Mayor of London defended his proposal for an "earned amnesty"
26 November 2008. Launching a consultation document on equality issues, Boris Johnson pleaded for a study approach and a Spanish model regading the illegal immigrants. He said: "Why not study it? Why not look at what the impact would be?"
"I think there’s a very good case for a study into something that I think could not only lead to greater social justice but also to greater economic utility."
He reffered to Spanish amnesties and to "greatly increased tax revenues" as well as regularising the positions of people who were suffering from lack of access to healthcare and whose situations made them "much more likely to be driven into criminality". Johnson considered the inability of such people to enter the legitimate job market and participate fully "a real problem for this city".
The mayor said that potential recipients of amnesties would need to demonstrate their entitlement for "well over five years", prove they had had no involvement in crime, had "an adequate command of English and all the rest of it", and were "a decent upright citizen".
"If you look at the figures at the moment – the population of London is actually beginning to plateau and that’s very largely because immigrants are going home" remarked the mayor. London is thought to contain some 400,000 illegal immigrants, over half the total for the whole country.
Johnson’s remarks preceded a discussion about his equalities policy with a gathering of London local authority representatives and others hosted by his statutory deputy, Richard Barnes.
Barnes emphasised that the administration would be proactive in helping people attain equal opportunities in the capital regardless of sex, race, sexuality, background and disability, and help them overcome any type of disadvantage.
Last Friday, the mayor of London called last for an "earned amnesty" for thousands of illegal immigrants living in London. Johnson is to commission a study of the benefits of an amnesty.