commandment!

Alternative explanation: US progressive usage has obliterated an important distinction, between illegal immigrants (those who have no legal right to be in the country) and undocumented immigrants (those who have no formal proof that they have such a right). In US cases, the two are much the same, but “undocumented” obscures reality. In the UK, where people who immigrated legally but have currently no documents to prove it are distinct from genuine illegals, heartless civil servants (too often a tautology) might prefer to target easily identified, genuinely undocumented, old-established legal immigrants, rather than go to the trouble and danger of looking for illegals in great cities.

6

Phil 04.26.18 at 6:53 pm

It’s a real problem for liberalism and the rule of law, at least in its nation-state form – how to ensure that people who come into the system from outside, bearing nothing but their humanity, can be bootstrapped into the status of rights-bearing citizen. (Digression into Agamben goes here if required.) Barbara Hudson’s Kantian work on cosmopolitanism was promising in this respect, I think. I’ll look out for your book.

7

L2P 04.26.18 at 7:34 pm

Thanks, Chris I guess I have a new donation target. As an American, it’s odd seeing us on the right side of at least some stuff for a change.

BTW, “children are subject to a “good character” test?” FFS. Children? How can children even HAVE a “good” or “bad” character? I though the whole point of juvenile punishment was that children are still forming their characters. That’s is just appalling.

8

Dipper 04.26.18 at 10:32 pm

Yet again I feel I have to ask what your proposal is on immigration as it is unclear from the post. Is it that absolutely anyone from anywhere can come to the UK, become a citizen,and have immediate access to the full suite of public services? If it is then that’s an opinion that can be discussed, but if it isn’t, then aren’t you inevitably going to end up in our current situation? Aren’t all attempts to restrict citizenship going to end up treating people in a draconian way?

9

MisterMr 04.26.18 at 11:11 pm

The problem is that we have citizen rights, not human rights, so someone who lives in country X without having filled the right forms (either by error, as Stephen above says, or by being actually illegal for substantial reasons) is deprived of rights that we are inclined to see as human rights, such as the right of searching for a job.

I understand that my ideal policy of no borders is not realistic today, but I think that at least at a theorical level we should agree that governments or states should not have the right to control immigration.

10

Matt 04.27.18 at 12:22 am

Here’s a link to most of Stephanie Silverman’s work. (It _might_ require registration, though I’m not sure. Her work is very good, though, so worth it.)

Jose Mendoza’s work is very good, and has done a lot to bring the “crimigration” idea into philosophical discourse, but the basic idea has been under discussion by law professors for many years before. The most important early piece (where the term is coined, I think) is this one by Juliet Stumph. She has lots of other good work on related topics. There is a vast literature on this topic, only some of it good, but Stumph (and Mendoza) are quite good.

I have a paper coming out soon (and soon available on ssrn, though not posted yet) on the rule of law “at the border”, which I’m happy to share with people if they email me. It’s cast in terms of a discussion of Paul Gowder’s excellent recent book, The Rule of Law in the Real World.
(For what it’s worth, I’m significantly less sympathetic to Hidalgo’s work than Chris is. It’s certainly smart, but seems to me to depend essentially on libertarian ideas that I am fundamentally opposed to, and which ought to be rejected by liberals, social democrats, and socialists, but others might have different opinions, of course.)

11

Collin Street 04.27.18 at 12:47 am

Aren’t all attempts to restrict citizenship going to end up treating people in a draconian way?

Well, no.

For example. The UK government destroyed the authoritative records of people’s arrival dates, which matters for certain statuses: people are currently expected to prove their own arrival date from their own paperwork. This is a retrospective change; people today now have to have records that previously they did not have to keep, and thus did not keep. It’s a needlessly-draconian change — draconianness-by-choice — because people obviously don’t have time machines and can’t adjust their past actions to comply with newly-imposed record-keeping requirements.

[there are other problems: no small number of people kept records that were then destroyed, as a result of accident or in some cases malice.]

And so forth.

[“I’m sorry, Collin. I made sweeping statements without checking the context I was making them in, and conflated gross and petty draconianness for rhetorical purposes. I have learned the error of my ways, and shan’t do that again”]

12

J-D 04.27.18 at 1:32 am

I’m not sure exactly what my position is on this subject, and I don’t think I need to have one, but it seems worth suggesting that there is a possibility intermediate between complete abandonment of any government claim to regulate immigration and the existing situation, if that situation is described in general terms as ‘by default, people from outside the country have no right to enter, settle, or remain in this country; the onus is on them to establish a justification for doing so in terms of stipulated criteria, and they can be excluded or deported at any time if they fail to do so’.

The intermediate possibility I am thinking of is, in similarly general terms: ‘by default, anybody from outside the country can enter, settle, or remain in this country, but the government reserves the right to exclude or deport anybody if there is a justification for doing so established in terms of stipulated criteria’.

13

faustusnotes 04.27.18 at 1:52 am

I like how Stephen immediately assumes the Windrush victims didn’t fill out the right forms. In fact they did – they filled in landing cards and those landing cards were destroyed years later by the government. In fact in British life there are no forms you fill in to say you’re a resident living in place x, so if you don’t travel overseas then you can live decades in the UK without leaving a paper trail. These people’s mistake was to assume that their rights were assured as part of the ordinary process of doing ordinary things as UK permanent residents.

Another example of this “failure” to fill in “the right forms” is the EU citizens who are applying for permanent residence and discover that they need to produce documentary evidence that they have lived in the UK for 10 years. Suddenly they discover that their failure to save dry cleaning receipts and utility bills 8 years ago is being held against them in the matter of their residence in the country they call home.

This isn’t a bureaucratic bungle, it’s a deliberate policy to destroy lives.

14

steven t johnson 04.27.18 at 2:56 am

The notion that bureaucrats like to fill out forms because they are just assholes strikes me as BS. It’s popular BS with vicious reactionaries, but that doesn’t make it any smarter. First, anyone with a passing familiarity with the bureaucracy of military and security expenditures must wonder why these rabid nitpickers aren’t doing their thing in those departments. Second, I think much the more sensible explanation for a rigid adherence to paperwork is that it limits claims. That the bureaucrats are doing what they are informally supposed to do, as employees, not because they are just crappy people. Third, when bureaucrats really are putting up obstacles on their own hook, I think one finds that gate-keeping to collect bribes, not anal-retentiveness, is the cause.

15

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 5:10 am

@Matt Not surprised that you like Hidalgo’s work less that I do. He is a libertarian, but I don’t think (for example) that a paper like “Resistance to Unjust Immigration Restrictions” depends essentially on premises that only libertarians accept.

16

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 5:21 am

Unsurprisingly both @Stephen and @Dipper have made an appearance in this thread. Notice that the OP is not about whether states have (in some ideal sense) the right to exclude that they are attached to, but about whether the effective exercise of such a right in the actual world is always going to result in impermissible injustice. @Stephen’s blithe talks about “illegal immigrants” is a sign that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. First, he identifies such people with “those who arrived illegally”. But many of those who arrived in an unauthorized fashion have a valid legal excuse for doing so, namely that they are refugees, a fact that will only be recognized post-entry. (Assuming that is, that their claims are properly assessed by the state, which they may not be). Most people stigmatized as “illegal” did not enter “illegally” but have lapsed into their current status. But many of them will have lapsed blamelessly, as is the case for young people whose parents lacked the money to regularize their status.

17

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 5:26 am

@steventjohnson I agree. Some bureaucrats are assholes, but many are not. Giving bureaucrats lots of discretion gives the assholes more arbitrary power than they should have but permits the non-assholes some sensitivity. Limiting their discretion via over-rigid rules means that the people whose human lives fail to fit the criteria neatly get treated appallingly. A feature of the present scandal is that bureaucrats are being blamed by politicians for carrying out the policies that the politicians devised, which isn’t fair.

18

John Quiggin 04.27.18 at 5:53 am

Thanks for this, Chris. The link to Mendoza was very helpful.

The way in which immigration laws are enforced makes a strong argument against them. Having been on the wrong side of immigration enforcement, even in a small way, has certainly strengthened my support for open borders.

