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  • Stupid home office officials


    by Sunny
    1st March, 2007 at 1:52 am    

    A British Asian was held in a detention centre for nearly two months and threatened with deportation to Pakistan because Home Office officials believed he was a foreigner. Immigration officials assumed that Sabbir Ahmed, who speaks with a Lancashire accent, was Pakistani despite the fact that he was born in Blackburn and has a British passport. His parents come from India but also have British citizenship.

    Frances Pilling, manager of the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (South), who met Mr Ahmed in the detention centre, said: “It was obvious straight away that he was British. He had a northern accent. Once you’ve detained somebody how can they reasonably be asked to produce evidence? All they can produce is what they have in their pockets.”

    Mr Ahmed’s case is not an isolated one. A report last year on foreign prisoners by Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons, found regular failings in establishing the nationality of prisoners. In one case an inspection team which interviewed 12 juvenile prisoners identified as foreign found that five of them were British. It quoted one prisoners’ representative as saying: “If you are black officers assume you are a foreign national.” [Guardian]


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    Filed in: Race politics






    57 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Tim Worstall

      My God…

      Over at Pickled Politics. Just further evidence, as if any were needed, that we are ruled by morons….


    2. Deportation Based on Name « The Blog and the Bullet

      [...] Posted by Jack Stephens on March 1st, 2007 Sunny, from Pickled Politics, blogs about how Sabbir Ahmed was almost deported simply because of his name: A British Asian was held in a detention centre for nearly two months and threatened with deportation to Pakistan because Home Office officials believed he was a foreigner. Immigration officials assumed that Sabbir Ahmed, who speaks with a Lancashire accent, was Pakistani despite the fact that he was born in Blackburn and has a British passport. [...]




    1. Riz — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:40 am  

      It’s so absurd you have to laugh, and then cry.

    2. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:50 am  

      He was asked to provide documents proving his nationality but was unable to do so because his passport was at his flat in east London and he could not leave Haslar detention centre in Gosport, Hampshire.

      Heller couldn’t have written it better. I can categorically state this is probably going to happen to me when ID cards are introduced. One forgetful moment, an anti-government rant and it’ll be back to the pindh.

    3. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 6:30 am  

      This kinda cracked me up!

    4. Adnan Y — on 1st March, 2007 at 8:50 am  

      “Immigration officials assumed that Sabbir Ahmed, who speaks with a Lancashire accent, was Pakistani despite the fact that he was born in Blackburn and has a British passport. His parents come from India but also have British citizenship.”

      a) Lanchashire accent.
      b) Born in the Uk
      c) Parents, who have British citizenship, came from India.

      You can see how it’s easy to see that he came from Pakistan, of course. Simple mistake.

      *bangs head against the wall*

    5. Adnan Y — on 1st March, 2007 at 9:06 am  

      That’s meant to be Lancashire and “assume” that he came from Pakistan. Gah.

    6. Sahil — on 1st March, 2007 at 9:54 am  

      I just have this picture in my mind of some Taliban member firing mortars at Nato soldiers and congratulating each other in a broad yorkshire accents.

    7. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 10:22 am  

      This reminds me that its about the bloody time i changed my national alleigences. I guess my Midland accent and indefinite leave dont count for a shit.

    8. Bert Preast — on 1st March, 2007 at 10:34 am  

      Two months? Was he held incommunicado? How come no one popped down to Haslar with his passport for him?

    9. sonia — on 1st March, 2007 at 10:41 am  

      good point bert, that’s what im wondering too. phone call to lawyers /legal aid? family? if that’s the case then its a human rights issue of how prisoners are treated. The whole legal aid is a big issue as well really.

    10. sonia — on 1st March, 2007 at 10:41 am  

      the other question - Home Office officials - or prison officials?

    11. El Cid — on 1st March, 2007 at 10:59 am  

      it also sounds a bit too absurd

    12. Amrit — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:01 am  

      Jesus Fookin’ H. Christ. Now, with all the other things our new breed of super-dumb police officers need to learn, they’ll have to be sent on courses to help them recognise accents originating within THEIR OWN COUNTRY. Cue more opportunities for government money-wastage!

      It’s almost like they’ve been replaced with a force out of Indian soaps, or Bollywood movies. Funny… yet terrifying.

    13. Chairwoman — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:08 am  

      Unbe(insert curse word of choice)lievable!

    14. pounce — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:36 am  

      Before everybody gets their knickers in a twist at how incompetent the old bill are lets look at this story in another light. If this man was finally released after his passport was brought forward, the question has to be asked;
      Why wasn’t it brought out earlier?
      Two sides to every story and just accepting the side which supports your P.O.V is somewhat myopic.

    15. Katherine — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:37 am  

      Although I understand the “for god’s sake he had a Lancashire accent how could they possibly have thought he wasn’t British” reaction, I’d be a bit wary of making this the main thrust - since it opens up the possible (although mistaken) interpretation that someone with a “foreign” accent is not therefore British. Logical fallacy it may be, but given that there are clearly idiots in charge, best not to chance it eh?

