The thin yellow line

Home Affairs
Monday, October 24, 2016
Francis Hallinan


Withdrawing from the EU to get tough on immigration isn’t dog-whistle politics, says Francis Hallinan. It’s common sense

Eighty million people travel through Heathrow every year, and at peak times planes land every thirty two seconds. The bigger ones can carry the equivalent population of a medieval city half way around the world in twelve hours, which, in many cases, they do. There are aircraft on designers’ drawing boards which will carry one hundred passengers to Australia in four hours. Thousand seat ‘flying wings’ are on the horizon.

It is not just air travel that has shrunk the globe to a series of long bus rides. I can sit in my living room and carry on a conversation with a friend six thousand miles away in Melbourne as if he were sitting opposite. If I take my iPad outside as we talk, he will have the experience of walking down a London street. My friend is a consultant physician, but he could just as well be a Pakistani rice farmer and I could be a people smuggler . If I lend the farmer two thousand dollars at 20% interest I can get him into Britain in three months. He can then work for me for free in a restaurant for five years to pay it off. His family can come later when he is granted permission to stay.

This type of conversation is repeated hundreds of times a day all over Britain. A reasonable person would expect a sovereign state to react swiftly to such a state of affairs. Instead, not only have we clung to laws as relevant to modern immigration as horse licenses are to the modern taxi trade, our politicians, in fear of the witches’ curse of racism, have so weakened our borders they are practically non-existent.

There is a yellow line before every border post. If an illegal migrant can get behind that line, either by stepping across it, or coming in through a back door, say in a truck or on a boat, the entire weight of the immigration system will back any request to stay: the lawyers who serve it, the officials who maintain it, the politicians who tweak it, the journalists who lament it for being insufficiently liberal, the charities who will feed you. All you have to do once you are across the line is to demand asylum. Instantly your status changes from being an illegal asylum seeker to a legal one awaiting a decision. After that, unless you are a complete fool, or excessively honest, your chances of being deported are slim.

We cannot change our laws because we are bound by membership of the European Union with its porous 88,000 km sea and land border. There are fields along the border where you can walk into the EU with only the birds signalling the arrival of a new citizen. If you have got that far on your own, you will be sophisticated enough to know that the next thing you must do is to strike up a relationship with an EU citizen (best of all is a love affair, and heterosexual even better , as the arrival of a child absolutely seals the deal) but any sort of close friendship will suffice. Even though it is completely illegal if you marry, immediately the welcoming blanket of human rights will descend, allowing lawyers to fight your case for years. For those lacking the emotional reserves or patience for such a struggle, although many are the informal relationships entered into once inside the UK, there are still sea containers, trucks, fake student visas and false passports.

So what can we do to stop further abuse of our borders? We must recognize the damage mass migration causes in Third World countries, depriving them of their educated middle classes and thus pushing them further into destitution. As the number of potential refugees is limitless, we have a right to set an annual quota. That right can only vest in a truly sovereign Britain, one that has left the European Union.

Following Australia’s example of being extremely tough on illegal migration action which, in the end, saves many lives - all migrants entering the country without permission would be removed immediately. Setting foot behind the yellow line would no longer grant them rights of appeal against deportations which would be swift and administrative. Britain would negotiate financial deals with countries that have in the past proved reluctant to take their citizens back.

The existing right of settled migrants to a UK passport after five years would be withdrawn, and citizenship only offered to the second generation of the migrant‘s family. In the interim ‘candidate’ passports would be issued allowing such migrants or their family members to travel. Candidate families would not be able to contract marriages outside the UK. If a first generation migrant was found guilty of a serious crime he or she would be instantly deported. Any sentence would only be enforced if the migrant tried to re-enter Britain.

These laws would not be subject to interpretation by external bodies like the International Court of Justice at The Hague or the European Court of Human Rights. If necessary – and because we would be outside the EU and once again sovereign - we should withdraw from agreements with them.

We can either accept a world without borders, meaning within three generations Britain will no longer exist, or we can fight to preserve what is left of one of the most valuable civilizations in history. It cannot be done within the EU.

Francis Hallinan is a writer based in London

This article was originally published in Crossbow, the Bow Group Magazine - Conference 2014 on 27/09/2014. Published online 24/10/2016