Some questions that occur to me about the routine disregard of any concept of human rights that seems to characterize border control just about everywhere.

Does it reflect the fact that, as with drug prohibition laws, enforcing laws against victimless crimes requires the rejection of presumptions of innocence, violation of protections against arbitrary search and seizure, entrapment, and so on?

Do the hostile attitudes underlying popular support for immigration restrictions spill over into support for brutal enforcement?

To what extent is the severity of immigration restriction correlated with the brutality of enforcement?

19

Neville Morley 04.27.18 at 6:58 am

I’m sure this is dealt with in the scholarship, but one of the things I find very odd, from the perspective of studying citizenship and mobility in classical antiquity, is the idea that states not only have the power to determine who’s allowed on their territory but have a duty to obsess about this, with the implication that only approved persons are really entitled to walk on Our Soil and breathe Our Air, and anyone else is a threat.

Is this a legacy of C20 world wars and ideological struggle, so that any ‘alien’ comes to be seen as a potential ‘enemy alien’? And/or driven by conception that citizens should be privileged in all respects, including being given priority in private transactions like jobs and renting accommodation? An argument that official sanction is necessary to access public services would make some sense, whether or not one agreed with it, but this goes much further in asserting that someone’s mere presence can be illegal, regardless of what they’re doing – hence the familiar claim that migrants are simultaneously taking jobs from People Like Us and lounging about on benefits in free housing paid for by People Like Us, and therefore you shouldn’t employ or rent to someone who hasn’t demonstrated their entitlement to be here.

20

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 7:15 am

@neville … yes, very much connected to the wars in Europe at any rate. John Torpey’s The Invention of the Passport is worth a look.

21

faustusnotes 04.27.18 at 8:09 am

It’s also worth noting that the Windrush case is a specific case of a small number of people coming to the UK in a specific time period with no special objections at the time, nor any significant impact on Britain. Yet Dipper has immediately jumped to “so chris, do you think everyone in the world should be able to move to the UK tomorrow?” This is obviously disingenuous. There is a discussion to be had about how attempts to prevent the latter must inevitably lead to gross injustices like the former, but Dipper isn’t having that conversation because Dipper wants to make sure every discussion of immigration is held in an atmosphere of terror of the brown invasion.

22

casmilus 04.27.18 at 9:00 am

This is finally breaking into the news at the same time that En0ch Powell’s “Rivers Of Blood” speech is being remembered. Which is helpful, as we finally get to see what a forced repatriation policy (of the kind that the Powellite have fantasised about for 50 years) would be like in practice. It turns out to be deeply unpopular. If there was ever a moment when that stuff was attractive to the electorate, it has clearly passed away with Powell. So let’s nail the coffin lid and never speak of him again.

23

casmilus 04.27.18 at 9:36 am

@5

Stephen, if your analysis is correct, it implies that the civilian politicians in charge of the Home Office for the last few years haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping their officials on track.

Which of them do you think should resign first?

24

Sonny Jim 04.27.18 at 10:28 am

Is this a legacy of C20 world wars and ideological struggle, so that any ‘alien’ comes to be seen as a potential ‘enemy alien’?

I think there’s a lot in that. Certainly, the First World War broke out after a couple of decades of relative mobility within Europe—the movement of large numbers of workers and temporary migrants across borders; the seasonal movement of immigrants westwards in order to reach Atlantic ports and take ship to the Americas. Indeed, the scale and degree of freedom of movement within Europe in the years immediately leading up to 1914 was pretty much unprecedented. Jay Winter talks about this in his chapter, “Demography,” in John Horne, ed., A Companion to World War I (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) [pay-walled, sadly].

Happily, though, there’s a good chapter by Marlou Schrover on the Encyclopedia, 1914-1918 which provides a good amount of detail on this:

Every major 19th century political crisis in Europe (1812, 1848, 1866, 1870) was followed by an increase in attempts to control mobility, and the First World War was no different in that respect. […] As government control increased at all levels of society, more restrictions and control were exercised but not only in regards to migration policies. Much like in previous political crises, those laws that were already in place were enforced more strongly, though only few new ones were introduced. The war also made the shortcomings of police surveillance extremely apparent, as officials initially found themselves incapable of even identifying enemy nationals. In this sense, the war was a turning point because the perceived need for migration control as a necessity of growing importance coincided with an amplified possibility to exercise control that exceeded anything that had been possible ever before.

Marlou Schrover, “Migration and Mobility,” 1914-1918 Online (8 October 2014).

25

philip 04.27.18 at 11:05 am

@L2P, as far as I understand thegood character test isn’t really a formal test with criteria to prove the goodness of your character it is an intended loophole for immigration officers or the Home Office to use their discretion to refuse leave if people cannot be refused on any of the other grounds in the immigration rules. I believe it has to be justified in terms of either national security or being conducive to the public good.

Sometimes the use of this makes sense like this. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/vbpw8y/border-control-enthusiast-banned-from-crossing-uk-border

Other times it is ridiculously punitive like this https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/29/girl-with-autism-at-risk-of-deportation-over-accountancy-errors. And as you say using it against children is especially repulsive.

26

Matt 04.27.18 at 12:25 pm

Chris, I hope you’ll not be too surprised that I disagree with you at 15, in that the “resistance” arguments in Hildago (and those in your book) depend on the substantive arguments for free movement behind them. If those don’t work, then most of the “resistance” arguments also don’t work (or at least they have to be massively scaled back.) But, I don’t think the underlying arguments are any good, so I’m not moved by the higher level ones. Beyond that, of course, is more than can be done in blog comments.

(I might also add that I agree with faustusnotes’ reply to Dipper [and appreciate the on-going garbage cleanup on his(?) part], but think the converse applies, too – a bad application of a bad policy doesn’t imply more than that better policies and applications should be put in place. The further inference suggested here is a non sequitur, though one that’s common, in both this form and the form suggested by Dipper, in discussions of immigration.)

27

Nick Barnes 04.27.18 at 12:56 pm

Clearly, if a state wants to deprive somebody of their livelihood, their home, etc, then the burden should be on the state to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that they are not entitled to that livelihood, etc. Thus, the Home Office should have to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that Joe Bloggs did not arrive on the Empire Windrush (or similarly before 1971).
It’s one thing (a terrible thing) for the Government to impose absurd and inhuman new requirements for citizenship. It’s quite another (and IMO considerably more terrible) to require people to demonstrate in some arbitrary way that they meet those requirements.
In the current situation, the Government kidnaps people off the streets, requires them to jump through arbitrary hoops of the Government’s own devising, and deports them (/denies them healthcare/home/work/education) if they fail. It’s hard to exaggerate or express how unjust it is.

28

lbc 04.27.18 at 12:56 pm

It is a day of shame for Brexitland when incompetent idiots try to please far right nutcases.

29

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 1:22 pm

@Matt, well all we need to get the resistance argument started is a claim to the effect that some people have rights to cross that are unjustly being impeded by border guards. That’s a very minimal claim.

Of course you are right that a bad application of a bad policy only implies that we should devise a better policy. But then we can worry about cases where any policy that is practically effective would (in the actual world) necessarily require some prima facie impermissible actions. At that point you have to bite the bullet (either way) by deciding either not to try to do the thing or that the means are permissible after all.

30

Jon DeVore 04.27.18 at 4:22 pm

Not that the UK stands alone when it comes to bureaucracy, because we have plenty here in the US, but having assisted an adult child in obtaining a UK student visa gave us a tiny taste of what people in the UK face. The lengthy and opaque “guidance,” which was revised at least four times in four months, the inflexibility, and the degree to which the academic institution was under the thumb of the Home Office was extraordinary.

It was off-putting, and as my child committed the sin of graduating from her US undergraduate institution at an unusual time of year, it would up costing us about a thousand dollars for expedited visa service. I believe I had a checklist that contained something like 27 items to be sure not to mess up. We made countless references to the film “Brazil.”

And what was at stake for us was an incredible opportunity for one of our kids at a prestigious institution, not our entire existence. Yeah, I am totally open to at least considering whether such systems are compatible with human rights and democracy.

