Crackdown on illegal immigrants

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The Independent Online
The Home Secretary, Michael Howard, is to announce a new crackdown on illegal immigrants who use public services such as health and housing, the Home Office said last night.

The proposals are due to be unveiled within a fortnight but a leaked document has detailed how officials will be required to check the national status of individuals seeking their help.

Civil liberties groups say the scheme, which will focus on police, health, housing and welfare services, could even be extended into schools and universities.

Claude Moraes, spokesman for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said it signalled a swing towards a more nationalistic agenda, undermining race relations. "This will produce a situation where confidential information will become widely available. There is the concern that administrators in the health, housing and education services, who have no training in these matters, will suddenly be asked to decide whether someone is an illegal immigrant or not," he added.