Labour to attack border ‘failures’

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Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Coalition failures over border controls have led to a major drop in the number of illegal immigrants being deported and fewer illegal drugs being seized, Labour will claim today.

Yvette Cooper will also accuse the government of letting “dodgy” firms get away with exploiting illegal workers and undercutting local wages.

The Shadow Home Secretary will claim the Tories have failed to tackle illegal immigration because they were too focused on trying, but failing, to meet Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.

Ms Cooper will underline Labour’s plans to recruit an extra 1,000 border force workers and increase fines for firms employing staff illegally.

“The Tories have failed to tackle illegal immigration because it never counted towards their flagship net migration target, which now lies in tatters,” she will say.

“These figures show the Government is deporting fewer illegal immigrants and seizing fewer illegal drugs. They are also letting more dodgy firms get away with breaking the rules for profit, employing people illegally and exploiting them to undercut local jobs and wages.”

Labour highlighted Home Office figures showing enforced immigrant removals fell by 13% to 13,313 from 2009 to 2013. The number of people stopped at the border and later returned dropped from 26,378 in the final year of the last Labour government to 14,473 in 2013/14 – a 45% fall.

According to the party’s analysis of House of Commons Library research, there was a drop of £125 million in the value of Ecstasy, cannabis and heroin seized by Border Force in England and Wales last year compared to 2010. That includes a 96% fall in the quantity of cannabis resin seized and an 81% drop in Ecstasy hauls.

Parliamentary figures show a big reduction in the number of employers imprisoned for using illegal workers – down from 35 in 2009/10 to 4 in 2013.

The number of employers being fined for knowingly employing illegal immigrants fell from 2,254 in 2009/10 to 2,090 in 2013/14.

Ms Cooper will add: “It’s unfair on everyone – the port authorities and border staff working hard to keep our country safe, responsible businesses who employ people on a fair wage and communities across the country, as local jobs and wages are undercut.

“Labour has a better plan, we will recruit an additional 1,000 border force staff – funded by introducing a small fee for non-visa visitors to the UK – to ensure immigration rules are enforced and the system is fair.

“We will also significantly increase fines for employing illegal immigrants, make exploitation a crime and increase enforcement checks – helped by the additional 1,000 border force staff we will recruit by introducing a small fee for non-visa visitors to the UK.”

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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