31

bianca steele 04.27.18 at 4:38 pm

The repeated mention of “the government” in the OP makes me wonder if this is a case where a parliamentary system is a net negative. The lack of initiative available to the minority party in the UK, and the lesser ability of members of the majority to break with party discipline and vote for a minority bill, might be holding back efforts to address the problem.

Nick B. @ 27 is right about the change in requirements. It seems similar to sudden recent requests in some US states that voters must present driver’s licenses.

32

Fergus 04.27.18 at 5:03 pm

Chandran Kukathas has also been talking a lot about the liberty consequences of immigration enforcement, in his own unusual way. I think his next book is called ‘Immigration and Freedom’ and is mainly on the topic. Though so far it’s showed no sign of being released on schedule, so who knows when it’ll actually arrive!

33

Dipper 04.27.18 at 5:37 pm

@ Chris Bertram – 16 “Unsurprisingly both @Stephen and @Dipper have made an appearance in this thread. “. Well, this is a site where blogposts have comments, and you have posted about UK politics. I am a UK citizen interested in politics, so here I am.

Firstly, no-one, and I mean absolutely no-one, is on the other side of the Windrush argument. Everyone agrees this is a Grade A cock-up. The best that can be said is that the checks and balances which include parliamentary debate appear to have worked and as far as we know anything there appears to have been no-one deported and the government has promised to fully recompense anyone affected.

My understanding of the history of immigration controls is roughly this. Pre 1997 there was little net migration, hence no need to check entitlement for access to public services; in effect, checking was done at the border, and if you got on the island you could have access to whatever you needed. This changed around 1997 and then again in 2004 with FOM when inward migration increased significantly. The increase in immigration is significant (projected population increase of 25% in 40 years) and has a significant effect on public services (e.g. over a quarter of births to foreign-born mothers in 2016 ). As the UK was unable to prevent mass immigration from Europe at the border, the control point for public services was inevitably moved to the point where these services are accessed, hence the massive growth of bureaucracy. This is pretty much how the rest of the EU operates where they control access by having insurance-based health-care systems and ID cards. Given the imperfect nature of bureaucracies and the huge benefits that accrue to people from poorer countries if they can successfully game the system then we see large numbers of complaints and issues. Much as I dislike ID cards I believe it is time we adopted them to avoid precisely this kind of fiasco.

Piling in on the side of the complainants, which the left in the UK are doing, seems at first sight to be free pickings. They get lots of positive noises with no down-side. However, I think the left needs to be careful. Most people in the UK are sensitive about people coming from overseas to access public services they haven’t paid for, and are highly suspicious that Labour is simply going to allow a free-for-all for anyone who can get here with consequent degradation of services for UK tax payers.

What is missing from left-wing criticism of the current state of immigration such as this, is any idea how a Labour government would address these issues. The overall policy appears to be that we should have restrictive immigration laws and then not enforce them. This is clearly nuts. Take for instance people who arrive on temporary visas and then massively overstay. Whenever a case arises where someone has been here for ten years, or has had a child (as if having a child is some kind of unexpected lottery win not a deliberate act) then there are calls for the person to be allowed to stay. In which case, why not simply make the law on temporary visas that if you overstay a temporary visa you can be thrown out unless you manage to remain undiscovered paying taxes for ten years or have a child? Once framed like that, the problem becomes apparent.

So a little more practical honesty and real proposals from critics would be appreciated, and a little less holier-than-thou grandstanding.

34

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 5:57 pm

I thought about not approving @Dipper’s comment, but I’ll let it stand as a kind of exhibit. If faustusnotes want to do the heavy lifting then that’s fine, but nobody should feel under an obligation.

35

Chris Bertram 04.27.18 at 5:58 pm

@Fergus Yes, I’ve read chunks of CK’s manuscript and it is very impressive.

36

Stephen 04.27.18 at 7:58 pm

CB@16: come off it. Nobody supposes that people who arrived claiming to be refugees were therefore illegal immigrants. But they became so, wouldn’t you agree, if their claim was not found to be valid and they then did not leave.

Wouldn’t you? Actually I doubt it, but I’d like to know. And I’m still waiting, with not much hope, for a straight answer to my initial question.

37

Stephen 04.27.18 at 7:58 pm

Casmillus@23: Dead right, I entirely agree “that the civilian politicians in charge of the Home Office for the last few years haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping their officials on track”. In my opinion, indisputable. And as for which should resign first: both of them, together with some of their senior officials. But do I, or you, expect that?

38

Stephen 04.27.18 at 8:02 pm

CB@16/34: I’m sure you would greatly prefer it if people who don’t agree with some (may I stress, not all) of your basic assumptions never commented on your posts. Comfortable echo chamber, no? But as for the desirability of unrestricted immigration – or the wrongfulness of deporting those who have avoided restrictions – these I take to be your beliefs, and so unless you can answer my original enquiry to the contrary, can I pose one more question?

If your beliefs about immigration are as wise as you seem to think they are, what proportion of your fellow-citizens do you think agree with you? Or does it matter if most of them don’t? From the point of view of your own conscience, maybe not. As a matter of practical politics …

39

faustusnotes 04.28.18 at 12:25 am

Oh Dipper, Dipper, Dipper! So much wrong, so little time. Let’s look at just three ways your last comment is wrong. 1) the history of freedom of movement you give is tits up; 2) your use of the passive voice; 3) another round of silliness about public services.

1) Your borked up history of freedom of movement
Freedom of movement didn’t start in 1997 or 2004, it started when the UK entered the EEC in 1973. Here’s a history of the UK’s freedom of movement policies. Note that the UK had freedom of movement before 1963, and in that time 31% of NHS doctors were from outside the UK. Oh the humanity! If you don’t believe the New Statesman, allow me to remind you of the comedy Auf Wiedersehn, pet! about some northern British workers living in Germany and taking German jobs and benefits back in 1983. Hmmm, I wonder how they did that? We have these migration discussions every couple of months and I consistently have to remind you that your basic story is factually wrong and you consistently ignore it.

Next net migration didn’t “increase significantly” in 2004, the graph you link to shows a simple straight line from 1970 onward, and no statistical test is likely to show that there was any change in 2004. And need I remind you that you linked to a graph of net migration, so it tells us nothing about the impact of the accession of the eastern European states to the EU, since whatever bump you think you’re seeing in 2004 could be due to baby boomers retiring to Spain (we really don’t want to mention Spain though do we?) It’s true that the accession of the eastern European states led to fears of a migration wave, and all EU nations had a choice to implement a 7 year restriction on migration, which Ireland, the UK and Sweden chose not to because they needed the labour. I point you to your fear-mongering about births to foreign-born women in the ONS data. That ONS data also points out that the total fertility rate amongst foreign born women is 2.05, and among UK born women it is 1.75. Without the considerable natal efforts of those Polish chicks, Britain would be below replacement rate. Now aren’t you one of these right wing scaremongers who thinks we’re all doomed if we don’t force our women to pop out babies at a frantic rate? I suggest you go and thank your Polish neighbour for her sterling efforts to keep your welfare system afloat.

2) The passive voice
You say that enforcement of migration laws “was inevitably moved” from the border to institutions, as if the process of checking migration status is some natural law that just happened to shift after the Tories took power. The correct language you should have used here was “the Tories moved” the enforcement to institutions, “in response to” pressure from people like you. People like you who, clearly, do not understand a single shred of a thing that is actually happening in migration.

I live as a foreigner in a country that sometimes seems hostile to foreigners. e.g. right now I’m looking for a house and yesterday I got an email from a real estate agent telling me “I have confirmed that it’s okay for foreigners to look at this house.” Very blatant! When laws that affect me change I don’t think “oh, the law was changed”, I think “oh, that person responsible for that law changed it.” When my ID card changed from an “Alien registration” card to a “foreigner registration” card and then to a “residence card” I didn’t see this as some kind of natural law, I saw it as the deliberate act of politicians responding to public pressure to improve their language and then to regularize treatment of foreigners. You should try the active voice, it might help you to understand politics.

