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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
MPs call for 'earned amnesty' for undocumented migrants
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¬†Six MPs including the deputy Labour leadership candidate Jon Cruddas and the Conservative MP John Bercow laid an early-day motion in Parliament on Friday calling for a one-off regularisation of hundreds of thousands of 'illegal' immigrants. The move f'ollows an independent ORB opinion poll published last week which shows that two out of British people support the idea of a 'pathway into citizenship' for long-term migrants who work and pay taxes. The poll was commissioned by Strangers into Citizens, a broad-based campaign by the country's largest alliance of civic institutions, the Citizen Organising Foundation, which includes London Citizens and Birmingham Citizens. Strangers into Citizens is organising the largest-ever rally for justice for migrants in Trafalgar Square on the 7 May Bank Holiday, following a Mass for Migrant Workers at Westminster Cathedral celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. The Cardinal will join other faith leaders, trade unionists, politicians, business people and NGOS in a walk to Trafalgar Square from Westminster Cathedral calling for a an immigration policy which starts from the contribution migrants make. Among the speakers in Trafalgar Square will be Baroness Shirley Williams, Jack Dromey, deputy general-secretary of the TGWU, and the Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler. Strangers into Citizens is calling for a pathway into citizenship ≠ via a two-year work permit ≠ for migrants who have been in the UK for more than four years. The campaign has the backing of leading church figures, as well as the Mayor of London, businesses and trade unions (TGWU, Unison). It is also supported by the Immigration Advisory Service, Refugee Action, and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. The EDM signed by six MPs on Friday reads: 'That this House recognises the government's commitment to tighten UK borders and introduce new monitoring and assessment systems into the Immigrations Process; notes the Home Office assessment that up to 500,000 irregular migrants currently live and work in Britain; recognises that the overwhelming majority make a valuable economic contribution despite living under the shadow of illegality; acknowledges the IPPR estimation that regularisation of certain groups of migrant workers could raise £1bn in taxes; congratulates the 'Strangers into Citizens' campaign for the one off regularisation of long term 'irregular' migrants through a pathway to citizenship; calls for a full cross-party debate to consider granting a two year work permit to migrants who have lived in the UK for more than four years, following which they are granted 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' subject to an English test and positive references from an employer or person of standing in the community'. Jon Cruddas MP Labour; Dagenham. Diane Abbott MP Labour; Hackney North and Stoke Newington. Dr Evan Harris MP; LibDem; Oxford West and Abingdon. Neil Gerrard MP; Labour; Walthamstow. Karen Buck MP; Labour; Regent's Park and North Kensington. John Bercow MP; Conservative; Buckingham. Naturalisation programmes have been carried out by a number of European countries. Since 1981 there have been more than 20 "regularisations" in France, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. The largest and most recent was Spain's in 2005, which regularised 700,000. The Home Office estimates there are around 500,000 "illegal immigrants", a combination of visa overstayers and refused asylum seekers, and admits it does not have the resources to deport them (current deportations run at 25,000 a year). Strangers into Citizens has been highlighting the plight of what it calls the "shadow people", who are condemned ≠ often for years ≠ to a limbo of fear and furtiveness. Most long-term overstayers work and pay taxes, using false IDs. Refused asylum seekers ≠ many of whom are unwilling or unable to return ≠ often face destitution because they are unable to work. A number of the stories have been collected at www.strangersintocitizens.org.uk. Source: TELCO
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