Conservatives Introduce Commonsense Immigration Reform Bill in the UK

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

October 16, 2015

Now making its way through the UK parliament is a bill that would, among other restrictions, penalize working illegal immigrants and require landlords to do background checks on prospective tenants. Called the Immigration Bill, the U.S. Congress should pay attention.

The Immigration Bill’s provisions include:
  • Possible jail sentences for illegal workers in England and Wales of up to six months, and authorization to seize wages.
  • Landlord requirement to check immigration status of potential tenants. Positive identification (passport or visa) would have to be shown before entering into a rental agreement. A landlord’s failure to comply would be a criminal offense that could carry a fine or jail sentence.
  • Businesses and recruitment agencies could not hire abroad without first advertising in the UK.
  • Employment authorities must ensure that public sector workers who interact with British citizens must speak fluent English.

UK’s Conservative Party Home Secretary Teresa May said that if enacted, the Immigration Bill would “protect those who play by the rules,” and “provide better fairness to British citizens and legitimate migrants.” Watch May’s speech here that calls for an immigration system which would allow Britain to control who comes into the country, and advocates for less immigration. While selective immigration may provide some advantages to UK residents, May said that high immigration’s benefits are “close to zero.” May’s goal is to reduce immigration from the current 300,000 annually to tens of thousands.

UK Conservative Party Home Secretary Teresa May

UK’s Teresa May: She’s No Jeh Johnson.

In a pattern similar to the U.S. immigration influx, between 1993 and 2013 the UK’s foreign-born population more than doubled from 3.8 million to around 7.8 million. During the same period, the number of foreign nationals increased from nearly 2 million to nearly 5 million.
 
Predictably, the opposing Labour Party called the Immigration Bill “unpleasant and insidious.” Apparently, agreement on immigration legislation is as tough in the UK as it is in the U.S. Liberal Democrat representative Alistair Carmichael noted that in the last eight years there have been seven immigration bills and 45,000 changes to the immigration rules since 2010 when May became Home Secretary.
 
The Immigration Bill is still in its initial stages, but provides some valuable guidelines for Congress as it continues to contentiously debate how to best protect American citizens and workers from over-immigration.

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