Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lisbon: Dismantling our immigration-controls

It's the elephant in the room that the elites do not want to discuss. While on the opposite side of the spectrum to Cóir on some moral issues, they are to be commended for bringing the immigration issue into the debate in terms of Lisbon's contribution to the race to the bottom through mass-immigration. It is unfortunate that the rest of the no campaign seem unwilling to do so. The elites won't discuss it in public, but I am firmly of the view that this has the potential to win this contest for the "no's". A string of prominent pro-Lisbon party TD's stated that immigration played a major role in the first no, and I believe it will in the second. So who is it connected to Lisbon? It is connected to Lisbon largely because of the provisions of the referendum-legislation, but also because of those of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Under Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht as amended by Amsterdam and Nice) as amended by the Lisbon Treaty, the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights have "the same legal-value as the Treaties". Under the proposed Article 29.4.6 of the Irish Constitution., that means they will override the Irish Constitution. It states: "6° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State, before, on or after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 5° of this section or of the European Atomic Energy Community, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures
adopted by—i the said European Union or the European Atomic Energy Community, or institutions thereof, ii the European Communities or European Union existing immediately before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, or institutions thereof, or iii bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section,from having the force of law in the State." The usual retort to this argument from the pro-Lisbon side is to the effect that an overriding provision for EU legislation and decisions has existed since we joined the then EEC in 1973. While this is true, the context has entirely changed. For the first time, a massive codification of human-rights is coming under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. They - not the Irish Supreme Court - will decide what it means. As the competences of the EU have grown over the last 36 years, the Irish Constitution has become more and more undermined, because new policy areas are subjected to QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) on the Council of Ministers. That inevitably means an increase in the throughput of legislation/decisions from Brussels, which means more opportunities for the Irish Constitution to become null and void. Yet until Lisbon, the basic question of human rights has remained overwhelmingly a matter for the Irish Supreme Court to adjudicate upon. No more with Lisbon and the Charter, which will give the ECJ the final say on those issues. Specifically, Article 15.1 legalises work for asylum seekers, stating: "1. Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation.". The problem is that the UK has an optout Protocol from the Charter, meaning that Ireland and Malta would become the only English-speaking countries in the EU allowing asylum-seekers to work. Likewise, Article 19.1 of the Charter states that "1. Collective expulsions are prohibited". This will inevitably mean that Irish deportation-orders will be challenged in the ECJ, notably where they involve asylum-seekers who arrive in the country with children or have them while they are here. So in effect, if we vote yes, we are voting to create a new baby-tourism loophole for asylum, whereby asylum-seekers - as before the Citizenship Referendum in 2004 - have children here to prevent their deportations. With asylum costing the taxpayer €300 million per annum, and with the average judicial-review prolonging the asylum-appeals process by 21 months, this is the last thing the hard-pressed Irish taxpayer, social-welfare system, health-service, overcrowded schools and 420,000 unemployed need. We are effectively borrowing to pay for bogus asylum seekers as over 90% of asylum-seekers fail in their applications.

Besides the Charter, the Lisbon referendum's process of dismantling our immigration controls also feeds into the text of the constitutional amendment we are voting on next month. The 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009 contains the wording of the amendment we are being asked to insert into the Constitution. Paragraph 7, which will become Article 29.4.7. if we vote yes, states the following: "7° The State may exercise the options or discretions—i to which Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union relating to enhanced cooperation applies, ii under Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union annexed to that treaty and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community), and iii under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, so annexed, including the option that the said Protocol No. 21 shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.". So Paragraph 7(ii) empowers the Government, with the consent of the Oireachtas (which is a given in any event) to take Ireland into the passport-free travel area known as the Schengen Area. This would abolish passport-checks on travellers into Ireland from the 25 countries party to the Schengen Agreement. Furthermore, Paragraph 7(iii) would allow the Government to abolish -the optout Protocol, present since the 1999 Amsterdam Treaty, that has allowed successive Irish governments to optin/out of common policies in the field of Justice and Home Affairs, including asylum and immigration, policing, and the powers of the pan-European police-body known as Europol. In that context, it was ironic some days ago listening to Fine Gael's deputy spokesman on European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, claim on RTE's Drivetime radio programme that Lisbon will help in the fight against people-trafficking. The reality is that by legalising employment for illegal-immigrants, the Treaty further incentivises people trafficking, by ensuring that the fatcats who are exploiting illegal migrant-labour can do so legally. Furthermore, the abolition of passport controls and document-checks for immigration into Ireland for travellers through the 25 country Schengen Area will inevitably cause a huge increase in the numbers trafficked into the country. It may be that Schengen membership - as well as opening the floodgates from that area - will force us to establish controls on the border with Northern Ireland. But if one door is to be closed somewhat, it is certain that the establishment of what amounts to a Common Travel Area with 25 other countries will more than cancel out any gains in the fight against people-trafficking consequent on joining Schengen. The reality is that Lisbon is part of the race to the bottom by the rich and powerful elites against the Irish working man and woman. The agenda is clear: to legalise illegal immigrant labour and to make it easier to traffick them into Ireland. That is what Lisbon is about, and is another important reason to vote No on October 2nd.

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