David Lammy, the Tottenham MP and one of six figures hoping to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London, has today called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants living in the capital.
City Hall statistics show there are around 300,000 illegal immigrants in London and a 2009 report commissioned by current Mayor Boris Johnson suggested that regularising their status could raise £850 million per year in additional tax revenue.
Mr Lammy’s campaign says a similar policy in Spain has helped generate $240m in income tax and social security revenues since the mid-1980s.
Lammy said: “We face a choice: we can continue to stick our heads in the sand and pretend this isn’t a problem, carry on letting these people live in the shadows and use our services without contributing to them in tax. Or we can do the sensible thing and have an amnesty on all illegal immigrants in London who have been here for more than 5 years and are in work.”
“Many of these people have fled great suffering, persecution and poverty – they’ve come to our capital, as millions of people have for centuries, to find a safe haven here. If they are working and contributing then I believe we should allow them to stay here as Londoners.”
According to Mr Lammy, the amnesty would have no adverse affect on the capital’s housing and job markets because the beneficiaries are already part of London’s population.
He said: “It would just mean a much greater tax income, more transparency about who is living in our city, and a group of people who live here and work here being accepted as part of our city.”