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Local immigration enforcement

Local immigration enforcement

I just came across a surprising Home Office press release. Usually, Home Office immigration press releases are recycled and re-used dribble. The ‘new’ ‘points’ based ‘system’ (I’d question the accuracy of all of these words) has been announced again and again and again, for example.

This one might just be a bit different. The stuff about local immigration teams is frankly disturbing. I have christened them Smith’s Home Office Immigration Teams, or SHITs. The Home Office can’t control their people with a highly centralised system, so a devolved one is asking for trouble. There are already too many illegal removals resulting in compensation claims, unlawful detentions and incidents like this. The tone of the press release makes these SHITs sound like some sort of sinister neighbourhood watch, except aimed at immigrants rather than criminals. Who will they be working alongside in local communities? Those who want their neighbour deported? I called the Immigration Advisory Service — a charity that represents immigrants — about a case the other day and had to convince some call centre battery chicken that I wasn’t calling to shop an illegal immigrant before I could get through. It is a sign of the times that they have to screen their calls in this way.

Check out this quote from Councillor Mike Rye, Leader of Conservative-controlled Enfield Council:

“Having a UKBA officer in situ in our offices will be an immense help in all areas of our work – I am really pleased that Enfield Council has been chosen to pilot this new way of working. This partnership will be a great asset in helping us combat fraud, speeding up checks on the immigration status of people applying for council services, and improving the exchange of information between the Council and the UK Border Agency for child protection purposes.”

I thought I’d check out the press release claim that the names of defaulting employers who employ illegal immigrants are to be published on the Home Office website. It’s true! They are actually doing it. They are bravely taking down major players in the international people trafficking business like, er, chip shops and take aways. I don’t see the directors of supermarkets or big food processing companies being done yet. Instead we’ll have small ethnic minority employers being forced out of business, or the SHITs growing fat on fast food and take away protection-in-kind.

The fines are bad news for those concerned – £5,000 or £10,000 a pop. I’d have thought that is enough to put most small businesses out of commission. Well done, Jacqui, it’s not as if there’s a recession around the corner or anything. Putting these people and their employees out of jobs and into debt is really going to help, both with community cohesion and with the economy.

Free Movement
The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.

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