British home secretary criticized for anti-immigration views

Doug G. Ware

LONDON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A plan by Britain's home secretary to clamp down on migrants entering the country continues to stir up controversy and criticism from other officials who feel her intentions go a bit too far.

Theresa May on Tuesday said, in an address to British conservatives, that any migrant who has the financial means to travel to Britain for asylum should not receive it.


The indication is that those migrants don't need asylum as much as those who cannot reach Britain do.

"I want us to reduce the asylum claims made in Britain, and as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions," she said.

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May has said substantial immigration is bad for the local labor market, as it drives down wages and forces British citizens out of their jobs -- even though her agency concluded last year that there is no evidence to support that notion.

"There are people who need our help and there are people who are abusing our good will and I know whose side I'm on," May said in her speech.


Statistics show that about 330,000 migrants enter Britain every year.

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As part of May's vision, she wants also to send foreign students away after they complete their studies.

Opponents, though, have slammed May's intentions as excessive and lacking in compassion.

"The home secretary's clear intention to close Britain's border to refugees fleeing for their lives is thoroughly chilling," Maurice Wren, chair of the Refugee Council, said. "As is her bitter attack on the fundamental principle enshrined in international law that people fleeing persecution should be able to claim asylum in Britain."

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May, Britain's home secretary for five years, is considered a conservative front-runner to replace Prime Minister David Cameron in the next election.

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