Scottish politicians attack ‘going home’ immigration posters as ‘shameful’

A charity has also labelled the Home Office posters displayed in reporting centres ‘racist’

The Home office has been heavily criticised by Scottish politicians and civil society groups for a series of posters placed in immigration reporting centres last month that encourage immigrants to “ask about going home”.

The adverts, which have been on display at reporting centres in Glasgow and Hounslow in West London and offer to book immigrants flights back to their native countries, have been described by MSPs as “shameful”, the Guardian reports.

The Home Office said the posters were designed as part of a campaign to provide those who cannot stay in Britain with “sensitive advice and assistance to help them return home with dignity”.

Positive Action in Housing, a Glasgow-based charity which works with asylum seekers, said the posters were “shameful and deeply offensive”.

Many of those attending the two immigration reporting centres in which the posters are displayed are people applying for asylum and migrant workers with questions about their visas.

Besides traditional posters which display the message “Is life here hard? Going home is simple,” the campaign includes signs on chairs in the waiting area that read, “Ask about going home”.

An aeroplane-shaped poster suspended from the ceiling says, “Let us help you go home.”

Sandra White, the Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow Kelvin and a member of the Scottish parliament's cross-party group on asylum seekers told the newspaper, “Very many asylum seekers are fleeing for their lives, escaping violence and persecution.

“To be greeted with posters urging them to return to the countries they have just fled is totally inappropriate and appalling.

“In my view the campaign borders on the racist. The posters are in an area where most people who go there are African or Asian and to my mind they are there to put fear into people.”

Ms White added that the posters should be removed “as soon as possible”.

Ken MacIntosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood, said, “I think the whole 'go home' campaign has been damaging, and this latest campaign certainly seems to reflect the same sentiment.

”It is a shameful attempt to whip up anti-immigration feeling.“

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing told the BBC, “As we all should know, 'go home' is a well-known racist taunt that has been used for decades in this country by fascists and racists against those of us from immigrant communities.

”That a government agency should decide to take up the same racist and xenophobic refrain while processing would-be refugees to this country, is shameful and deeply offensive.”

An SNP MSP is writing today to Theresa May, the Home Secretary demanding the poster campaign be stopped immediately.

James Dornan, representing Glasgow Cathcart, said, “I am writing to Theresa May to find out if she thinks this type of manipulative messaging to people in very difficult situations is appropriate or not. Did she authorise this campaign? And if not, does she approve of it? And will she commit to ending the use of this inflammatory language immediately?

“There is no room for this type of abhorrent xenophobic campaign which will only serve to make already vulnerable people feel unwelcome and fans the flames of racial bigotry.

”The Home Office has absolutely no idea about how modern Scotland treats vulnerable people - regardless of where they are from. Their campaign [at the UK Border Agency centre in Glasgow] must stop immediately.“

The MSP has also put down a motion in the Scottish parliament calling for an end to the campaign and calling for Scotland to ”have a humane asylum system“.

In a statement to the BBC, the Scottish government said immigration policy was currently reserved to the UK government.

A spokesman added: ”An independent Scotland will also ensure that we uphold our long tradition of providing shelter for those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries.“

A Home Office spokeswoman told the broadcaster that the posters were part of a pilot campaign running at the UKBA in Brand Street, Glasgow, and Hounslow, west London.

She said it was part of a wider policy aimed at highlighting the range of help and advice available to those not eligible to stay in Britain to return home voluntarily.

The spokeswoman said this was more cost-effective and less traumatic than forced removals.

”Those with no right to remain in the UK should leave voluntarily. These posters are designed to ensure people know that we can provide sensitive advice and assistance to help them return home with dignity.

“We also continue to work closely with community groups who welcome the opportunity for someone who is not here legally to leave the country of their own accord.”

This row follows another Home Office publicity campaign which used vans driven across six London boroughs displaying the slogan, “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.”

Ministers were threatened with legal action from clients of migrant community groups who claimed that the rhetoric on the posters breached the government’s duties under equality legislation.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?