10 years, clean record and English; that’s what you need to become British citizens
15th April 2010: Lib-dem election manifesto says let illegal immigrants become British citizens.
The astounding pre-election pledge comes at a time when Tory plans cap on immigration; and UKIP has called for end to mass uncontrolled immigration. The British National Party too has gone to campaign with halt-immigration-invasion issue.
The pledge by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg that foreigners living here illegally are welcome to become UK citizens comes with a rider.
Clegg says people living in the UK without the correct documentation will be permitted to become British citizens after a decade, if they spoke English, had a clean record and wanted to live here long-term.
Clegg also made it clear that he wants to tighten Britain’s borders by reintroducing exit checks at all ports and airports. He is also in favour of setting up a National Border Force with police powers and wants to introduce regional points-based system. He also promised new rights for illegal immigrants.
Justifying the stand on allowing them to become British citizens, Clegg says it is better to get them into the hands of the taxpayer. It is the only way to deal with the legacy of the Labour and Conservative tough talk on immigration which has been chaotic.
Reacting to the assertion, the Tories dubbed the proposal as “crazy idea”. Immigration spokesman Damian Green said it would send a signal round the world that come and stay in Britain regardless of your right to be here.
The manifesto said up to 3,000 more police officers would be recruited and paid for by scrapping ID cards, electronic fingerprints on passports, the prison building programme and Whitehall plans to track all emails and internet use.