Immigration - a problem of control

I have to take issue with Dr Carl Walker’s letter (Express 3 October) regarding immigrants.

How does he know that the vast majority of immigrants who come here are young, healthy, work and pay taxes, is he including the untold number of illegal immigrants?

Last year I moved to Sussex from North West London and can speak from first hand experience. In the close where I lived there were diverse nationalities but all voiced their concerns about the increase of foreigners in the area. Immigrant friends of mine avoided going out in the evening for fear of Somalian gangs. There were other first generation immigrants who told me the British were their own worst enemy, we were too accommodating encouraging misuse of our facilities. Others were concerned they were no longer residing in a multi-cultural society but living in little India.

One local shopkeeper originally from Sierra Leone, whom I had known for several years, told me he was scared for his children and considering moving back. In another shop an intimidating Asian shopkeeper would not speak to me in English. Frequently I was the only white face on the bus and often the only person speaking English. The doctor’s surgery and hospital waiting rooms were full of other nationalities and you could count on one hand an English person. There were occasions when I stood in our local pharmacy behind a queue of women in niqabs, who were collecting free prescriptions. I have also seen these women straddle the pavement and urinate. One elderly Asian woman I saw regularly over the years could not speak English and we used to communicate by sign language.

Until you have lived in an area where immigrants have overwhelmed the local population I don’t think you can really understand the root problems. I do, however, agree with Dr Carl Walker that the NHS is still a wonderful health organisation, and I have very good reason to say that, but it cannot continue to act like an international service on a national budget. Already its services are stretched to breaking point and often it is those who have need of it most who feel the greatest repercussions.”

Rita Boswell