Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Illegal immigration

Most of us are against illegal immigration. In America there is a huge migration over the southern border and many states have a large Latin-American population. In the UK we have an increasing Muslim population from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq, and Somalia. What upsets us is not so much the numbers (our aging population welcomes new taxpayers) as the multiculturalism; incomers have different core values than us.

Last week we watched an interesting TV program that looked at illegal immigration from the point of view of the illegal immigrant. The routes from Afghanistan and Nigeria were followed by reporters.

Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world. The trek from there to here is onerous, crossing Iran, Turkey, Greece, The Adriatic, Italy, France and The Channel. Most people don't make it. One man stranded in France for the past 4 years had left Afghanistan aged 14 and had made 150 failed attempts to cross the Channel.

Nigeria is an oil rich country corrupt beyond measure. The local currency has has devalued many times by rampant inflation. Nigerians seeking to come to Britain must cross Niger and then the Sahara Desert. Women trying to cross are often raped by local tribesmen. Once into Libya they may get recruited as mercenaries into the Libyan army and then must cross the Mediterranean in open boats. Many are drowned. Even if they get into Italy there is a long trek to the Channel coast.

But as one Nigerian said, however high they build a wall, some will climb over it.

After watching the program one could not help but feels sorry for these poor people. But England is already the most densely populated country in the world, apart from city states like Singapore. There is no more room. Most against more immigration are recent immigrants who have managed to get here. Greater London is a mega city of 13 million people. Its Victorian sewers are barely able to cope. Its transport system is straining under the pressure. Schools in London have to cope with over 900 different languages.

Ideally help should be given in the home countries of the illegal immigrants, but in Afghanistan that looks like a 100 year project and failed states like Nigeria seem devoid of hope. Indeed the whole of Africa looks like a lost cause. We are already spending more than we can afford in Afghanistan in blowing things up. In Nigeria there has been a huge investment in the oil yet the Delta is leaking into the water where pirates have tapped into the pipelines. Natural gas is just heating the atmosphere. Kidnapping is rife.

Is there a country in Africa where the government is not corrupt and autocratic? Is Asia any better? I despair.

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