Migration has long been a big discussion topic and a consistently highly ranked concern of the electorate in the UK during polling. The ‘woke’ brigade, supported by many on the political ‘left’, have constantly praised lax border controls and virtually unlimited migration numbers with those who raise any concerns berated and, in many cases, branded a ‘racist’. 

Protest marches in London have seen activists on that side of the conversation displaying placards proclaiming ‘refugees welcome here’ and demanding that the government takes more and more people in from around the world despite, in many cases, having little or no knowledge of their background or even country of origin.

Before the Blair government came to power in the 90’s, net migration (The increase in population when emigration numbers are deducted from immigration) was running at under 50,000 per year. However, since the turn of the Century, this has shot up dramatically. By the mid 2010’s, the net figure was running at between 200,000 to 300,000 per year, equivalent to the size of a City such as Hull or a large London Borough like Hillingdon where I live.

At the time those of us concerned about the huge numbers of new immigrants argued that this was simply unsustainable, due to the additional pressure being put on infrastructure such as housing, schools, transport and hospitals. The immediate response to voices such as mine was dismiss our concerns as being Xenophobic or Racist rantings. Pro mass migration talking heads could not understand the basic underlying truth of our message, it’s about space, not race. 

In the midst of a Housing Crisis, one that so many of the same talking heads also highlighted in the mainstream media, they were too blinkered to see that this was being fuelled by increased demand for accommodation much of that coming from newcomers to the country needing a place to live. As some colleagues put it to me, it is not so much a housing crisis as a population crisis. Yet the left constantly ignored this and demanded that more properties be built to handle the demand, ignoring the fact that a new house would have to be built every 6 minutes just to handle the influx across our borders.

After a small drop off in migration numbers recently figures from the Office of National Statistics that have shown a sharp increase in the net migration figure once again. For the year ending March 2020, net migration was 313,000 with a whopping 715,000 people coming to live in the UK (Of which 633,000 were non UK citizens). Net migration from the EU was 58,000, once again flying in the face of claims from campaigners who wish for us to remain in the Brussels bloc that there is a mass exodus of skilled Europeans which will harm us post Brexit.

But another phenomenon also contributed to driving up the figures, admittedly not by a huge amount, but with very concerning consequences, the daily crossings by boat of ‘asylum seekers’ from France. These undocumented migrants have crossed many safe countries to get to the English Channel, propelled there by payments made to criminal gangs of traffickers.

This has been happening for a number of years with the French putting them up in places such as the Sangatte Migrant centre but also with migrants making their own camps such as the notorious ‘Jungle’ at Calais. Former MEP Steven Woolfe was one of the first to investigate these camps and, from conversations with the people there, established that most were in fact economic migrants rather than refugees fleeing in fear of their lives. Indeed, the ECHR stated that as many as 80% of the migrants entering Europe would not meet the criteria of an Asylum Seeker under their definition whilst statistics from the EU have shown that the vast majority are young males from areas where there is not in fact a war going on.

These migrants were attempting to get in to the UK by boarding trucks or the Eurostar train service, but with security tightening they are now increasingly attempting to cross the hazardous English Channel by boat. In 2019, according to figures from Migrationwatch, 1900 migrants landed on our shores via this method (These are the ones that were caught and we know about). This year, over 5500 had crossed by 2nd September with many more having landed since. With no identification, it is difficult to know where they are from, how old they are or what they want to do when they land in England. Worryingly, terrorist group IS have stated for years now that they will be smuggling their operatives in to Europe on the back of this increase in migration and attacks have been carried out on the continent and in the UK by people who have claimed to be ‘asylum seekers’ already – think The Manchester Aria Grande Concert bombing and the attempt to blow up a tube train on the District Line at Parsons Green in 2017.

