The Daily Mail is reporting a major crackdown on illegal immigration yesterday. Immigration officers launched a dawn swoop on a giant sandwich-making factory and arrested 32 workers as part of a major Home Office crackdown on the employment of illegal migrants. Officials raced down the production line and caught people trying to dump counterfeit identity documents and using mobile phones to warn friends not to come to work. Bolt-cutters were used to force open dozens of lockers and after being questioned, photographed and fingerprinted, groups of workers from Eastern Europe and Africa were taken away in handcuffs.
Now Greencore – which makes about half of all shop sandwiches sold in Britain – and its recruitment agency could face fines of up to £20,000 per worker if it is found that they failed to check the workers’ documents properly. This will cost Greencore some major contracts.
This is actually a really good example of how to effectively manage immigration. If illegal workers are undercutting domestic workers then there is little incentive to get off benefits. Moreover, what is the point of having minimum wage laws if we are not going to enforce them? What it does mean though is more stringent checks on documentation in recruitment, and goods will necessarily be more expensive - again highlighting the fact that whichever way you spin it, immigration control in any respect does not come for free. However, this is certainly more sensible than building fences and calling in the army as some suggest. In conjunction with proper policing of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and managing overcrowding, word soon gets out that life in the UK is very expensive and very difficult to find work and shelter if you're not here legally.
This illustrates the need for a multi-agency approach but even operating in optimal conditions, it's only effective up to a point - in that it's only really a deterrent to EEA migrants who have somewhere to return to. Less so for those Africans who will not be deterred because there's nothing to go back to. So that's going to require international co-operation to find homes and jobs for them while somehow managing the disruption and cost. The problem there being that effective enforcement of HMO and labour laws is that eventually there is a clash as the red tape encroaches on businesses and starts to impinge on certain civil liberties. The smarter people in this debate say there are no easy answers. I will go as far as saying there are no answers at all. Certainly not without looking at the points of origin. Until we look at the push factors and start using our intellectual, military and industrial resources to tackle them, we will not see an abatement of this crisis any time soon.
In that regard we have to look at our own foreign policy failures and look at the things that are done on our behalf by the EU. The EU is making a mess of Africa with its trade and environmental policies destroying industries and habitats and government revenue streams. We have abdicated our foreign policy to the EU and now we're paying the price. Britain it seems barely has policy on Eritrea.
We need to leave the EU not so we can slam the doors shut, but so we can break out of little Europe and into the world and start paying attention to what is going on, playing a more active role in global affairs and international development. As it happens, foreign aid is unfairly maligned in that not all of it is lost to fraud, and some of the more egregious examples of peculiar spending are not as daft as they sound. But we need to do more - and we need to stop with the statutory minimum spending policy.
In reality we should be exceeding that figure since, in the final analysis, fixing the problems at source is cheaper than tackling the symptoms. As it stands, we are handing over vast sums to NGO proxies without the proper accountability just so we meet our spending target. It is usually spent in the form of humanitarian aid, which makes us feel good but isn't that effective, and more often than not tends to go to those NGO's with questionable motives linked to climate change and other infantile left wing fashions. This needs to stop. We will accomplish more by investing in our own forces, the Royal Navy especially - and merging the aid budget with defence.
It's time for Britain to think globally and do some great deeds. We cannot afford to wait on the EU. All we have seen from them is a fortress Europe mentality, bogged down by procrastination, bickering and delay. When we look at the EU's eastern borders and the anti-immigration fences and military patrols, we're really just seeing a manifestation of Ukip's little Englander vision writ large. It's the same failed approach but on a much grander scale. Meanwhile people are dying in their thousands. The EU doesn't work. Great Britain does.