3) Your ongoing deceptions about welfare
First of all let’s make clear: The NHS is funded from general taxation, not from an insurance based system, so as soon as anyone moves to the UK if they pay taxes they are “contributing” to it. Secondly, in almost every other “insurance-based” system (as you describe it) in Europe, as soon as someone starts paying into the insurance pool they’re eligible for the service. This is how insurance works, typically. So there is no situation where anyone who moves in Europe is taking public services without paying into them. Secondly, those foreign-born women you’re scare-mongering about are almost certainly delivering their grotesque foreign babies into the hands of foreign-born midwives, and there’s a non-negligible chance that it’s a foreign-born obstetrician overseeing the process. If the obstetrician and midwife aren’t foreign born there’s a good chance they’re the descendants of a Commonwealth citizen who moved here in the 1960s or 1970s, and set up as a doctor. Your entire economy and much of your health service is now completely dependent on foreign-born labour or the descendants of foreign born labour. I keep making this point on these threads and you keep ignoring it: Once those foreign-born nurses go back to the EU and aren’t replaced, you’re fucked. I don’t know how to put it more clearly than that: fucked. Your country has decided to exit the EU and kick out its foreign doctors at just the time that all your local doctors are about to retire. The same with your local-born nurses, who are actually not all young white girls in short dresses as you probably like to imagine in your post-brexit fever dreams, but middle-aged women working under intense pressure with strong incentives for early retirement. I don’t know how many times I have to say this before it gets through your skull but your entire health system and a huge part of your social care system is built on foreign labour, and you just chose to send them all packing at a time when your native staff are retiring and your medical education system has been gutted. Far from sponging on your (incredibly stingey and underfunded) public services, these foreigners are keeping them afloat.

Stephen, you say Nobody supposes that people who arrived claiming to be refugees were therefore illegal immigrants. This is again completely disingenuous by you. The main hate newspapers in the UK (Daily Mail etc) are constantly conflating these things. Here’s an example, the first hit on a google search, which claims the man in question “arrived illegally on a boat”, something which is impossible if he is a refugee.

Seriously Dipper and Stephen, do you bother to do any research at all before you comment here?

40

Barry 04.28.18 at 1:34 am

Stephen 04.26.18 at 6:48 pm

There’s a term ‘JAQ-ing’: ‘Just Asking Questions’. I believe it was invented to cover Bell Curvists who were trying to worm their way in.

41

marku52 04.28.18 at 2:02 am

CB @24.

What did dipper propose that you found ridiculous? Are you really proposing no borders?

How does that work? Explain please. It looks like the ideal way to get a radical right wing government into power. There is only a certain amount of change/disruption that people will tolerate.

Unless you are assuming a better grade of humans.

42

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 3:41 am

Seriously Dipper and Stephen, do you bother to do any research at all before you comment here?

They can’t research, FN. You are making unreasonable demands of significantly-disabled people. Research is a subset of learning, and learning is mostly recognising your own mistakes, and the pair of them cannot recognise their mistakes. Someone who’s faking it wouldn’t be able to keep cover this long.

43

Chris Bertram 04.28.18 at 6:13 am

Yes. I’m perfectly willing to debate with people who reject my normative assumptions (such as, often @matt ). I’m also willing to debate with people who are simply misinformed and to correct them. I’m not willing to waste my time on people who recycle the same Migration Watch/Daily Mail talking points over and over again on every post here about migration and whose reaction to any post on the subject is to ask, rhetorically, “so, you’d just let them all in then?”

44

Dipper 04.28.18 at 6:19 am

Oh faustusnotes, faustusnotes, faustusnotes! so much irrelevant tosh and so little time. To take just one point; “your entire health system and a huge part of your social care system is built on foreign labour,”.

This has historically been Government and BMA Policy e.g. in 2008 “Delegates at the annual BMA conference voted by a narrow majority to restrict the number of places at medical schools to avoid “overproduction of doctors with limited career opportunities.” They also agreed on a complete ban on opening new medical schools.here. To say, as so many Remainers like to do that British people “didn’t want” these jobs when they were keen to be trained but were denied opportunities and the government were preferentially recruiting from abroad explains why so many people voted for Brexit, and guess what “Five new medical schools will open in England over the next three years, as part of the government’s plan to increase the number of medical students by 25% and make the UK “self-sufficient in doctors” by 2025.” so there we have it. Your arguments are just hackneyed abuse of British people for being lazy, and are just demonstrably wrong.

Are you arguing the UK should adopt a European model of ID cards and access to health services through a state-insurance scheme? Because I’d completely agree with you, as would many other “right-wing” people, but the UK Labour Party doesn’t.

Your description of the way Japan handles your status in Japan pretty much matches my expectation of what a UK Government should do. It has policies, implements them, and people know where they stand. But again, this isn’t Labour Party Policy or for that matter Conservative Party Policy, and the Windrush Fiasco is a direct consequence of not having such policies in place.

It doesn’t seem a lot to ask of people criticising the gorvernment for its handling of immigration that they should actually state their preferred policy, but they never do. So, yet again CTers, what would your preferred policies on immigration be, and what would you do with people who are found to be here in contravention of those policies?

45

philip 04.28.18 at 7:38 am

@Dipper, I didn’t read your last post beyond this sentence ‘ Everyone agrees this is a Grade A cock-up.’ No, some people think it was an entirely predictable result of a deliberate policy and something is only being done now because of the media furore. See also Amber Rudd’s claims about not knowing about targets for deportations as another attempt to conflate deliberate policy with bugs in the system.

@Stephen: ‘Nobody supposes that people who arrived claiming to be refugees were therefore illegal immigrants. But they became so, wouldn’t you agree, if their claim was not found to be valid and they then did not leave.’

No, I wouldn’t agree. After a first appeal is unsuccessful it is pretty much impossible to get legal for further appeals and the best chance someone would have is to find a solicitor prepared to go for a judicial review or submit new evidence and apply to be allowed to make a fresh claim. If the Home Office decide new evidence does not meet its thresholds then you won’t be allowed to even make a further claim so the new evidence won’t be considered. This is similar to the Windrush cases in that failing to provide evidence to meet the standards of the Home Office does not make someone ‘illegal’.

46

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 8:43 am

It doesn’t seem a lot to ask of people criticising the gorvernment for its handling of immigration that they should actually state their preferred policy, but they never do.

This is because it’s irrelevant to the topic and hand and thus at best a distraction. I could explain exactly why your point is misguided, but I very much doubt it’ll work and it’s not worth the effort.

I am presuming good faith on your part. This means I am fully aware that you genuinely believe your point to be correct and reasonable. I’m not going to tell you why your belief is wrong because bluntly I couldn’t be fucked any more. People have tried. I’ve tried. Chris Bertram is a professional educator and he’s just told you, to your face, that he’s written you off. That’s not something that’s ever happened to me and it’s not something that’s happened to very many people.

What I suggest you need to do is to trust your own judgment less; the key to your lack of learning progress is that you hold on to your old knowledge too strongly. Which could come from an insecurity that leads you to be unable to admit error to yourself: were you harshly criticised as a child for getting things wrong, perhaps?

47

ph 04.28.18 at 11:26 am

I’m pro-borders, but interested in the discussion. Here’s a Vox piece arguing against open borders from David Miller, who I suspect CB knows. https://www.vox.com/2016/9/6/12805140/open-borders-immigration-liberals-deportation

The obligations of colonial powers to those they colonized seems obvious, to me. I checked Pew and support for a path citizenship for children brought into the US ‘illegally’ runs at 74 percent.

I’m guardedly optimistic that a solution for the dreamers can be found, with expedited citizenship available to all adults without criminal records who’ve been in America for some time. The principle obstacle to such progress comes from cynics unwilling to hand the Trumpster a victory. The ‘shit-hole’ nations controversy allowed Dems to storm away from a deal that would have granted citizenship to significant number. Trump can definitely sell just about any deal to his base, who everyone should know by now couldn’t care less about ‘conservative’ orthodoxies. There are two versions of reality being promulgated – in one the sky is always falling, in the other Kim crossed the border and the possibility of peace and even re-unification on the Korean peninsula can at least be envisioned. It will be interesting to see how entrenched interests respond. The Nevertrumpers seem more stressed out by the possibility of Trump succeeding than Democrats, who are now busily assuring each other that Kanye West represents nobody but himself.