The Hillingdon Impact

With Heathrow Airport in our London Borough, Hillingdon, has long been at the forefront of migration to the UK. This was not a huge problem in the 70’s and 80’s where the numbers were much smaller. Indeed, growing up in the 70’s in Uxbridge we saw genuine asylum seekers in the form of Ugandan Asians, who were fleeing persecution from the brutal Idi Amin, arriving on council estates such as Bridge Road after being processed through legitimate channels. They have since gone on to make a great contribution to our society through integration in to the community, their shared values and work ethic making the transition fairly easily.

However, with numbers on the increase from across the globe, we are seeing the impacts on our Borough in a variety of ways. Hillingdon has seen the population nearly double since 1945, the largest increase of any authority in London. According to the last census, over 30% of the population is now non UK born. This has put pressure on housing stocks, particularly social housing, whilst new schools have had to be built purely to cope with a huge upturn in birth rates where migrant communities produce larger families than those already here. 

With land at a premium where new housing is being put up, Green belt has had to be sacrificed, notably at Lake Farm. The huge increases in property prices and rents have also been driven where demand is outstripping supply and HMO’s (Houses of multiple Occupation) are now commonplace where it is all people can afford.

I myself have been evicted at the end of a 12 month private rental contract on more than one occasion to make way for newcomers who can outbid me on the property using housing benefit money,. On one occasion, when I was married with stepchildren we were evicted only to be replaced by a Somalian family were placed there being paid for for government funding.

Canvassing during a subsequent election uncovered that the gentleman was on a Dutch passport, had never worked and had brought his wife and 5 children over from Somalia once he had gained his EU passport. The house had also been completely overhauled with taxpayers money to make it acceptable for them (This was never an issue for the landlord when we lived there). Meanwhile, my family had to move in to a smaller property that was overcrowded based on what we could afford from our wages – moving out of the area was not an option due to the educational needs of the children.

This experience formed a part of my political awakening and I was disturbed to find out subsequently when campaigning that this was not an isolated incident. With the Council having limited social housing to go round, landlords are increasingly buying properties to let out at ever increasing rents whilst some families are having to be relocated from the Borough to places such as West Sussex to make way for even more people arriving.

Hillingdon and the Asylum Seekers

Recently, a number of concerned residents got in touch with me to highlight issues in their areas. Low level crime incidents seemed to be on the increase, borne out by postings on internet message boards such as Nextdoor, whilst some reported seeing small crowds of young men they had not seen before hanging around after dark. Two major hotels near the Airport appeared to have been commandeered to house migrants whilst young men of non Caucasian origin were seen going in and out of a home for vulnerable children. For both places I obtained further confirmation from more than one separate reliable source.

Because of Heathrow Airport, Hillingdon is classed as a Port Authority and as such has to take responsibility for processing migrants. Previously, I had provided evidence of migrants being housed in Longford Village near the airport which resulted in a number of headlines, not least when a Daily Mail reporter turned up as a Stretch Limo was pulling up to ferry some of them to their new homes in Manchester!

I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council to ask a few questions as follows.

(i)How many Asylum Seekers or Illegal Migrants are currently being accommodated in Hillingdon? 

(II)Where was their point of entry? (eg Heathrow/Dover)

(iii) What is the gender and age range of the asylum seekers?

(iv) What type of accommodation are they being housed in?

(v) How much is this costing the taxpayer in Hillingdon and how much financial support are you getting from Central Government?

The reply blew me away.  Firstly, they couldn’t give me details of point of entry so we don’t know how many had turned up on planes having destroyed their documentation and how many are being shipped up from the South Coast as part of their Port Authority commitments.

What they could confirm were the numbers and age range/gender, which on the face of it didn’t look concerning until you drilled down.

In March 2019, there were 313 people of which 242 were male. Of the 313, only 9 were over 25 but 124 were aged 16-19 inclusive.

For March 2020, it was 326 with 254 males, 8 over 25 and 141 being between 16-19.

