One of Many
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Seattle, WA
Namaste all,

i'm going to open this post very shallowly and allow it to develop from there...

there are, as you are all probably aware, a great many people in the world today that have as their stated intention to "make it" to a western country with a social security system and live. legally or not.

i would like to propose that, in the interest of keeping on the topic, we refrain from legal immigration discussion and focus on the illegal type.

as many of the readers of this forum are British, i am interested to hear their opinion and take of the situation vis a vie immigration of illegals into England and the ramifications that it is having on their social system.

i don't know off hand, but if we have anyone from Norway that is a member, i would be especially interested to hear their opinion.

personally, i have some issues with illegal immigration that may or may not be shared by others. i have a little experience in this area due to nothing more than living in Texas, a state in America that has a great deal of illegal immigration.

my issues may be simplistically refined to thus:

illegal immigrants do not participate in the tax base.

illegal immigrants do utilize and consume healt care, emergency workers (police and fire), infrastructure (roads/bridges), all of which are funded by taxes.

in a very real sense, it's an issue of fairness. if you want to use, say the fire department to put out a fire in your home, that has to be paid for by somebody. as the illegal immigrant doesn't contribute to the local tax base, the extra calls that the fire dept answers depletes the available resources for the paying individuals, ultimately resulting in substandard service to both communities.

moreover, i fail to understand (i'm sure this is because i'm quite thick at times) why upon arrival at the shores of my nation, do all the rights of a citizen apply. the last time i checked, minor members of society do not have the same rights as adults (voting, for instance). even members of the society that are born in it do not have all the rights that an adult member of the society has. they are, however, both citizens of the society.

the illegal immigrant is not. they are not a member of society, if they were, they would not be illegal and would be contributing a fair share to the common good of all. moreover, they have not taken any oaths or vows that would lead one to believe that they have any intention of being a member of the society. why then, are they given full rights as if they were, in fact, members of the society?

please don't misconstrue what i'm trying to say, poorly perhaps. immigration is a "good" thing and has positive implications for everyone involved. illegal immigration seems, however, to insult those that did it by the rules... came to the country, studied the customs and language and passed the citizenship test. why on earth would you want to go through all of that if you could get exactly the same rights and services as a person that arrives illegally?
The trouble with immigration per se is that it's not the how and why someone moves to another country - as much as what they do when they get there.

Those who imagine that the British Social Security system is a bleeding heart liberal movement looking to support anybody and everybody are victims of a horrible fallacy. State benefits will reduce such people to living in third-rate accomodation, under constant threat of having their income removed, and often faec the very real danger of local violence.

Illegal immigration is a subject I used to be quite "left" of - ie, Britain sells arms abroad, which helps finance wars, and creates refugees: who may then seek shelter in Britain as legal or illegal immigrants. Therefore illegal immigration is a symptom of the British arms industry.

Now I'm gradually settling to a middle-ground - here in Hull things are getting silly: we've had a big influx of Kosovans and Kurds over the past few years, and it's created serious local tensions.
Good topic for discussion. I will share just a few thoughts because I need to leave in a few minutes for an official ceremony.

The only people who do not legally enjoy full rights in Western societies are people who are at law deemed totally or tarially "incompetent" which means that they cannot make informed decisions. This includes minors, mental patients, and some people who have seen their rights removed for some other reason.

There are other people who enjoy less rights than others because they (as I call it) "fall though the holes of the safety net". In some countries, you need a domicile to enjoy social security benefits, which means that homeless people don't.

It seems to me, Vajradhara, that you see only one aspect of the illegal immigration issue (and keep in mind: this is not a personal attack against you): the facts that illegal immigrants benefit from social services to which they do not contribute. You are entirely correct. However, the other question is "why did they immigrate illegally in the first place?". Being an illegal immigrant is certainly not a life of easy benefits. You can be deported quite quickly, and you don't have access to jobs. The majority of illegal immigrants would, if given the choice, try to legalize their status, if they were sure to be allowed to stay (if the initiation of the procedure would not be successful and lead to their immediate deportation).

More on the subject later.

OK, more time now ! Some other thoughts.

