TREVOR KAVANAGH | 18.08.2003 17:52 | Migration
Coming in ... asylum seekers
By TREVOR KAVANAGH
BRITAIN is demanding a halt to the flood of asylum seekers swamping the nation, a shock Sun poll reveals today.
It shows voters believe the Government has failed Britain in EVERY key element of its vow to curb illegal immigration.
The overwhelming majority of voters — 82 per cent — say its policies are not tough enough.
And 84 per cent believe that the flood of arrivals is now out of control.
Disturbingly, 78 per cent reckon the Government is trying to cover up the full scale of the crisis.
The survey exposes mounting anger across the nation and reveals that the issue will top the agenda at the next General Election.
More than eight out of ten people quizzed (82 per cent) think Prime Minister Tony Blair has failed to act effectively to stop tens of thousands of migrants arriving — and staying — without visas.
And there are fears that Britain has been changed permanently — for the worse.
Most electors reject Chancellor Gordon Brown’s claim that the economy needs more immigrants, with 76 per cent saying Britain is “already overcrowded”.
Eighty per cent say the problem of asylum-seekers is out of control.
However, 75 per cent think ministers could sharply reduce the number if they really tried.
The solution for many (81 per cent) is the provision of more detention centres.
But fewer than one in ten — a dismal 8 per cent — think the Government has got the balance right.
Significantly, there is still a welcome for migrants who come legally or are in real fear for their lives.
And there is applause for the contribution by earlier arrivals to British culture, public services and the economy since the 1950s.
The vast majority (78 per cent) say British-born children of parents from other countries must be “treated and respected as full and equal British citizens in every way”.
There is also sympathy for minorities who suffer discrimination at work or at the hands of police.
Asked how Britain has changed in the last 50 years, only one in three (32 per cent) told pollsters YouGov it has been for the better.
More than half (54 per cent) say it has changed for the worse, losing “something of our traditional character”.
But the flood of asylum cheats brought by criminal gangs has soured the attitude of otherwise tolerant voters to foreigners.
Three out of four adults say some city suburbs have been so taken over by immigrant communities that they are “no longer truly British”.
Eight out of ten believe migrants stick together and fail to mix with the rest of society.
And more than half (57 per cent) think local councils discriminate against white residents in the supply of housing and local services.
There is fury over the way illegals are finding their way on to welfare and free NHS care — and the soaring risk from imported TB and HIV infections.
Blair ... branded a failure in poll
Almost nine out of ten (86 per cent) want compulsory health checks for all asylum seekers.
Most want welfare benefits to be reduced or cut for asylum seekers, with 37 per cent saying they should receive none. And the vast majority say all those who cannot prove they face persecution at home should be deported.
Two out of three adults (67 per cent) think only a small minority — 25 per cent or fewer — are genuine refugees.
Voters believe that Iain Duncan Smith would take a stronger line than Mr Blair on illegals.
But many have no idea what his policies are and of those who do, 33 per cent think they are not tough enough.
The Sun’s survey was welcomed last night by Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the independent think tank MigrationWatch UK.
Brown ... snubbed in survey
The former ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia said: “This survey shows that people now understand the scale of what is happening.
“This government has permitted, and is now encouraging, immigration on a massive scale — by far the highest in our history.
“This is totally against the wishes of the public and must be reversed.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is strengthening our borders and defining the rules to halve asylum seekers by September.
“We are taking action to tackle illegal working and ensuring that NHS care goes to those who are entitled to it.
“But we are not complacent and are looking at further measures to tighten up on those who destroy their documents.
“We also need legal immigrants who will work and pay their taxes and help with recruitment difficulties and bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the UK.
“As The Sun recognises, migrants have made a significant contribution to the UK over many years.”
YOUGOV questioned a representative sample of 2,309 electors online throughout Britain between August 11 and 15. The data has been weighted to match the profile of all adults in Great Britain.