    16. Don — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:41 am  

      It looks as though he did the two months legit, for the driving offence, and was faced with deportation at the end of that time. It isn’t clear how long his nationality was doubted. Could have been as little as a few hours.

    17. Sahil — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:41 am  

      I’m a little confused. Did the immigration officers detain him in the UK? And if they did, why didn’t they just take him to his flat to show his passport, or check some database e.g. election roll, to see whether he was British.

    18. Bert Preast — on 1st March, 2007 at 11:55 am  

      Don - don’t think so, Haslar isn’t a prison and the artile does say he was detained there for 48 days.

      I can only conclude that all his friends and family don’t actually like him very much, and wanted to get him deported.

    19. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:03 pm  

      @Bert: very probable…

      that someone with a “foreign” accent is not therefore British.

      Well there are people with British accents who arent British, y’know…

    20. Don — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      Ah, I see. He did two months, then 48 days on top and no-one established his identity? So he has passed through the police, courts, prison and immigration systems and no-one even …

      Stunning incompetence.

    21. Bert Preast — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

      I dunno. If a 34 year old purports to be born and bought up in the UK yet nobody seems to be bothered to send documents to prove it for him you would rather wonder whether he was telling the truth or not. Even if he does have a silly accent.

    22. Roger — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

      ‘He was only freed after campaigners from Haslar visitors’ group got access to his flat to recover his documents, and photocopies were shown to a judge at an appeal hearing against the deportation.’
      Mr Ahmed may have lost touch with his family for a variety of reasons, but presumably the Home Office could have sent someone round his flat to check. It would be a lot cheaper than keeping him locked up for several weeks.
      What if he didn’t have a passport? there are still people who have never been abroad, in fact.

    23. Anna — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

      While I understand those who are saying, “Surely there is more to this story,” I worry that they are seriously overestimating the competence of the Home Office and detention system in particular. Having done some work with BID, I spent a lot of time talking to detention officers who didn’t know where particular detainees were, didn’t know their names (they often reversed their given names and surnames-silly foreigner names, man!), didn’t know their ages, etc. As far as communication (post #8), the centres seem to try as hard as they can to block communication, going as far as moving detainees around to different detention centres overnight without any warning (imagine how much it costs to do something like this that serves no apparent purpose!), thus often cutting them off from their resources. And like I said, they can be almost impossible to find in the system. (Let’s talk about the time I was trying to find a detainee and calling every centre possible only to, hours later, discover that he’d been removed to SUDAN?)

      Detention in this country is nuts and this story is hilarious but totally totally believable. I would not make the mistake of thinking “It’s so absurd that they must have had a good reason.”

    24. William — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      “He was asked to provide documents proving his nationality but was unable to do so because his passport was at his flat in east London and he could not leave Haslar detention centre in Gosport, Hampshire.”

      Do some people still not know in the modern world that the double bind burden of proof should have been given up in the thirteenth century when they were dunking witches. Do some people still no know that it takes some very simple syllogistic logic to work out that the dynamics of double bind situations are….
      well perhaps a tad not logical????????????

    25. JAMES — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

      I bet he is more British then the officers at Home Office. If you cant tell the difference between a Brit and a Pakistani you must be a foreigner.

    26. G. Tingey — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      Erm, isn’t there a serious case of Human-Rights violation here?

      Apart from anything else, it must be unlawful imprisonment - which carries a hefty jail sentence ….
      Plus damages to Mr Ahmed, of course ……

    27. sonia — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

      don#17 and katherine 16 and vikrant on #20 make good points.

    28. soru — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

      I did once meet a guy with an incredibly broad Geordie accent, and a Dutch girlfriend with the same accent. He claimed to have worked for several years as a language teacher in India, resulting in some small town somewhere in India where everyone sounded like him.

    29. arthur clewley — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

      Lancashire is foreign isn’t it. He obviously aroused suspicion by practising his ecky-thump moves on a black pudding in public, seves him right if you ask me

    30. Amir — on 1st March, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

      Lancashire accent? British passport? Born in Blackburn?

      [sighs…]

      Idiots.

    31. Amir — on 1st March, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

      For more idiocy and liberal boobyism, I suggest you read this article.

      ”I told you so” springs to mind. Did anyone listen? No.

      [A more extensive version of the same story can be found here]

    32. Sunny — on 1st March, 2007 at 3:26 pm  

      I love it Amir. Everytime I post such a story you have to post something else in response. I don’t know what that has to do with liberalism since the Prison Service is anything but overrun by liberals.

      Anna - completely agree.

    33. Amir — on 1st March, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

      Sunny,

      (a) “I love it Amir. Everytime I post such a story you have to post something else in response.

      Er, yes, it’s called a “blog.” B-L-O-G.

