FORGET for a moment the claims and counter claims, the scaremongering, smears and juvenile insults that have characterised the EU debate thus far.
Instead let’s look at some cold, hard facts produced by impeccably impartial organisations with no axe to grind for either side.
So, to this end, this week I’ve been reading the latest report produced jointly by the international police network, Interpol, and the EU’s own security organisation, Europol.
This document clinically analyses the threats to European security posed by the growing and increasingly lucrative people smuggling industry.
And despite the sober tone and understated language its conclusions are absolutely chilling.
If you are not worried about this issue, then you are simply not paying sufficient attention. The report states that more than 90 per cent of migrants coming to the EU are helped by criminal gangs, and many of the smugglers involved have previously been involved in other types of serious crime.
They have turned to smuggling because it is a very profitable business. The costs are low; risks of being caught negligible; demand is high and increasing and profit margins wide.
The Interpol/Europol report estimates the turnover of migrant smuggling rackets in Europe amount to between $5bn to $6bn (£3.42bn to £4.1bn) a year, mainly paid in cash.
The report states that control measures adopted by EU countries have actually made the people smuggling problem worse.
The authors say people smuggling is an international business with suspects originating from more than 100 counties both inside and outside of the EU.
They say also that many migrants are very vulnerable people who are targeted for labour and sexual exploitation, which is likely to increase in coming years.
But it is the report’s findings on the security risks to European civilians that really turn the blood to ice.
It says: “There is an increased risk that foreign terrorist fighters may use the migratory flows to (re)enter the EU.”
It points out that jihadi fighters have already used Europe’s porous borders and freedom of movement rules to carry out atrocities – for example two of the Paris attackers last November entered the EU through Greece as part of the large influx of refugees from Syria.
The report predicts an increase in the number of migrants entering the EU. This year’s migrant flows are likely to top last year’s 1.1 million and around 800,000 migrants are waiting in Libya alone to travel to Europe, it says.
No doubt the Guardian and the BBC will tell us all these migrants are poets, software engineers and consultant oncologists, and perhaps many of them are. But if even a tiny proportion turn out to be trained killers with a hatred for the West, then we have a serious problem on our hands.
Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, has previously said that between 3,000 and 5,000 jihadis trained in Islamic State terror camps are now back circulating in Europe.
That potentially represents an awful lot of attacks on the scale of Paris and Brussels, and if this latest report is to be believed the problem is likely to get much, much worse.
And don’t forget that Turkey is now on a fast track to become a full member of the EU.
This not only means more than 75 million Turks will gain the right to live and work in any EU state, including the UK, but also that the EU will have a wide open land border with the jihadi hotspots of Iraq and Syria. This won’t end well.
What these figures mean is that a vote to remain is not a vote for the safety of the status quo.
What we are witnessing is a complete transformation of the EU, and it will change out of all recognition over the next decade.
No one knows quite where it will end up, but the risks to security are enormous.
Of course leaving the EU wouldn’t immunise us against these problems. People smugglers are resourceful people and no doubt they would still try to get their clients into the UK even if we reclaimed our independence next month.
But surely in such dangerous and uncertain times, having some control over our borders is better than having absolutely none at all?