It would be nice to see some forward movement, but I don’t expect any from Theresa May.

48

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 11:32 am

I just want to take this one apart, because I think it’s telling.

‘Nobody supposes that people who arrived claiming to be refugees were therefore illegal immigrants. But they became so, wouldn’t you agree, if their claim was not found to be valid and they then did not leave.’

Specifically, note the asymmetry. Refugees make “claims”, which are tentative and subject to questioning; the state makes “findings”, which are authoritative. Indisputable, even. It’s not exactly a framework that makes it easy to see the possibility of government error.

But it’s more than that, because Stephen thinks — or presents himself as thinking — that this framework is natural and universally held.

… I have some further thoughts on causes and consequences that I can’t hammer into a usefully-postable shape.

49

Dipper 04.28.18 at 11:47 am

@ Collin Street. Of all the excuses I’ve come across for why people cannot answer a question that is clearly the best. My problem is too much knowledge and the expectation that explanations would be consistent with that knowledge? Award winning stuff.

I must confess I was under the impression the subject under discussion was “the predictable injustice of immigration enforcement”, probably because those words appear in the title of the OP. In which case it doesn’t seem to my primitive mind to be unreasonable to ask what an immigration policy that didn’t have injustice as part of it might look like.

Matt says “a bad application of a bad policy doesn’t imply more than that better policies and applications should be put in place” So what are those better policies and applications? And how are those better policies going to prevent people believing they have been treated unfairly? I’ve suggested ID cards which will force the issue of establishing citizenship and entitlement before we get to the “been here 20 years, paid taxes, and denied cancer treatment” stage and suggested insurance-based healthcare provision so again entitlement is evident before-hand. Perhaps one or two others might like to contribute their favoured policies?

50

Dipper 04.28.18 at 12:08 pm

J-D @ 12

“The intermediate possibility I am thinking of is, in similarly general terms: ‘by default, anybody from outside the country can enter, settle, or remain in this country, but the government reserves the right to exclude or deport anybody if there is a justification for doing so established in terms of stipulated criteria’.”

Surely this is an example where trying to be more humane is just going to increase cases such as the Windrush examples. Firstly, you haven’t stated what the people who take advantage of this are entitled to; free housing, healthcare and education? Because if so then that’s a massive increase in demand from day one. Good luck prioritising that. And if not then aren’t there going to be large numbers of children not getting an education or having their illnesses treated? That’s not going to be acceptable, even to people like me.

Secondly, what are those criteria? Mistake on your tax return? Drink-driving? This more humane policy will surely end up being a constant steady stream of people having made their lives here and being ejected for minor reasons.

Far better to have strict and clear entry and entitlement requirements and stick to them.

51

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 1:24 pm

Oh, it’s also confirmed that Amber Rudd agreed to the establishment of deportation quotas. It’s not actually-technically confirmed that she pushed for them, but there’s no real alternative plausible explanation .

Now. A just system could establish target numbers for resolved matters or opened investigations, but target numbers for matters resolved with specific outcomes is difficult to justify/explain. This is the sort of policy vs execution issues that require we separate discussion of policy from discussion of how the policy is carried out,

… which is why we probably shouldn’t discuss immigration policy in this specific context and why Dipper’s demand that we do is inappropriate [“inappropriate” -> “fucking pig-headed moronic”].

52

Chris Bertram 04.28.18 at 1:40 pm

ID cards which will force the issue of establishing citizenship and entitlement before we get to the “been here 20 years, paid taxes, and denied cancer treatment” stage

Your use of tenses is revealing Dipper. We already got to that stage. Are you in favour of the repeal of all the hostile environment measures pending a successful introduction of your preferred policies?

The OP — which you’ve used (again) as an excuse to rant on about the question of whether there should be free movement — was about whether immigration control is possible without the use of impermissible means. I’m glad, at least, that you’ve started to address that question. But ID card (which have their own drawbacks) won’t resolve all the other rights-violations the Home Office and the government are engaged in, among which I’d list the families separated by UK’s highly restrictive marriage migration policy and the failure to have in place a system that properly and fairly addresses the claims of refugees according to the standards of international law.

The principle that Amber Rudd claims should apply to her, namely that she should keep her job because “she made a mistake but didn’t mislead” is different to the one the Home Office uses with people applying for visas or for asylum, where the least mistake, however innocent, is often fatal for the application.

Anyway, I’m glad we can all count on your support for putting in place just and fair procedures, impartially administered and subject to legal scrutiny in relation to you preferred immigration policies. Or will you then complain about lawyers and the “human rights” lobby when fair treatment leads to people you disapprove of winning their cases?

53

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 2:16 pm

Are you in favour of the repeal of all the hostile environment measures pending a successful introduction of your preferred policies?

The question you just asked is essentially a double-layered hypothetical, not that simple.

If a person was giving you answers like Dipper’s in a classroom, would you genuinely expect them to able to understand the question you just asked and give you a coherent answer?

54

Collin Street 04.28.18 at 3:14 pm

In which case it doesn’t seem to my primitive mind to be unreasonable to ask what an immigration policy that didn’t have injustice as part of it might look like.

But the headline says enforcement. We handle policy-execution — “enforcement” — separately from policy-development — “policy” — precisely because the two interact closely: errors in one can be concealled or magnified by choices made in the other, and this means that if we only considered them together we’d find it much harder to spot many of the problems.

Or, to put it another way: to have a framework separate from the case-by-case issues means we need to discuss the case-by-case issues, the enforcement, separately from the framework, the policy. If as you insist we always discuss them together then… we don’t have a framework, everything becomes subsumed into the case-by-case problems.

One of the consequences of having a policy is that we need discussions about how to carry that policy out, and these discussions can’t involve discussion of what the policy should be because that means you don’t actually have a policy as any sort of fixed or determined thing. You create the policy precisely so that you don’t have to talk policy all the time, so that space is made for other conversations such as execution: the existence of a policy requires that not all discussions involve what that policy should be.

This discussion here is explicitly about carrying out policies, not policy formation. This is not the place to discuss what policies we should have.

[I didn’t tell you this because I judged that you wouldn’t understand this. Maybe you can prove me wrong.]

55

Dipper 04.28.18 at 4:49 pm

@ Prof Bertram

You can indeed count on my support for just and fair procedures. You can count on Jacob Rees-Mogg’s support too, so you are not narrowing the field much. And there are very few people I disapprove of. Which brings us to

@ Collin Street – 54

I am privileged indeed to be given such a clear distinction of framework and implementation. And that’s a very nice distinction. But to the paying punter the distinction is at best academic and at worst causes dishonest behaviour.

Consider the UK policy on child refugees. The problem is that the implementation of this policy requires something impossible to be done, which is to identify a person presenting with no documentation as both a child and a refugee. The majority of people presenting as child refugees appear on further analysis to be adults both in the UK and Sweden. Furthermore there is growing evidence that the “refugees” appearing in the Mediterranean Sea are there as paying customers in an industrial scale people moving enterprise, part of which is telling people how to get round the regulations.

There is widespread suspicion that politicians are proposing this policy (accepting child refugees) in full knowledge that it is impossible to implement. They know full well that what will get implemented is actually a different second policy (mass immigration of young men who are not refugees). If they were to propose implementing this second policy they know it would never get accepted, so they are doing something dishonest in that they are pretending to have one policy whilst actually having a different one.

Finally in the OP Prof Bertram raises ” … the issue of whether immigration enforcement can ever be compatible with human rights and the values of liberal states”. I’m guessing that observing human rights and having liberal values are policies in your definition. So the OP itself suggests that implementation and policy cannot be separated as in this instance it is impossible to implement a policy of restrictions on immigration in a way that is compatible with implementing a policy of observing human rights, or to put it more graphically, in the Venn diagram of implementations of a restrictive immigration policy and implementations of a policy of human rights and liberal values, the intersection is the empty set.