Another point is that even "legal" immigrants don't have any obligation to integrate in the society or become citizens, at least not in continental western Europe. There are quite a number of perfectly legal immigrant populations here who are only barely integrated and have no intention of ever acquiring citizenship. The issues for them are similar that with illegal immigrants, because they can often "benefit" from the system without having contributed to it.

And, BTW, there are a number of original citizens who have also never contributed to the social security system, never actually worked, and are also benefitting from it.

I think the issues should boil down to the following questions:

- Why would people want to become illegal immigrants? Is it because the situation in their country is so bad? Because they have an idealistic view of western society?

- Why are immigration laws so strict that immigration is difficult? Are these laws too strict or not enough? This leads to the question: is immigration necessary from the point of view of western society?

- What can be done on the topic of people (immigrants or not) who benefit from social security / health care without having contributed to it?

Just a few thoughts.

Actually, I'm also going to put a spanner in the works by tacking the issue from a different perspective.

I'm on the dole - living on state benefits for the unemployed - and have been for 10 years. To many people who don't know me, that immediately stinks of someone loafing on government handouts. In a way, they'd be right. For me, however, the experience has been an investment. I made the conscious decision that I wanted to stay on the dole and focus entirely on my developing as a writer, to become a serious published novelist.

Although there isn't much money on the dole, and sometimes it's been very frustrating and difficult, I've seen this as a short-term loss of income and material benefits, on the grounds that when I finally become a published author, I will have access to a bigger long-term income.

I'm not counting on big signing fees - simply the fact that if I can maintain a stream of quality novels then I will create a significant long-term revenue stream for myself. What the degree of that revenue stream is I have absolutely no idea. Hopefully it will match my investment. :)

While I'm done that I've learned some important internet marketing skills - I can push my novels like nothing seen before in the publishing markets - and will likely try to serve the local business market with this after Christmas.

Point is, over the past ten years in terms of skills and finances, I have contributed nothing particular to society. I have not participated in the tax base, I have utilized and consumed healt care, emergency workers (police and fire), infrastructure (roads/bridges), all of which are funded by taxes - and I've given zilch back in return (taxes, social security, etc).

(Don't worry, Vajradhara, I'm making a general comment for the purposes of discussion, not trying to turn your own argument against yourself :) ).

I'd also like to point out that my impression is that politicians are far more wasteful to the British taxpayer than any particular segment of society. I remember one social-comedian (Bill Hick's style) over here making a point that illegal immigration had cost the govenmernt £250 million, while in the same year it had been forced to pay over £400 million to the British arms industry - the British government acts as a guarrantor to foreign governments, you see. If those figures can be supported then it is an important illustration of which is the greater threat to the British tax base. :)

If I may add - I remember in 1997, just after Tony Blair had risen to power in government, my Nana was complaining about a young single mother in the village they resided in taking on a lover, without informing the local housing benefits office. My Nana thought that this woman was being wasteful to the British taxpayer.

This was also about the same time that John Major - the departing Prime Minister - continued to draw his old salary for another year. Yet my Nana didn't make a judgement on that matter.

It taught me something important - that the general public is more likely to be critical about those deemed as socially inferior. In simple terms, we pick on the weaker. And you can't get much more socially inferior than illegal immigrants.

It's left to the satirists, social comedians, and political commentators, to point out the injustices of those in power - of corporate business, and political inteptitude.

It's certainly true that illegal immigrants are viewed very badly in Britain. But it's also true that the British government has proved entirely incapable of processing asylum seeker applications in a proper and timely manner.

Thus the British government continues to fail in its proper application and use of the tax base. Can we therefore make value judgements on illegal immigrants based solely on their contribution to the tax base?

Discussion pointers, nothing more. :)
Namaste all,

thank you for the posts.

