[noborders-brum] Byrne - We'll hit 'illegals firms'

phunkee at aktivix.org phunkee at aktivix.org
Wed Jun 14 22:20:26 UTC 2006


Byrne - We'll hit 'illegals firms'

Jun 14 2006

By Jonathan Walker, Political Editor

Employers who take on illegal immigrants could be forced to hand over their
profits, according to the Birmingham MP charged with sorting out chaos in the
immigration system.

Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) is considering using the Proceeds of Crime Act,
which was designed to stop drug-dealers and organised gangsters keeping their
ill-gotten gains.

It would mean unscrupulous employers who knowingly recruit illegal immigrants
could have their homes and cars confiscated - with the money used to pay the
costs of deporting their staff.

But Mr Byrne sparked more controversy when he appeared before the House of
Commons Home Affairs Committee yesterday, by refusing to rule out an amnesty
for illegal workers. It followed protests in the US in which campaigners
demanded an amnesty for America's 11 million illegal immigrants.

Asked by committee members whether the British Government would consider an
amnesty, Mr Byrne refused to rule it out and said he had asked officials to
prepare a report on the issue.

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Pressed by MP Mark Salter (Lab Reading West) for an answer, he said: "It is too
early to tell. I'm one of those people that has to have that analysis in front
of them."

The comments contrasted with the line taken by previous Home Secretaries and
Immigration Ministers, who have ruled an amnesty out.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: "An amnesty is not on my agenda, full

Mr Byrne said the Government would make illegal immigration less profitable.

Speaking to The Birmingham Post, he said: "We will punish businesses who employ
people illegally if they know what they are doing.

"And we will step up the offensive to deny benefits to people who are here

"This country has a very proud tradition of giving a home to brave people who
are fleeing turmoil and despair.

"We expect people to play by the rules, and we have to be tough on people who
come here illegally."

He said Birmingham residents from all ethnic back-grounds were concerned about
illegal immigration and abuse of the asylum system.

"There is very wide support for a system of fair play. This has been forcefully
put to me by many sections of the community. It is something that the
metropolitan liberal elite i n London don't quite understand."

Mr Byrne said he was shocked when John Reid, the Home Secretary, telephoned him
less than a fortnight ago and asked him to take responsibility for immigration
policy, the biggest problem facing the Government at the moment.

"I had just left the house on a Saturday night with my wife, as we were
celebrating her birthday. It was a Noel Coward play at the Birmingham Rep. I
have to confess, my first thought was one of shock. I don't think I replied for
30 seconds or so. But it is an issue I have talked a lot about as an MP in
Hodge Hill for the last year and a half.

"What people want is an A1 system which is fair and efficient, and the truth is
they don't think they have got that.

"This is a big job for me, but I didn't get into politics to sit in the

Chaos in the immigration system led to damaging revelations for the Government,
which led to the sacking of former Home Secretary Charles Clarke last month.

Mr Byrne has until July 25 to devise a plan for turning the Immigration and
Nationality Department around.

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