Finally, for September 2020 the total number was 285 of which 218 were male, only 2 people over 25 and 131 between the ages of 16-19

The standout figures there are the disproportionate numbers of men to women but also the percentage claiming to be between 16 and 19. Some of you will remember the pictures of migrant ‘children’ arriving at Dover from the Calais camps in 2016 that were across the front pages of many newspapers and the questions raised about the authenticity of their claimed ages.

A call for dental record checks to be carried out was rejected on Human Rights grounds whilst some officials told publications such as the Daily Telegraph that they would only double check if the individual looked ‘significantly older’ than 18.

Further stories continued to surface such as the 6ft 1in Iranian GCSE student in Ipswich who claimed to be 15 but had told classmates that he was actually 25. After a parent backlash, the pupil was taken out of class and subsequently proved to be over 18 as initially reported by The Daily Mail.

Fast forward to last week and again a major story was in the press regarding alleged ages. Concerned parents at a school in Coventry had asked for age clarification after a migrant pupil’s picture showed him with thinning hair and appearing to look nearer 40 than 20. The local Council replied with a fairly bland statement saying that ‘all appropriate checks’ had been taken despite the asylum seeker having no documentation to prove his age.

With these stories in mind, I found the following extremely disturbing.

The response to the Freedom of information request stated that the asylum seekers were being housed in four ways – sheltered housing, semi-independent, in Foster Care and in two local children’s homes.

It was the final location that concerned me greatly as the reports I was getting of youths hanging around corresponded to the site of one of the homes. I was advised that these people looked over 18 and also that vehicle break ins had gone up in the vicinity of where they had been seen. More worryingly, vulnerable young girls in those homes could well be exposed to danger there have been reports from the area near Penally Refugee Camp in Wales of teenage girls being approached at local parks and potentially ‘groomed’ which has caused the Police to increase their patrols in the vicinity. 

Moreover, when you look at the instances of Grooming Gangs being reported up and down the country, many of the victims are disadvantaged young white girls. Just the type of children that these homes have within their walls.

Armed with this information, I have contacted both my local councillors and one of my Greater London Authority (GLA) members to see what can be done.

The Councillors have advised me that they will look in to the situation for me, whilst I am very grateful for the prompt response from GLA member and prospective London Mayoral Candidate, David Kurten AM, which can be viewed below

It is thoroughly disturbing that the London Borough of Hillingdon has been chosen to take in hundreds of illegal migrants and asylum seekers, the majority of whom are young adult males. Even more disturbing is that some of them are being housed in children’s homes in the borough, and there have been reports of an increase in crime in the area by members of the local community. It has been seen many times before that bogus asylum seekers claiming to be under 18 actually turn out to be adults. Vulnerable children who already come from broken backgrounds must be kept safe. There must be an immediate end to mixing asylum seekers and illegal immigrants with London’s most vulnerable children.

I also wrote to the two MP’s who cover the sites John McDonnell and Boris Johnson to see what safeguards, if any, they can assure me will be in place to protect the vulnerable young girls.

Migration, both legal and irregular, must be a priority for this government in the immediate future. Brexit has given us the opportunity to take back control of our borders and implement a sensible system that returns incoming numbers to those of the 70’s and 80’s in order to give vital breathing space to upgrade our crumbling infrastructure and tackle the housing crisis. 

The cost of illegal migrants/asylum seekers to my Home Borough of Hillingdon has been £2.95 million in the last year, with a further £6.2 million being added from Central Government funding. With the Economy in tatters and many people facing an uncertain Winter during the ongoing Covid19 crisis, this is money that we can ill afford to spend on people who have broken the law to be here rather than pursue an asylum claim through the proper channels. Anything less than full attention to resolving this issue will be a dereliction of duty by the Government towards those they are elected to serve.

This article first appeared in www.wokebritain.com

Cliff Dixon

Cliff Dixon

Cliff Dixon is lifelong Londoner, Independent Campaigner, Blogger and activist.