Wednesday 7 March 2007

The new weapon against illegal immigration: the Text Message

John Reid has announced new measures to deter illegal immigrants. Placed prominently among these is a plan to send text messages to people overstaying their visas, asking them not to.

One can see the point. If I haven't paid off my credit card bills a week before the deadline, Barclaycard texts me to remind me to do so.

The problem is, of course, that Barclaycard only send me a reminder to do something I planned to do anyway. John Reid apparently believes that sending a text message to people on the verge of becoming illegal immigrants will cause them to turn back from the brink, and return, suitably chastened, to their native land. Not bloody likely!

However, Dr Reid's proposals, which seem to me to be no more than a typical New Labour smokescreen: doing nothing while shouting loudly about it, have riled some on the far-left (which I suppose means that the proposals were not totally pointless).
Notably, Habib Rahman, of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, has this to say:

"Barring up to half a million irregular migrants in the UK from access to rights and services is not a realistic or humane response. We need a more balanced approach, not just hyping up public emotions on some very emotive subjects."

"Irregular migrants" is an interesting way of putting it. It's rather like saying that Harold Shipman was an irregular doctor. These people are not just "irregulars" (a word that puts me in mind of Captain Mainwaring and his men of the Home Guard), they are illegals - they are criminals. I fail to see what "access to rights and services" they should have, since they have no legal or moral right to be here at all.
As for "hyping up public emotions": it seems that Mr Rahman's argument here is much the same of that of the Oxford students trying to sack Professor David Coleman - "Don't tell the truth, it might make people angry."

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