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Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has called for illegal immigrants to be granted amnesty in the UK in the run up to Brexit. He originally stated these plans during the referendum campaign but has restated his plans in a cabinet meeting chaired by Theresa May.
The amnesty plan would give those who had been in the UK illegally for more than 10 years legal status in the UK so they can work legally and pay income taxes. The plan would essentially grant immigrants who have been in the UK for longer than 10 years indefinite leave to remain, meaning they could live and work legally, and contribute through income taxes.
This news comes in the wake of announcements from the UK’s official forecaster predicted the government would have to borrow an additional £122 billion over the next five years. The combination of weaker income tax revenue and additional costs in the lead up to Brexit will lead to something the Office for Budget Responsibility have described as a budget black hole.
This isn’t the first time Johnson has raised the possibility of an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in the country for an extended period of time. He first raised the idea in 2008 and then repeated it during his time as the Mayor of London.
During a leave rally in June of this year, Johnson said: “I’m not only pro-immigration, I’m pro-immigrants. And I am in favour of an amnesty of illegal immigrants who have been here for more than 12 years, unable to contribute to this economy, unable to pay taxes, unable to take proper part in society. I’ll tell you why. Because it is the humane thing to do, it is the economically rational thing to do.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has indicated support for the amnesty plan, but there are also concerns that the move could anger those who voted for Brexit in order to control immigration. One minister present at the cabinet meeting described the plan as insane, going on to say it would make ordinary Brits furious.