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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Yvette Cooper to pledge an immigration system that "people have confidence in and works for everyone"

In a speech later this morning the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, will set out proposals to build an immigration system that, Labour say, will give people confidence in and works for everyone

She expected to say immigration is important to Britain, but it has to be managed and controlled, so the system is fair. She will say Britain has benefited from the ideas and talents of those who have come here from abroad over many centuries, but reform is needed to strengthen border controls, tackle exploitation and bring in fairer rules if we are to remain an outward looking and diverse nation.

She is expected to go on to say, that too often debate about immigration becomes polarised and unhealthy - with the Tories and UKIP engaged in an arms race of rhetoric that exploits people's fears and creates division on the one hand and, on the other, some liberal commentators and business advocates saying concern about immigration is irrational.

Ms Cooper is also expected say, that calm and sensible voices are often not heard in these debates and this is why Labour needs to talk more about immigration - not to ramp up the rhetoric, but to get a practical sensible debate on the reforms we need. She will say the Labour Party is the only political party with proposals to stop local workers and responsible businesses being undercut by the unfair exploitation of migrants.

And following reports the Government are deporting fewer foreign criminals, have no idea where 50,000 failed asylum seekers are and have failed to tackle the situation in Calais, she will announce plans to recruit an additional 1,000 border and enforcement officers. These additional staff will be tasked with providing additional checks at borders, tackling illegal immigration and ensuring visa rules are properly enforced.

The Shadow Home Secretary will say stronger border controls and enforcement are "vital for a progressive approach". People need to have confidence that fair rules are being enforced, otherwise consent in the whole system is compromised.

In her speech Yvette Cooper is to expected to say that: "Enforcement has got worse in the last five years. Under Theresa May basic checks are just not being done, and that is undermining confidence in the whole system. The number of people stopped and turned away at the border has halved. A smaller proportion of people absconding at the border are being found. And we recently discovered 175,000 failed asylum seekers may not be removed because the Department has "limited resources"."

Ms Cooper is also expected to talk about human trafficking and that it is on the increase - particularly trafficking into sexual slavery - and there has been a huge reduction in drugs being seized at the border. She will also point to the failure of this Government to tackle illegal immigration, saying: "At Calais there are now serious and growing problems - where we have seen not just abuse but tragedy. Awful cases of young men camping by the roadside then leaping onto the wheel arches of passing lorries, only to be crushed and killed."

The Shadow Home Secretary is expected to also use her speech to say "Labour will never engage in an arms race of rhetoric on immigration, but put forward practical and workable policies that will make a difference. Not making promises that aren't kept or weakening enforcement of the rules - that's for the Tories. Not sowing the seeds of division whilst only offering measures that would make matters worse - that's for UKIP, whose policies would make it harder to tackle the problems at Calais and harder to stop exploitation and undercutting of wages and jobs. And not dismissing the problems out of hand - that's for the Liberal Democrats."