i Editor's Letter: a very different Catch of the Day



One of the things I take for granted, in rather a blasé manner, is being able to walk down the street  unmolested. Well, apart from the chuggers, and the woman with the scriptures leaflets who can reliably be found outside our office.

Good thing I have white skin, because in recent days border  officials have started conducting spot checks on members of the  public at train stations, stopping people who look a bit... you know, foreign. To see if they’re illegal immigrants. Nice.

Raiding companies suspected of employing scores of people without work visas (for instance) is allowed under UK Border Agency rules. But officers are not allowed to go  “fishing” on the street in search of people to deport, to boost their numbers and impress Theresa May – let alone undertake racial  profiling, which is the allegation of the last few days.

In the Border Agency’s own words: “All enforcement visits constitute immigration work of the most sensitive kind. An undertaking has been given to Parliament that  [officers] will not carry out  speculative immigration visits (‘fishing’ expeditions). It is essential that before any enforcement visit is made, the name of the possible offender is known and all checks have been made.” Twenty-one  people had been arrested during the spot checks on suspected immigration offences. As for the rest of you who were stopped – well, chin up.

Is this the sort of society we want to live in, picking out people on the basis of their appearance as they go to work, to ask if their papers are in order? I won’t be surprised by a  full postbag on this one, anyway. Til tomorrow.


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