Tempers flare over how best to deal with the immigration problem, with one side claiming the other’s solutions are too draconian and not at all befitting the country’s principles. Sound familiar? This fight, however, is being waged in the United Kingdom.
With debate raging in the House over comprehensive immigration reform after the Senate passed its own “Gang of Eight” version in late June, we tend to lose sight of the fact that illegal immigration isn’t a problem unique to America. And it can be instructive — or at least entertaining — to see how other countries are dealing with it.
One group in the UK has taken to driving trucks around London carrying “Immigrant Go Home” billboards, vaguely reminiscent of the “Yankee Go Home” signs occasionally seen where the United States had a presence, according to RT.com.
The billboards’ message reads in full, “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest,” together with a hotline number immigrants can call to receive help such as travel arrangements.
Although some may consider this a bit over-the-top, British Immigration Minister Mark Harper describes it as “an alternative to being led away in handcuffs.” “Every single day our enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK,” said Harper.
adding that the mobile billboards are part of a new push to make it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally. According to UK government figures 28,000 illegal arrivals voluntarily left the UK last year.
The billboards are but the beginning. According to RT:
In conjunction with the billboards numbers of reforms are set to be introduced to combat illegal immigration in the UK. They will include a $4,600 bond which selected visitors from certain countries will be required to pay upon applying for a British visa. The bond will be returned to visitors from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana when they leave the country.
The new policy will come into effect this November of this year.
Not everyone is pleased with the new measures, however. Ex-minister Sarah Teather described them as “nothing less than straightforward intimidation.” “I fear that the only impact of this deeply divisive form of politics will be to create tension and mistrust to anyone who looks and sounds foreign,” she the Guardian.
London counselor Muhhamed Butt remarked that the measures will have little effect except to drive illegal immigrants “further underground.” “I just cannot see how this trick they are trying to use to flush out people is going to work,” Butt told RT. “There is bound to be some impact on the community where people feel stigmatized, isolated and divided.”
Minister Baroness Hanham disagrees. He defended the measures in the House of Lords Wednesday, maintaining that they tackle “the reality of the situation that there are people coming here without jobs and without accommodation.”
Sound familiar, America?
Watch the RT news video.
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