Four and a half years since the Brexit referendum and the British government has continually failed to control our borders. Immigration reform is essential if we are to prosper post-Brexit, writes Jayne Adye.

Since the 2016 EU Referendum there has been a massive effort to water down what Brexit means and keep us closely tied to the European Union. One topic however, where change has largely been accepted as inevitable, is immigration. All those who have a modicum of sanity accept by leaving the EU we will be ending free movement. However, as always things are not straight forward when it comes to trying to force the establishment to abandon an irrational fear of implementing a stern, but fair system for immigration.

Despite the last six nationwide elections and referendums (2014 European Elections; 2015 General Election; 2016 EU Referendum; 2017 General Election; 2019 European Elections and the 2019 General Election)  which have all given clear results in favour of parties in favour of immigration reform, why is it so difficult to get things across the line in Parliament? It was clear in 2010 and in 2015, David Cameron had no intention of meeting his promise to get net immigration down to below 100,000. He simply used the promise to do so to hold UKIP at bay. Then again, how could he do so when we still had an 'open door policy' for people to move here from Europe?

It does make you think – doesn't it? Because of attempts to cut numbers down to 100,000, just how many talented individuals from around the world have been turned away from this country in favour of unskilled migrants – simply because they were not born inside the European Union? With a fair immigration system, we can make sure this does not happen again. Immigration numbers should not be set by arbitrary targets, but by flexibly adjusting to on-the-ground realities and ensuring all those who come into this country have something to offer as we pursue our global future.

Despite this being a sensible suggestion – now reinforced by a large Parliamentary majority for the Conservative Party – logic is still being rebuffed. It has taken until the third attempt for the House of Lords to finally pass the Immigration and Social Security Bill this week, ending Freedom of Movement from the EU – after almost four months of political posturing from Remainers in both the Lords and in the Commons. Unsurprisingly, on every occasion this Bill was presented to the Commons, opposition parties – including Labour – voted it down, yet we were constantly told they accepted the need to end Freedom of Movement and to 'Take Back Control' of our borders. So why did they try to block every attempt to fulfill this promise?

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On the other hand, the House of Lords is an entirely different, mostly unelected, beast. Many in the Lords have made no attempt to hide their contempt for Brexit and have spent the last two months trying to add amendments to the Bill – largely under the pretence of protecting asylum seekers. This was completely unnecessary as the Government is already planning an asylum Bill to which these amendments could be added. All the Lords have achieved is not giving border security officials enough time to fully implement the end of Freedom of Movement before the start of the New Year.

However, while the new Immigration Bill is a beginning, it simply won't be worth the paper it is written on if we fail to take action over illegal immigration which has reached record levels over the past few years. There can be no truth behind the claim: 'We have taken back control of our Borders' when regularly – mostly throughout the Summer and into Autumn – we have seen our border security breached countless times, with French patrol vessels simply guiding flimsy migrant boats directly into British waters, when they should have been returned to France. This Government has shown zero ability to stop the flow of illegal immigration across the English Channel.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel's actions must match her words – although her intentions have been admirable! Promises have been made in the past and continue to be made surrounding improving our immigration system and the security of our borders. The reality is, little or nothing has changed – not helped by French President Macron digging his heels in, unwilling to accept the illegal migrants should be processed in France – or another EU country – where they first arrived.

Consistently we have seen the establishment in Britain fail to properly tackle the issue of immigration head on. Mrs Patel, other Ministers and individual MPs appear to have the best intentions to bring in fresh approaches to immigration, however, there is endless failure from those within the blob of Whitehall and Westminster to follow through.

With this Government finally on the verge of delivering on its promise to Get Britain Out of the EU, does it have the stomach and the nerve to push forward real changes to our immigration system, including our approach to border security and the deportation of illegal immigrants. If we are to reset the system and set this country up to prosper post-Brexit, the establishment blockade to immigration reform we have experienced for the last six years must be cleared in its entirety.

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