56

Chris Bertram 04.28.18 at 5:14 pm

@Dipper, your latest comment exemplifies the problems with your comments on this issue. You write:

“The majority of people presenting as child refugees appear on further analysis to be adults both in the UK and Sweden.”

I’ll just follow up on the claim about the UK.

You link to a piece in the Times which actually reads:

“Nearly two thirds of supposed child refugees who were challenged about their real age after coming to Britain were found to be adults.”

It is based on a report by David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (which you can easily find using Google)

The report actually says that between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 it there were 2,952 applications from people claiming to be children and that 405 of these were assessed to be adults. So your “majority” turns out to be around 15 per cent.

You also write

“there is growing evidence that the “refugees” appearing in the Mediterranean Sea are there as paying customers in an industrial scale people moving enterprise, part of which is telling people how to get round the regulations.”

This time what you write is indeed true, but your grasp of its significance is woeful. Because of the barriers that states put in place, anyone who wants to move to Europe from certain countries (whether or not they have a valid asylum claim) will need to enlist the services of smugglers. And yes, smuggling is a business. Do yourself a favour and take a break from Migrationwatch and the Spectator and invest in a copy of Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano’s Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Saviour, which is an excellent study of the people smuggling industry. Some of the things in it are uncomfortable to my side of the argument, and some of them to yours, but you’ll be much better informed.

57

Stephen 04.28.18 at 7:48 pm

Collin Street@48: may I reassemble things for you?

When somebody arrives claiming to be a refugee from persecution, that is (I hope you will agree) a claim which may or not be true. Someone making such a claim is not doing anything illegal, and (despite CB’s unevidenced assertion to the contrary) I don’t know of anyone ever saying it was illegal.

If you can accept that, let’s go on to the next point. I hope you would again agree that there are then two options for the state: accept such every claim as true, or investigate claims to determine, as far as is possible, which are true and which aren’t. Now, I have never said that such investigations are, in your words “authoritative. Indisputable, even.” I don’t know how you can honestly attribute such a statement to me, rather than to a straw demon of your own imagination.

You may remember that earlier in this thread, when I said that government bureaucrats often got things wrong, Steven T Johnson @14 replied that such a belief is “popular BS with vicious reactionaries”.

It does look as if, by SJ’s criteria, you are a vicious reactionary. I would advise you to discuss the matter with him.

But as one vicious reactionary to another: would you not agree that before a legal finding about asylum seekers, they are here legally: and if the finding is adverse, they aren’t here legally even though they have the right to dispute that finding, since government error is always possible? And if they dispute it successfully, their presence must become legal again? And if not, not?

58

Layman 04.28.18 at 8:36 pm

Dipper: “So what are those better policies and applications?“

How about “don’t fuck people after you’ve told them that they can stay?” Or is that too complicated for you?

59

Faustusnotes 04.29.18 at 1:17 am

Oh dipper. I showed you were completely wrong about freedom of movement and migration numbers, with no rebuttal or admission from you, and a comment later you brag to Collin about how you are “full of knowledge”. I suggest you take that contradiction and have a long hard think about what it means.

60

Faustusnotes 04.29.18 at 2:08 am

Also dipper did you come down with the last shower? The links you gave about medical training don’t begin to say what you think. A series of announcements of medical schools opening in the next three years will ultimately produce an extra 1500 doctors when the UK is losing 5000 a year to emigration of trained doctors alone. Assuming they are all built and functioning on the schedules suggested, they won’t even address the loss of working age British trained doctors within 10 years, let one the greater issue of retirement or brexit. The clue that you’re being taken for a ride is in the timeline given by the govt – 2025. It takes 10 years to train a doctor and they haven’t opened the new schools yet, so even assuming the expansion of existing places is effective immediately you’re looking at 2028 as a minimum. And these announcements say nothing about the even more direct problem of nursing shortages.

The chart you provided from migration watch showed that net migration to the UK has been increasing at a steady pace for the last 40 years, yet you say that the pressure on public services is only now being noticed and treated as a serious problem – and your solution is to blame the migrants. A linear trend over 40 years is a trivially easy policy problem, which successive governments in the UK could have predicted and responded to decades ago. They could have E built an extra X houses a year, trained an extra y doctors, etc. But these govtts – that you presumably voted for – didn’t. And now you’re blaming the foreigners. Has it ever occurred to you that the problem might be the successive governments that have failed to deal with this obvious impending problem? Or the citizens of the UK – people like you – who have consistently overlooked the underfunding of public services because you were distracted by the race baiting that your government and your hate media use toblane every problem on foreigners?

61

dax 04.29.18 at 2:47 am

“But recently an increasing number of normative theorists have started to tackly the issue of whether immigration enforcement can ever be compatible with human rights and the values of liberal states. “

If a person learns that from abstract principles A one can deduce concrete B, where the person now accepts A and rejects B, which is more likely: that the person will change his or her mind and reject A or change his or her mind and accept B?

62

Chris Bertram 04.29.18 at 5:36 am

@Stephen, you write:
When somebody arrives claiming to be a refugee from persecution, that is (I hope you will agree) a claim which may or not be true. Someone making such a claim is not doing anything illegal, and (despite CB’s unevidenced assertion to the contrary) I don’t know of anyone ever saying it was illegal.

Ok let’s stop right there, because you already show that your understanding is so poor that you shouln’t be commenting, let along pontificating. The UK government tries to block all legal routes by which a person might enter and claim asylum (and as boasted of having done so). If someone does succeed in entering and making a claim then they may yet be prosecuted for a variety of offences such as “interfering with an engine” (I believe) if they’ve walked through the tunnel, or for entering on false papers. Refugees have a statutory defence against the charge of entering on false papers. This hasn’t stopped the UK from prosecuting and imprisoning several people for having done so, despite their successful asylum claims. If your asylum claim fails then you are certainly exposed to prosecuting on these grounds, which by any standards, is an injustice against someone if their asylum claim was not fairly assessed.

63

J-D 04.29.18 at 6:15 am

Dipper

Far better to have strict and clear entry and entitlement requirements and stick to them.

That has to depend on what those entry and entitlement requirements are; but you omit to give the sort of detailed explanation of the policy you favour that you so freely demand from others.

64

Faustusnotes 04.29.18 at 7:54 am

Stephen I have already given an example of people calling refugees illegal, yet you insist noone does. Why?

65

Collin Street 04.29.18 at 9:21 am

[the original comment this replied to has been deleted at the request of the author, so I’m deleting things downthread from that too. CB]

66

Keith 04.29.18 at 4:45 pm

bianca steele 04.27.18 at 4:38 pm

“The repeated mention of “the government” in the OP makes me wonder if this is a case where a parliamentary system is a net negative. The lack of initiative available to the minority party in the UK, and the lesser ability of members of the majority to break with party discipline and vote for a minority bill, might be holding back efforts to address the problem.”

No as ICE in the USA seems to have held US citizens in detention for months or up to 3 years. Both the USA and UK seem to have abandoned Habeas corpus as it originally applied in deference to right wing cranks like dipper. Backed by the billionaire owned press . Contemporary “conservatives” seem to have embraced stalinist police state ideology some time ago. Hence their “taking back control” rhetoric is not reassuring.

67

bianca steele 04.29.18 at 5:25 pm

Keith @ 66

Of course, if there’s no will among politicians in the opposition to change the law, how easy or hard it is for them to propose a change won’t matter. Searching on “windrush labour” gets me a lot of Corbyn attacking the Conservatives, though, so I assume he’d be submitting a bill if he could. He isn’t, though.

The problems with ICE are a combination of problems with the law as written, and police officers overstepping the law, which from what Chris says doesn’t appear to be the case with Windrush. When police resent being hemmed in by the law and the President, and feel they can make their own law, when the actual law isn’t harsh enough for them, that’s a different problem, isn’t it? Awareness of what’s going on, among the public and also politicians, would presumably make a difference.

