VERY few asylum seekers are genuine with many trying to cheat the system, says Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.
He believes many economic migrants are making false claims so they will be allowed to stay in Britain.
He said: “Very few of those who claim asylum are genuine asylum seekers – they are immigrants who want to come to our country. A very small number are in danger of persecution in their own countries.”
Mr Sheerman believes economic migrants should not be treated as political refugees.
He said: “Many people come here from poor countries because of the economic opportunities in Britain. My heart goes out to them, but we have to have rules and those rules should be fairly and firmly enforced.
“I was taught by my mother that cheats shouldn’t prosper.”
Mr Sheerman thinks it would be wrong to offer an amnesty to those who have entered the country illegally.
He said: “We don’t have an obligation to allow those who smuggle themselves into Britain to remain – we have an obligation to assess them.
“I have constituents who’ve had to wait patiently for weeks, months or even years for family members to be allowed to come to this country.”
And Mr Sheerman said people in Huddersfield were worried about the issue.
“I’m concerned about the number of illegal immigrants in this country and it’s a concern to my constituents as well,’’ he said. “I know how difficult the whole issue of immigration and asylum is.”
But Mr Sheerman added he would do his best for anyone who came to him with a problem.
He said: “I will help anyone who comes to my surgery and I will stand up for genuine asylum seekers.”
Huddersfield members of Amnesty International wrote to the MP on September 20 raising concerns about the plight of detained asylum seekers – including pregnant women and torture victims.
Mr Sheerman, who is a member of Amnesty, said: “I would certainly agree that vulnerable people should be treated with sensitivity and compassion.”