David Cameron is failing on his net migration target and numbers have gone up. Illegal immigration is getting worse, but the number of fee-paying overseas university students has fallen for the first time in decades, cutting the investment they bring into Britain.
I know people in Haslingden and Hyndburn want to see tough action on immigration which is exactly what Labour is determined to do.
We want stronger border controls – including proper exit checks so we know who is here and who isn’t, and action taken about the hundreds of thousands of people who overstay their visas.
It’s only fair that new migrants shouldn't be able to claim benefits straight away, and should speak English, or learn to speak English as a first step to integration. We also need swifter action against those who don’t abide by the rules, so EU citizens who commit crimes soon after arriving in the UK shouldn’t expect to be able to stay.
Labour wants to see a progressive approach to immigration. We don’t want a conservative, reactionary approach that treats all immigration as bad, ramps up the rhetoric, and undermines trust. Nor do we want a liberal, free-market approach that sees all immigration as a good source of cheap labour. Neither of those approaches are good for Britain or Haslingden and Hyndburn .
Instead of treating all immigration as the same, Labour wants a smarter system that cuts down on abuse, has stronger controls and is tough with those who want to exploit immigrants. And we want to continue to bring benefits to our economy and society by attracting the international students who pay to study at our universities.