Mayor calls for migrants amnesty
Boris Johnson last night called for an “earned amnesty” for thousands of illegal immigrants living in the capital.
The London mayor has launched a review into the feasibility of granting an amnesty to an estimated 400,000 people living illegally in London. It is expected to report in two months.
Johnson has departed from the Conservative party line in his belief that people who have resided illegally for years in the capital should “earn” their citizenship. Although he has no legal powers over immigration policy, the mayor told Channel 4 he wanted to “lead the debate” on the issue. The mayor is expected to lobby the government once the City Hall review is complete, although both Labour and the Conservatives regard the issue as politically toxic and have in the past attacked the Liberal Democrats for suggesting it.
He first floated proposals for an amnesty for long-standing illegal immigrants during his mayoral campaign, prompting David Cameron to comment that one amnesty would just “store up” the need for a further one down the line.
Johnson’s spokesman conceded yesterday that the mayor “cannot change the laws on immigration”, but he added: “It is his job as mayor to speak out for people in London on issues where he has relevant things to say.”