Earlier this week, by leafy Kensal Green train station North West London, uniformed staff from UK Border Agency (UKBA), supported by the police were spot checking commuters on their eligibility to stay in the UK.
According to the few eye witness reports the authorities where up to their racial profiling tricks and going for the easy targets of darker looking individuals. [Prime Minister Cameron and his Home Office ministers should take heed by the comments made recently by his buddy President Obama on ignorance that is racial profiling.]
This publicity stunt in this manner-was laughable, embarrassing and achieves little in the way of effective controlled immigration.
How they can anyone look at someone else and tell if they are not a British/European passport holder requires some super power skill that no one in UKBA staff can never claim to possess. The wider society -at times-is also part of this ignorance culture as well.
How many times does a black or Asian British born person gets asked in the UK “Where are you from?”. To which I always answer “I am from here, London. Same place William was born…. Where are YOU from?” The ignorance and assumptions we make clouds good judgement and creates wrong perceptions. [Even earlier this month a woman said outside my flat in Kilburn (5 minutes from Kensal Green) “I don’t know which country you are from….”] – huh?
The immigration issues has been exacerbated thanks mainly to the incompetence and ignorance of the policy makers in government and the lame practices by the UKBA – –frontline to senior management. One must also include UKBA outsourced partners such as G4S – who killed Jimmy Mubenga.
Over the years numerous independent reports have highlighted these poor practices and services of the UKBA/Home Office on immigration/asylum casework handling. Then nothing happens. Only in March this year the Home Affairs Select Committee report stated [by the current Chief Executive] that it would take 24 years to clear the backlog of applications on immigration and asylum cases.
But the head of the UKBA at the time during in its serious failings era –Lin Homer- was severely criticised by the Home Affairs Select Committee early this year. Homer’s career has blossomed she left the UKBA and she is now Chief Executive of the HM Revenue and Customs. So if those at the time are not accountable for their poor leadership then how does any expect the UKBA to improve?
[“Lin Homer, who was in charge of the Agency for much of the period in question, has repeatedly misled the Committee over the size of the asylum backlog and still refuses to take responsibility for her failings” – Home Affairs Select Committee]
Some of those same applicants sitting in the backlog would love to leave the UK but the UKBA has held on to their respective passports for processing purposes that can take months and in some cases years.
The Illegal immigrant issue is such a soft target and deflector for Governments and their failings. Western countries in particular hide behind immigrant issue whenever the economic policies are not working. So given the poor economic state of most Western countries immigrants bashing is an easy sport to play.
The current Coalition government and the last Labour governments are equally culpable of winding up masses on the “swamping” of immigrants. Then do nothing about having any coherent measures to deal with the issue. I ran out of times hearing Labour Home Sectaries such as Jacqui Smith, David Blunkett and John Reid ranting about what they were planning to do on the topic.
Just imagine how effective the Labour Governments – post 2003 – would have been had they concentrated on clearing the immigration/asylum applications and not wasted up to 300 million pounds in developing the National ID card program which the Coalition then scraped once they came into office.
So until governments fixes the UKBA problem the immigration issue will continue be a regular talking topic and gimmicks like the “Go Home” mobiles will be go down in modern history as another poorly thought out action.
- that society is more aware that many of the non-white looking folks in the UK are British. [Racial profiling waste resources, allows for lazy decision making and is counter-productive]
- the UKBA acquire a more competent and coherent staff force throughout it’s structure rather than the many that are stuck there who lack motivation.
- the UKBA puts incentives in place for staff to be paid based on the clearance rates. And if the staff are not up to it to get rid. UKBA clears the application backlog in 24 months rather than the 24 years quoted.
- that maybe, just maybe the UK could take some lessons from the recent bi-partisan workings of the US Senate in passing an Immigration Bill. Not a prefect solution but who would have believed that Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Democrat Chuck Schumer would agree on something like immigration?
I await the UKBA carrying out similar spot checking exercises by Harlesden, Brixton and Earls Court tube stations. Maybe it’s the UKBA (or whatever their new name is) that needs to be spot checked by members of the public.