68

Stephen 04.29.18 at 6:56 pm

Faustusnotes @64
Are you perhaps failing to distinguish between some people saying that all refugees are illegal immigrants (I’ve never come across that, but human stupidity is almost if not completely infinite, and if anyone has ever said that I spit on the graves of their grandmothers); and people saying that some of those claiming to be refugees and asylum seekers are no such thing, and therefore not legal immigrants?

69

Dipper 04.29.18 at 7:56 pm

@ J-D

Firstly I’d have an overall objective of an immigration policy which would be :
1. Maintain UK population constant or slightly growing.
2. Bring in skills where there are shortages, more so at the senior end, but the expectation would be that skills for the UK are predominantly provided by training UK workers.
3. Allocate a limited quota for refugees and other humanitarian cases.

I’d have a three phase approach to skills and general immigration; limited period working in the UK for individual or family as required, then settled status, and then migration to full citizenship.

The devil is in the detail as if you start making humanitarian exceptions such as having children here then that acts as an incentive to have children just to stay in the country. So I’d do what I believe the US procedure is which is children born here get UK citizenship but their parents don’t.

For implementation I’d use ID cards. I don’t like them but we are heading to a surveillance society and forms of ID are becoming required, so may as well bite the bullet and implement them. They will make life a lot easier for many people.

I’d be quite harsh about clear breaches in immigration policy. I have friends who have gone to the USA and eventually naturalised as I’m sure most non-US folks on here have, and they all know exactly what the rules are and what their immigration status is all the time. So this isn’t hard.

And for clarity the issue with Windrush was these people came prior to the introduction of records, and the requirement on them to prove their right to citizenship is a cruel one. Everyone agrees it is a mistake and it is being put right.

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Stephen 04.29.18 at 8:11 pm

CB@62: I would not attempt to match your standards of virtuous indignation, and indeed pontificating. (Look up that word: it does not mean what you seem to think it means.)

But to return to the subject under discussion. It is very important I think (and if you disagree, I would hope for a reasoned non-dismissive explanation as to why) to make a distinction between the immigration criteria of a government, and the way that those criteria are put into practice. This is analogous to the old distinction between ius ad bellum, and ius in bello. Translation available on request. Many people, myself included, are not in the least surprised to find that heartless, mindless boxtickers in the government bureaucracy have misused their powers. Steven Johnson appears to think that this is a reactionary sentiment. I hope you don’t.

I can in fact see a reason why people should be prevented from walking along the Channel Tunnel. Can’t you?

To deal with the initial question I asked. There are two possibilities; you must support one or the other. Either governments have a right to exclude some would-be immigrants, and to deport those who have been excluded. Or they don’t.

If you accept they have that right, then we can only discuss the specific cases in which that right should be exercised: a matter on which reasonable people can reasonably differ. At particular times and places, the number and nature of immigrants admitted may be too few, or too many, or about right. Let’s argue about that.

If you assert that no governments have any right to exclude immigrants (it seems, but I am not sure, that this may be your fundamental belief) then we have to argue about something entirely different.

Governments maintain that they have rights to do a large number of things. To remove a proportion of my income as taxes, to increase enormously the price I pay for beer and petrol by duties, to insist that the old car I drive be tested annually and that there are speed limits above which I am not allowed to drive it, in some cases to send people to prison. Do you accept they have such rights?

But if they have those rights, from what are they derived, and cannot the right to exclude immigrants be similarly derived?

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Faustusnotes 04.30.18 at 12:49 am

I wonder how Stephens position on “mindless boxtickers” changes now we know that the government was setting removal quotas for them? Not quite so mindless now, are they?

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J-D 04.30.18 at 1:50 am

Dipper
I responded to a comment of yours in which you stated that it would be better to have ‘strict and clear entry and entitlement requirements’, and I notice that you have still not detailed the strict and clear entry and entitlement requirements you are referring to, in the way that you demand other people detail their policy proposals.

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J-D 04.30.18 at 1:52 am

Stephen

Governments maintain that they have rights to do a large number of things.

I notice that you haven’t explained why you think governments have such rights (or even confirmed explicitly whether you do think so).

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Peter T 04.30.18 at 2:11 am

I was a bureaucrat. One thing we do is follow lawful policy (sometimes under protest). Would anyone have it otherwise?

But it’s a predictable consequence of instituting arsehole policies that the the bureaucracy charged with carrying them out will be increasingly staffed by arseholes.

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Chris Bertram 04.30.18 at 6:24 am

But if they have those rights, from what are they derived, and cannot the right to exclude immigrants be similarly derived?

No, it cannot be “similarly derived”. Shell out £9.99 for my book if you want to know why.

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Layman 04.30.18 at 8:12 am

The Guardian tells me that Amber Rudd has resigned. She told a series of lies denying the existence of deportation targets, with each lie being revealed as a lie almost immediately after she told it. Even her resignation letter is a lie, repeating her claim that she was not aware of targets despite the publication on Sunday of a letter she sent to May last year, in which she revealed her plan to increase the deportation targets by 10%.

This letter is interesting, as it makes it clear that May is / was also aware of the existence of targets. I haven’t followed all this closely, so I don’t know if May has made statements disavowing knowledge of deportation targets, but if she has, then she has lied too.

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casmilus 04.30.18 at 9:34 am

@37

Narrator’s voice: “Amber Rudd resigned.”

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casmilus 04.30.18 at 10:30 am

@69

“Firstly I’d have an overall objective of an immigration policy which would be :
1. Maintain UK population constant or slightly growing.”

Immigration is not the sole factor in population growth. It may have escaped your notice, but human beings still engage in procreation, even British humans.

Also a population that is stable in overall numbers could still be shifting in the age breakdown – fewer and fewer children with more and more pensioners, or vice versa. Different scenarios create different demands and require different policies, and the shifts themselves can be induced by policy – at least, governments have attempted to change the birth rate in the past, with varying success.

Incidentally, you keep repeating that nobody is on the other side of the Windrush debacle. I should think anyone who was cheering for Enoch 50 years ago would be delighted to get what they wanted. It must be that hated PC censorship that keeps them quiet, unless they’re all dead.

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Z 04.30.18 at 10:38 am

Dipper @49 it doesn’t seem […] unreasonable to ask what an immigration policy that didn’t have injustice as part of it might look like. […] So what are those better policies and applications?

An immigration policy, just as any other policy or collective decision, will always be somewhat unjust, so we are not aiming at perfection here. Eliminating entirely predictable and easily preventable injustice is already a good step forward, don’t you think? And that is not hard to achieve. Here follows a quick list of policy recommendations that would (very probably) make the system relatively less unjust and which involve no sweeping change of currently existing laws.

– Be predictable and consistent. I myself have been a migrant worker in four different countries – and have had to manage a birth and a pregnancy in two of them – so I can tell from personal experience that having a clear, exhaustive and moderately short list of the documents you have to provide to be able to reliably perform a given administrative task is extremely important and helpful. My own country emphatically does not provide such a list for many if not most immigration administrative procedures, even the most trivial ones, and this justifiably drives immigrants here crazy.
-Grant appropriate time and resources to present legal cases and appeal those decided. A significant number of asylum cases are rejected on technicalities that can be cleared if given appropriate time (to give a concrete real-life example, the asylum claim of a South Sudanese an association I participate in was helping was rejected because the village she claimed to be coming from did not appear on Google map).
-Collectively decide on the interpretation of the crucial legal terms (to give another concrete example from the same source, the asylum claim of Shi’a Syrian living in a zone under the control of the Sunni Islamist rebel was rejected because the convention on refugees grant protection to people being persecuted and the verb “persecute” carries the presumption that the person is especially singled out, whereas in the context of the Syrian war, the judge argued, everybody in Syria was a target for one or the other belligerents so nobody in particular was persecuted).

Conversely, if you shorten the time for appeal, or shorten the legal interview during which the legal claims are evaluated, or prevent legal aides (all measures that were voted last Sunday by the French assembly, as it happens), or close all legal roads to come into a country, or make deals with autocracies to stop migrants, then you predictably make the system more unjust. I don’t see that this is hard to grasp.

