Why is it that on both sides of the pond we are becoming less tolerant and more angry with immigrants and asylum seekers?
There is no doubt that both our economies are greatly supported by these people, but it is also becoming clear that we are fast reaching the 'tipping point'. The point at which the indigenous population feels swamped.
Here in England we are so afraid of mass immigration that our far right political party advocating compulsory repatriation is growing in support, and middle class dinner parties are twitching with negative comments and complaints about 'them'. But it's not the immigrants' fault. They will move if they can. Our leaders are to blame for not protecting our borders and for not forcing illegal immigrants to leave.
Amazingly, our Government – charged with exactly that - has just reported that it hasn't got the faintest idea how many illegal immigrants we have here in Britain. The latest guess is 400 thousand.
There is also the suggestion that hundreds of thousands of unregistered immigrants are working on the black markets here – earning, but not paying tax or insurance. This adds to the anger. The fact that they are using our health service and benefiting from our social structure without putting a penny into it.
Governmental response is a lot of shoulder shrugging and the abandonment of even trying to sort the problem out. The danger in that is obvious. In an ideal word everyone should be able to live where they want to but we have to be realistic. There are only about half a dozen countries where everyone wants to live and there just isn't the space.
There is only one solution – we have to improve the economies of those countries people are abandoning. We have to support poor countries with fair trade agreements, and you have to stop forcing your cheap rice and grain onto struggling economies which then collapse under its weight.
We have to grow up and accept that if we don't take care of the rest of the world, it will destroy us.
by Petrie Hosken
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.