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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
UK majority favour 'pathway into citizenship' for illegal immigrants
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¬†Two out of three (66%) British people believe undocumented migrants who have been in the UK for more than four years and who work and pay taxes should be allowed to stay and not be called illegal. Two-thirds (67%) also believe asylum seekers should be allowed to work. The findings come in an ORB poll commissioned by Strangers into Citizens, a broad-based campaign by the country's largest alliance of civic institutions, the Citizen Organising Foundation. 66% of those polled believe that those who work and pay taxes should be allowed to stay. 67% said those who have been here for more than four years and who work should be allowed to stay. The same percentage believe asylum-seekers should be allowed to work. The poll showed that only 21% think the Government is doing a good job in handling immigration. It also showed that the British people favour a crackdown on benefit cheats, but view asylum seekers and overstayers favourably as long as they work and pay taxes. 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, and some businesses and trade unions. The campaign's co-ordinator, Austen Ivereigh, said: "What this poll shows is that British people welcome immigrants who work and who are part of society. That is precisely the case with long-term undocumented migrants, who have put down roots in Britain because they have found work and opportunity here." 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 on www.strangersintocitizens.org.uk. The campaign is holding a National Day of Action and Celebration on 7 May, following a Mass at Westminster Cathedral celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and London's other Catholic bishops. Among the speakers at a rally in Trafalgar Square will be Baroness Shirley Williams, Jack Dromey, deputy general-secretary of the TGWU, and the Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler. Source: TELCO
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