Baud, you are correct in saying that i'm only touching on one aspect of the issue, however that is due to my feeling that there are so many aspects of this that to try to disucss them all on a forum would be futile, unless they were done one by one.

there are, i am sure, a great many reasons why one choose to immigrate, legally or not. i hope that, through my time here, people realize that i have no predjudice against any group... i am, however, a person that believes in equality for all.

i suppose... in a sense... it's my sense of fairness that is most tweaked by the situation. hehe... here's me, the closet socialist :)

Brian, i'm not sure how it works in England, however, i presume that you have at one point paid into your social security system as a regular working person in society whereas the person that has done this in, say, Morrocco, has not contributed to the pool of funds from which they are drawing.

there are, it seems, many different things that this issue can touch upon... though i would imagine that each person has some particular aspect to their view that not everyone else would share.

for me, it's two fold, i guess. one is the contribution of funds into the social security system prior to being able to have access to those funds. it's like going to the bank... you can't withdraw money unless you have some in there. the other main reason that i can think of is that.. and i want you all to bear with me here... freedom isn't free. nothing in life is free, for that matter, let alone some like freedom. people have fought and are fighting for it right now. i was one of those people, once. for good or bad, that has produced within me a certain sense of the sacrifice that is required to ensure that very same freedom and i feel, in a certain sense, betrayed by those individuals that come here to take advantange of my sacrifice without contributing.
I only did a few years part-time prior - though originally I justified it on the grounds that my family had were supporting me through the taxes that they paid.

Bit at the end of the day, whether I personally contributed enough or not is a moot point for different people.

My point in raising that issue was not to call for condemnation or villification of my position, as much as illustrate a particular point with regards to the issues raised.
Namaste all,

Brian, i happened to have spent a good two hours on a phone call today with a chap from England.

we were discussing all manner of things and our conversation turned to immigration... he mentioned to me that, at this time, over 100 people a day are leaving England for other countries, is this accurate?

the reasons were varied but i think i can distill them to this... things are bloody expensive there and people feel as if they have no representation within their government. are those accurate feelings on a national basis? i realize you can only offer your perspective on this, though i would like to see if it corresponds with Zack's (the fellow with whom i was speaking).
I'm afraid I can't comment on the figures - but, even still, they're not actually that high..

As for expense and disillusionment - I think we've had that problem for decades. :)

Funnily enough - I was with some people talking about others they knew that had emmigrated abroad. A particular point that was raised is that the moment these people experienced serious illness, or needed to prepare for death, they flew srtaight back to Britain. I guess that says something particular.
Illegal immigrants in England? I am surprised that such a teeny tiny island nation can't control their borders. Is Prince Charles using the boat again?

Of course in my country we take over the upper two thirds of Mexico and complain that there are Mexicans in it.
The Fool said:
I'm afraid I can't comment on the figures - but, even still, they're not actually that high..

As for expense and disillusionment - I think we've had that problem for decades. :)

Funnily enough - I was with some people talking about others they knew that had emmigrated abroad. A particular point that was raised is that the moment these people experienced serious illness, or needed to prepare for death, they flew srtaight back to Britain. I guess that says something particular.

Namaste Brian,

eh... 365,000 people a year are emmigrating from England to other nations. now... it's more than likely true that this is more than made up for with new people arriving in the nation on a yearly basis but it still seems like a large amount of people... certainly enough for someone to be paying attention to.

i agree with you, though what it says is not exactly clear :) this seems to harken back to peoples ideas of nationalism with regards to where they want to die and, perhaps, pragmatic assessment of medical care in the locale that they currently reside in.

people feel safe with famaliar things around them... and death can be a very frightful time for individuals. but, by the same token, people die in hospitals all the time, not around their famaliar objects and loved ones... and this causes a great deal of additonal stress and suffering. which is one of the reasons that i'm so fond of the hospice movement.

as a disclaimer... my mother had a lingering illness that was quite painful and, i'm sure, frightening for her. we took advantage of the hospice care offered and it really helped her die with dignity and grace. it is also true that she had a strong spiritual belief which also assisted her. leaving that aside, i think that the hospice movement is a wonderful thing and, if you are wondering how you can be of assistance in this world, consider volunterring for a shift or two at the local hospice. you can help.

eh... seems i've gotten off the track a bit here... sorry about that...
A quick fyi:
Seems to me I heard in the news in the last few days something about the states passing a law to begin taxing illegal immigrants to pay for their social services. I didn't catch the details and wasn't greatly concerned about finding out, but it might be worth looking into for your discussion.