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Dipper 04.30.18 at 10:41 am

@ Casimilus – 78

What is it you think you are explaining? “Different scenarios create different demands and require different policies” yes. Hence the slightly growing bit. Perhaps you’d like to explain what scenario it is that requires the current projection of 25% increase in population in 30-40 years.

And “I should think anyone who was cheering for Enoch 50 years ago would be delighted to get what they wanted”. So that’s someone somewhere whom you cannot identify. The BNP and The National Front were the traditional party of racism in the UK, and they are both now absolutely nowhere. Inventing people to complain about isn’t a proper argument.

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Stephen 04.30.18 at 1:21 pm

Faustusnotes@71: sorry to disappoint you, but my opinion of the mindless boxtickers who are a significant proportion of most bureaucracies, perhaps larger than usual in the Home Office, hasn’t changed at all. The government set quotas for removal of illegal immigrants: boxtickers mindlessly tried to achieve these quotas, not always but sometimes, by going for people who were never illegal immigrants at all, not knowing or caring about the difference.

That’s my opinion, anyway. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Stephen 04.30.18 at 1:22 pm

J-D@73: strange question, but I’ll answer it. Yes, I do think that governments have rights to tax incomes, impose duties on fuel and alcoholic drink, insist that old cars be tested and set speed limits, and imprison some people. I’ve never met anyone who denied they have such rights, though I have heard that some extreme libertarians in the US do that. I do hope you aren’t one of them.

You will, I’m sure, agree that the questions of whether the actual taxes, duties, etc are at the optimum levels, and whether the right people are being imprisoned, are very different matters.

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Stephen 04.30.18 at 1:23 pm

CB@75: I have not studied your works in any detail, and am not certain what you mean by “my book”. Your Crooked Timber entry has a section “Buy my book!”, recommending a volume on Rousseau and the social contract. That does not sound very likely to contribute to the problem. Amazon has Chris Bertram – probably a namesake – as the author of a German thriller trilogy, Todespakt, Todesplan, Seelenblut; even less likely. If you would be so good as to let me know more about your book, then the next time I am in a decent bookshop I’ll see if it looks worth buying.

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Chris Bertram 04.30.18 at 1:45 pm

@Stephen, it comes as no surprise to me (nor, I suspect to anyone else) that you comment without reading properly. If you had read the OP you’d see that my book is out on 25 May.

@Dipper @Stephen Sorry guys, I don’t want comments to be one-sided, but every time I post on migration-related issues, you take that to give you license to spew out the generality of what you think on the issue, often without much reference to what the OP said. The thread then gets derailed as I and others waste our time trying to correct you on all the basic mistakes you make. So, in future, you get 1 comment per 24 hours on each of my threads, limited to a maximum of 300 words. Use it wisely.

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casmilus 04.30.18 at 4:00 pm

@80

“Perhaps you’d like to explain what scenario it is that requires the current projection of 25% increase in population in 30-40 years.”

With your usual indignant stupidity you miss the point and throw a worthless pseudo-detail at us instead. No interest.

“Inventing people to complain about isn’t a proper argument”

Like Stephen and his “mindless boxtickers”, whom he has made no attempt at identifying?

Just because the NF and BNP are moribund organisations does not mean their supporters ceased to exist. Quite a few of them went to UKIP. You need to get outside your bubble. You must be one of those liberal elitists who never read the Daily Telegraph letters page in the past 40 years.

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Stephen 04.30.18 at 7:24 pm

CB’s thread, CB’s rules. 300 words it is.

I have not read your unpublished book but suppose it is like Natural Rights to Migration in your CT profile. Not impressed. “I start then with the following two assertions … first, that persons have an original natural right to free movement.” Would have hoped your tutors at Magdalen might have taught you logical fallacy of first assuming what is to be proved. Standards in Bristol may be different.

“and second that a change to that position can only be brought about with the consent of the person whose rights are changed.” Assumes free movement, if desirable to would-be movers, is always desirable to people moved into. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Do I have to give examples?

Unfair for me to judge your argument on acknowledgedly rough draft. When next in Oxford will drop into OUP bookshop, see if your editors have improved it. Here’s hoping. Will then comment further, if permitted.

Thanks for giving at last, indirectly through your draft, a clear answer to my original evaded question @5: “Are you arguing that states are never justified in excluding would-be immigrants, and deporting those who arrived illegally?” It seems you are. I quite understand why you may not want to admit it.

To be quite fair, draft says of assumptions “both of which are open to challenge”. I would hope book says what these challenges are and attempts to deal with them: pending publication, does it?

I’m busy over next few days but hope to be able to add more later. You are of course able to ban me altogether for asking unwelcome questions. If so, coward’s way out, and welcome to your comfortable echo chamber.

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Helen 05.01.18 at 1:38 am

Another example of this “failure” to fill in “the right forms” is the EU citizens who are applying for permanent residence and discover that they need to produce documentary evidence that they have lived in the UK for 10 years. Suddenly they discover that their failure to save dry cleaning receipts and utility bills 8 years ago is being held against them in the matter of their residence in the country they call home.

This isn’t a bureaucratic bungle, it’s a deliberate policy to destroy lives.

It appears the notoriously draconian Australian authorities are looking to Britain for inspiration. I have recently made a pension application for my mother who is now a 96 year old invalid confined to a nursing home. Despite the fact that she gained Australian citizenship in 1974 and has been nominated for Australian of the Year for (obviously) being an outstanding citizen, the pensions authority, Centrelink, want proof of her residence in Australia back to… Haven’t got the letter here but it was 80s or 90s.
Of course, this doesn’t have as big an impact on us as it does on the Windrush migrants but it does demonstrate the incredible petty-mindedness and cruelty of Western bureaucracies and their political masters these days. And it’s a slap in the face for her.

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J-D 05.01.18 at 5:06 am

Stephen

J-D@73: strange question, but I’ll answer it

Strictly speaking, I didn’t ask a question but rather made an observation. However, if I had formulated it explicitly as a question, it would have been something like this: ‘What leads you to the conclusion that governments have rights to do the large number of things that they do (assuming that, as appears to be the case, you do reach that conclusion, although strictly speaking you haven’t explicitly confirmed that)?’

Put that way, your reply to me offers a response to the parenthetical qualification but not to the substantive question.

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casmilus 05.01.18 at 6:39 am

My own experience of Heartless Bureaucracy over the years is that the mood and motions are very obviously set from above. If someone thinks that people registered as Disabled should be left where they are, with no attempt to shift them in to the “job seeking” category, then the front-line functionaries will follow that line; if it is decided that the Disabled are in fact malingerers then that’s how it will be treated.

I had the good luck, relatively speaking, to be seriously ill just before and during the financial crash of 2008/9. Although the new benefits regime of ATOS tests etc was being trialled, it was obvious no one wanted the pain of turning lots of Incapacity Benefit claimants (as I was, for a while) into official seekers of jobs that might not be available for healthy people. However a few years later a registered blind man I knew was getting official letters to turn up for work-capability assessments.

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casmilus 05.01.18 at 6:59 am

@86

“Assumes free movement, if desirable to would-be movers, is always desirable to people moved into. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Do I have to give examples?”

You could take the example of middle-class gentrifiers and property developers moving in to working-class areas and making housing more expensive, although not competing for any jobs that existed previously. We’ve had a lot of that in Britain and the US over the past few decades. I have never heard a Conservative politician see it as anything more than a benefit, even though the existing community don’t always agree.

But that’s Good Free Movement, not the Bad Free Movement. Because it enriches the correct people. That’s the condition that determines whether the views of the White Working Class are to be cited at all, or whether they get overruled by the White Ruling Class. And if they are included, they are only called up momentarily to give witness and approval to policies which will then be shaped by their social superiors in the think-tanks and on the backbenches, who not-so-privately think that they’re all shiftless layabouts who deserve a dose of “real austerity”.

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Chris Bertram 05.01.18 at 10:24 am

@Stephen like most people, I don’t take well to being patronized and insulted by idiots with reading comprehension problems. Permanent ban for you.

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