A topic which undoubtedly skewed the referendum result towards Leave. A topic which has been debated widely since I can remember. A topic that still divides us: immigration.

It’s a topic where I can see both sides of the argument. As a person with strong political opinions, this is very rare for me! Immigration is an issue that we need to debate sensibly and without xenophobia or racism. People who are pro-mass immigration shouldn’t automatically accuse those who want strict immigration controls of being xenophobic.

In my view, the UK is only a small island compared to a lot of other countries across the world. Open door immigration has increased our population’s density, causing concern for many people. If the EU didn’t force their members to allow free movement between the 28 countries (perhaps soon to be 27), the referendum result would probably have been different.

One of the biggest downsides of immigration is the strain placed on already-stretched resources as more and more people come to the UK. I’m not blaming EU nationals for wishing to come here. They have every right to do so, for now at least. Britain remains a very attractive place to live in for many reasons, including higher wages, better living conditions, and by having many historical landmarks that give it a certain elegance.

You may also be saying: what about our birth rate? Surely our population will rise anyway because more people are born in the UK than those who pass away. True. But it is also the case that only by reducing immigration, will we start to address the likely problems that may come with overpopulation in the future. It is not the only solution, but it’s a good start.

The Government also needs to have a practical policy for reducing the need to build on greenfield sites. Greenfield sites are locations which haven’t yet been built on. By reducing our population through stricter immigration controls, we can try and prevent building on these valuable and vulnerable areas that house trees and wildlife.

With climate change now being a huge issue across the world, the UK needs to take control and address this. Reduced immigration could mean less pollution from transport and less pressure on non-renewable resources. It’s all about getting a balance between having tighter immigration controls and bringing in the people we need to help the country thrive economically and socially.

Without question, immigration has its advantages. It brings diversity and the chance for different cultures to come together as one. The exchange of ideas can better be achieved in a culturally varied society, and that’s something that was severely lacking in previous centuries.

Not only have our attitudes towards people of different ethnicities and nationalities changed, but laws have also been passed to address the need for diversity and to protect the rights of others. Amongst these is the 2010 Equality Act, aimed at promoting a no-tolerance policy to racism.

Many reports have also claimed that there’s a desperate need for EU doctors and nurses to work for our NHS; a part of the public sector which has struggled for years. Our population is rising and the strain on the NHS has increased in tandem. If Brexit is achieved, a careful immigration policy will need to be implemented to attract people from abroad to fill jobs in industries where there’s a deficit of qualified UK nationals.

People of different nationalities don’t only fill the jobs that we need, they also bring different cultures and cuisines to the United Kingdom. That’s part of what makes Britain special; all the different foods and traditions avaialble to all of us, which bring us together as one people.

All the different nationalities under one roof, so to speak, is also an invaluable learning experience for school children. They learn from a young age all about making friends with those who are of a different nationality and / or race to them. This arguable is the best way of eradicating racism once and for all.

It’s great that we are generally a tolerant nation. However, we do need to be able to differentiate between those that are genuinely racist and those who are concerned. People like Nigel Farage are not racist, they just want immigration controls which are reasonably strict.

It will be down to the Government to implement the necessary controls which should be fair, beneficial to the UK, and ideally help us to tackle the potential problem of overpopulation in the future.

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