The United States isn't the only country struggling to manage illegal immigration. The Public Accounts Committee in the United Kingdom’s (UK) House of Commons recently published an immigration enforcement report that indicates the UK is experiencing similar problems — more fundamental than what we usually see on the news

The UK committee concluded among other things that the government of the UK does not know the size of the UK’s illegal population or have a clear grasp of the harm that it is causing. The same is true here in the United States.

The U.S. government claims to know how large its undocumented population is, and immigration advocates claim that immigrants are committing fewer crimes than native-born Americans — but these claims are not based on reliable information.

The situation in the UK

In the UK, the Home Office is responsible for immigration enforcement; according to the report, it has not estimated the size of the UK’s illegal population since 2005, which prevents it from establishing a meaningful baseline for measuring progress in reducing the size of the illegal population.

Moreover, the Home Office doesn’t know how many aliens are entering the UK illegally, or how many enter on temporary visas and don’t leave when their visas expire. In the United States, it’s apparent that there are more visa overstays than illegal entries.

The Home Office has, however, identified harm that can be attributed to illegal immigration into the UK. This includes such things as the crimes committed by undocumented aliens, the cost of public services provided to aliens who should not be receiving them, and financial harm to employers who only hire aliens with legal work authorization and have to compete with employers who hire undocumented aliens for low wages.

But the UK government does not know how many undocumented aliens are engaged in harmful activities.


Published originally on The Hill.