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Davis: Securing Britain's borders

Press Conference at Conservative Campaign Headquarters

"Our aim is clear - to secure Britain's borders so that we can:

- Limit immigration;

- Fight crime; and

- Protect Britain from terrorism.

Now let me explain the details.

There are four main ways in which illegal immigrants get into Britain.

Conservatives will take action to clamp down on all four:

First, clandestine entry.

Only eleven of Britain's designated thirty five main ports have round the clock security.

Conservatives will establish 24-hour surveillance at British ports.

Second, entry by deception.

Conservatives will extend the use of biometric visas to cover all non-EU countries which are sources of illegal immigration.

Third, overstaying visas.

Conservatives will re-introduce embarkation controls.

We will also take powers to require bonds to be posted by, or on behalf, of family visitors if there is judged to be a risk of abuse.

And we will introduce legislation to require employers to put down bonds, equivalent to six month's remuneration, which will only be repayable once the permit holder has left.

Fourth, failed asylum seekers.

Conservatives will extend the use of biometric visas to help the identity the 70 per cent of asylum seekers who are found without documents, usually because they destroy them.

And we will withdraw from the 1951 Refugee Convention, accelerating the appeals process and improving the prospects for removing failed asylum seekers.

One of the reasons that Britain is so attractive to illegal immigrants is because it is very easy to work here illegally.

A Conservative Government will make it much more difficult for those with no right to be here to work.

Mr Blair's Government has an abysmal record when it comes to taking action against companies which employ illegal immigrants.

The last Conservative Government introduced an offence of employing illegal immigrant workers in 1996.

The Act came into force on 27 January 1997.

Since then there have been only 24 prosecutions and 9 convictions in seven years.

It is no wonder that employers are willing to take on illegal labour.

Conservatives will enforce the rules on the employment of illegal immigrants and ensure that companies which break the law are prosecuted.

We will also use the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize profits made from the employment of illegal labour.

These measures will help both to clamp down on and discourage illegal immigration.

However, having looked at the experience from other countries, we believe the time has now come to establish a British Border Control Police - whose sole job will be to secure Britain's borders.

As Sir Ian Blair said in his first week as Metropolitan Police Commissioner:

"I have always thought that the idea of having a national border police was a good idea. When we got into the debate about SOCA it surprised me that we did not have a national border police. I am very supportive of this issue. It is crucial that we are policing against people of criminal intent".

The priorities of the British Border Control Police will be to deter illegal immigration and fight terrorism and international crime. It will be accountable to the Minister for Homeland Security.

Britain is an island nation.

We can control immigration.

We just need a government with the determination to act - and that is what a Conservative Government will do."

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