Immigration has dominated arguments over the EU and is constantly being pushed by the Leave campaign. Despite the IN campaign focusing primarily on economic arguments, David Cameron, de-facto leader, has attempted to address 'Out' concerns over immigration. He has done this by lying to the British public on a number of thigs. To be clear, free movement which comes with our EU membership means that there is nothing that can be done to prevent legal migration to the UK from the EU - just as Britons are able to travel and live in EU countries under the same regulations. However, immigration from outside the EU is under the control of the British government (in theory) and yet the number of migrants coming to Britain from these countries is almost twice the target Cameron set himself for total net migration. Instead of insisting that 'we can control immigration inside the EU' (BBC), the Prime Minister needs to stop lying to us and be clear on what the government can and will actually do to reduce immigration (as the Conservatives were elected on a platform promising to reduce net migration to the 'tens of thousands').
It is the aim of the government to reduce net migration - a response to the concerns held by the British public who, according to recent polls, see immigration as their 'biggest worry' - ahead of the NHS (Telegraph/ Ipsos Mori). In fact, during the Sky Q&A, on the 2nd June, he stated that immigration could be cut to below 100,000 (as previously promised) with the UK in the EU. But the ways he has set out that this can be achieved are very vague and not proven to drastically reduce immigration whatsoever. For example, removing unemployment benefit and reducing 'full' access to the welfare system for those who have worked under four years are not exactly striking measures which put off the majority of immigrants who come to the UK to work (realistically, these are the people that we would have to simply turn away if we were to reduce immigration to the 'tens of thousands'; of course this is not possible in the EU).
Cameron's biggest argument that net migration can be reduced in the EU is that it has previously been 'neutral' due to the emigration of people in the UK. This is, in theory, true. Just unlikely to happen anytime soon. As the government keeps reminding us, the UK is the fastest growing 'major economy'. Our unemployment rate is also 4% less that the EU average (8.9% to 5%; Source). If wealth and jobs are being created at a faster rate in the UK than the majority of the EU, then why on earth would emigration to EU countries from the UK increase? Especially if we consider the impact the slow recovery of countries such as Spain and Portugal and the complete collapse and non-recovery of Greece is having on expat Brits living abroad on the continent (many have returned to the UK; Telegraph).
It's clear that Cameron has no coherent strategy which would enable him to fulfil his promise of reducing immigration from the EU. He is lying to the general public by saying it is possible when it so blatantly is not.
However, our Prime Minister has more questions to answer. As well as being unsuccessful in reducing immigration from the EU (an impossible task when free movement is in place), he has also been unsuccessful in reducing immigration from outside the EU (which is entirely under the control of the British government). Net migration from non-EU countries was 188,000 according to most recent figures. Reducing this with quotas and changes to the system is entirely possible. So why has the government, elected on the promise of reducing immigration, not done anything to reduce it where they can? Not only is Cameron lying about the ability of the UK to reduce immigration while we're in the EU but he has lied about reducing immigration altogether. Either the government couldn't be bothered or doesn't see it as a priority - strange considering, as I mentioned earlier, immigration is the number one concern of the British public.
We know that it is not possible to reduce immigration from the EU while we remain part of the free market which comes with free movement. Cameron has lied about this. We also know that immigration has not been cut from non-EU countries, despite pre-election Conservative promises. Again, Cameron has lied about this. It's time we started demanding some answers; is it still the aim of the government to reduce immigration to the 'tens of thousands'? How does the government plan to do this if we remain within the EU? And how will the government reduce immigration from non-EU countries, which still remains way above pre-election targets?