Immigration campaigners accused Migration Watch chairman Andrew Green of “verging on the point of racism” yesterday after he called for harsh restrictions on arranged marriages.
The rightwinger said that the minimum age for admission to Britain for marriage should be raised from 18 to 21, with action taken to restrict the number of children born to foreign mothers. Regarding potential spouses who were born in a “particular country” or whose parents were born there, the minimum age for both parties should be raised to 24 if the other suitor came from that country, he claimed.
“We’ve seen the problems that can come from failure to integrate and we’ve got to look at this problem frankly and openly”, declared Mr Green, before trying to link immigration and terrorism. Asked if he was referring to the July 7 terror attacks on London, he replied: “What else has got to happen before we look seriously at the real problems of integration?”
Immigration Advisory Service director of operations Michael Pickett pointed out that Mr Green’s views appear to be incredibly bigoted. “When he refers to a ‘particular country’, he is referring to the Indian subcontinent, not to countries such as Russia and the Ukraine”, Mr Pickett noted.
“To make a connection between the July 7 terrorist attacks on London and arranged marriages is ludicrous”, a claim for which there is “not a single scrap of evidence”, he said. “The reason the bombers were able to go unnoticed is that they were fully integrated. It is a crap argument, once again verging on fantasy.”
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants chief executive Habib Rahman said that it sounded as if Migration Watch was arguing that restrictions should be put on the right of British nationals to marry the person of their choice.
“Migration Watch’s claims do not seem to be underpinned by any systematic evidence”, he added. “For example, migration to Britain takes place from all over the world, so we cannot see any evidence of any special connection between arranged marriages and the rate of births to foreign mothers or the ability to integrate successfully with British society.”
“In the end, migrants’ integration should be measured by the values they hold, not their customs”, insisted Mr Rahman. “Participation in our society and attachment to principles of law-abiding and democratic behaviour should be the measures, not a marriage custom.”
Morning Star, 5 January 2005
For Osama Saeed’s comments, see Rolled Up Trousers, 5 January 2006
Migration Watch’s “findings” are enthusiastically endorsed by the fascists: “According to immigration think tank, MigrationWatch ‘chain migration’, mainly through bringing partners from overseas, produces even higher proportions of such births for communities of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, thus intensifying the formation of ghettos and setting back integration for a generation.”