A Fair Asylum System

Events at a hotel housing asylum seekers in Liverpool are a reminder of what happens when government loses control of something like immigration and those bent on trouble take the law into their own hands.

This government has been talking tough on immigration for thirteen years. During that time, the criminal gangs have multiplied and the number of people whose claims aren’t being dealt with has steadily risen. Among those languishing in dodgy hotels are women and children, doctors, nurses, school teachers and other skilled people. Many are from war zones or places like Iran, from which it shouldn’t be too difficult to decide their refugee status.

We need a fast and efficient processing system that allows us to weed out those without a real claim from proper asylum seekers. Genuine refugees should be allowed to stay and put their skills to use, especially in those areas where we have shortages. Those without a legal entitlement should be deported.

The latest government plan is to hand Rwanda £144 million and send people there, but evidence from places like Australia and Israel shows it doesn’t work. The gangs just move part of their operation and pick people up as they get off the plane, to take them once again on a perilous journey that will end up with small boats trying to cross the channel. Labour says that money could be better spent by putting an extra 13,000 police officers and PCSOs on our streets, expanding the National Crime Agency to smash the smuggler gangs and setting up legal processing centres in places like France and Turkey.

While the government continues to talk tough but fails to tackle the problem, it encourages the kind of ugly behaviour we saw in Liverpool. It fuels the gangs and with them the drugs and prostitution which are part of their evil trade, and it punishes genuine refugees who could be an asset to this country.

When you’re in a hole you stop digging. It’s time to come up with a better solution, one that’s fair, compassionate and tough on the right people.

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