Letter: Preventing illegal immigrants is better than deporting them

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THE account you give of the killing, accidental though it was, of Joy Gardner ('Why did Joy Gardner die?', 8 August) creates a deep sense of shame that this could happen in Britain. Yet beyond the important question of police and Home Office action lies the issue of preventing illegal immigration.

No one knows how many thousands of illegal immigrants there are in Britain. There is a problem, and it is likely to get worse. So why does the Home Office not learn from its EC partners?

A Danish colleague told me that Denmark has few illegal immigrants. The reason is simple: without a CPR number (Personnummer) no one in Denmark can get a job or be paid, receive benefit, get medical attention, etc. Without this number it is difficult to stay long in Denmark. It achieves many of the desirable effects of an identity card.

Britain should examine ways of making illegal stay here virtually impossible. This done, we could sensibly relax our immigration controls at borders with other EC countries, and take a more compassionate view of humanitarian appeals.

Christopher Jackson MEP

Chairman, European Parliament Intergroup on Frontier Controls

Sevenoaks, Kent