RAMFEL chief executive: ‘Stop focusing on hysteria about being swamped’ by migrants
- Credit: Archant
A leading immigrant support group has slammed defence minister Michael Fallon for his “swamped by migrants” comments, before calling for more Home Office staff to cope with the huge backlog of asylum applications.
Rita Chadha, of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL), helps those who are seeking political asylum in the capital get the right information.
Last week Mr Fallon said in some areas of the UK migrants risked dominating the local population.
Mr Fallon told national television: “We haven’t seen our proposals yet, and that’s still being worked on at the moment, to see what we can do to prevent whole towns and communities being swamped by huge numbers of migrants.”
Although he later apologised for his comments, it ensured immigration was high on the political agenda this week, amid news 29,000 asylum applications, dating back seven years, have yet to be processed by the Home Office.
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Speaking to the Recorder, Ms Chadha called for a “more nuanced discussion” on immigration, before criticising politicians for being out of touch with today’s society.
“We need to stop focusing on the hysteria about being swamped and roll up our sleeves and show how different, less positive and productive east London would be without immigrants,” said the charity chief executive.
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“If we must blame anyone blame the system - don’t scapegoat the individual.”
The Public Accounts Committee report citing the figure came just days after Mr Fallon’s remarks which were later backed by former Home Secretary David Blunkett who said the Tory MP was right to voice the concerns of ordinary voters.
“If the immigration system was run fairly, effectively and with some level of compassion we would actually save money, the delays by the Home Office have a huge impact on people’s lives,” added Ms Chadha.
“The backlog is easy to resolve if there was better training for Home Office staff and they had up to date systems.
“They are notorious for making bureaucratic blunders.”
James Brokenshire MP, minister for immigration and security, said the huge backlog in cases was down to the immigration system the coalition government inherited.
He also added: “Turning around years of mismanagement has taken time, but it is now well underway.
“We have reformed visa routes to make them more resistant to fraud, cancelled failing contracts, and taken significant steps to deal with the backlogs we inherited.”