      (b) “I don’t know what that has to do with liberalism since the Prison Service is anything but overrun by liberals.”

      Read the article. It’s about jobs and race – not the Prison Service specifically.

      Amir

    34. Jagdeep — on 1st March, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

      Yah boo! *blows raspberry* I will post a story unrelated to the thread and subject in discussion because I am so angry with it *farts* and with you for posting it in the first place *pulls pants down runs away*

    35. Kismet Hardy — on 1st March, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

      Gordon Brown is putting forward a proposal to make people applying for citizenship do community service. Seeing as my passport application is still being considered, I fear I’ll have to do a Boy George and take lots of cocaine and have bum sex

    36. bananabrain — on 1st March, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

      amir,

      seriously, mate, what is up with you at the moment? you’re so sensible normally and now you’re acting all mr angry mcoutraged. what is that about?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    37. Jagdeep — on 1st March, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

      I fear I’ll have to do….have bum sex

      Why fear it? Just close your eyes and think of Brick Lane…

    38. Sahil — on 1st March, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

      “Why fear it? Just close your eyes and think of Brick Lane…”

      What spicy curries :D

    39. bananabrain — on 1st March, 2007 at 4:52 pm  

      is that the “brick lane bum sex revenge”, then - eat a vindaloo in advance so you can burn the other chap’s nob when he sticks it it?

      i ask merely for information - am hallucinating a bit at the moment due to fasting.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    40. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

      I read the news today
      Oh boy
      Ten thousand wogs in Blackburn, Lancashire

    41. Amir — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

      Jay Singh, er, sorry… Jagdeep

      Sunny says some pretty ridiculous things about race and about culture, but at least he has the decency not to terrorize his detractors or right-wing opponents. Notwithstanding our political differences, I respect Sunny’s commitment to free speech and an open-ended, unpredictable and occasionally heated blogging discourse. That contrasts, rather starkly, with my lack of respect for an abusive ignoramus like yourself.

      Be that as it may, plenty of people go off topic on a PP thread. If it’s giving you grief, then I sincerely apologise for doing so and will try to resist the temptation in future. But I don’t see how an institutionally racist policy against whites can be deemed “off topic” on a thread supposedly about racism.

      Bannanbrain

      At the risk of sounding mawkish and uncharacteristically self-pitying, I’d just like to say that I’ve experienced some rather nasty, gnawing, recent episodes of racial abuse. And yes; it has changed my views on the unquestioned assumption that diversity is intrinsically valuable. Ever since my arrival in an atomized and anonymous city like London, I’ve developed a much stronger and deeper sense of being Caucasian. My racial identity in Manchester was extraordinarily weak; but in London I feel very self-conscious and also strangely self-assertive about my ethnic origins. Maybe it’s a temporary phenomenon? Who knows? The only thing I can say with any real certainty is that my alienation is having a deleterious affect on my ability to think dispassionately and cogently. I’m not a skin-bigot. Not by any stretch of the imagination. My only beef, at this present moment, is with the lies and hypocrisy of the Race-Relations Industry.

      Amir :-(

    42. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      Jay Singh, er, sorry… Jagdeep

      Who’s Jay Singh and why the insinuation that Jagdeep is Jay Singh? hmmmm?

    43. bananabrain — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

      amir,

      i’m sorry to hear you’re down in the dumps. and i appreciate what an unpleasant place london can be, particularly compared to manchester. only yesterday i was considering upping sticks after yelling at someone on the today programme for suggesting it was fair that everyone got an equally bad deal in the school places lottery. it’s ridiculous really - there’s no property left to buy, the roads, rails and tube are crammed to bursting and there are not enough places in schools. and we’re all going to have to sell our own homes to pay for being old. what is up with the country? don’t we pay enough tax already? it seems to me like all incentive to better myself is gradually being removed as the distance widens between the haves (ie bought their houses already) and the have-nots (everyone else) and nowhere is this more apparent than in london. if anyone has any suggestions on how i can blame this on ken livingstone i am open to hearing them.

      i think jagdeep’s rather sensible, actually, so it’s a shame if you two can’t get on. perhaps i can broker a truce here?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    44. Jagdeep — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      At the risk of sounding mawkish and uncharacteristically self-pitying, Ever since my arrival in an atomized and anonymous city like London, I’ve developed a much stronger and deeper sense of being Caucasian. My racial identity in Manchester was extraordinarily weak; but in London I feel very self-conscious and also strangely self-assertive about my ethnic origins.

      Amir, you always cheer me up, that’s hilarious! Let us know how your caucasian pride develops. And yes, who is Jay Singh? Jai used to accuse me in a spooky manner of being this chap too. Maybe Jai and Amir are one and the same person? And Refresh is Sid in disguise. Etc etc etc.

    45. Amir — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

      Brain,

      “…i think jagdeep’s rather sensible”

      I think the previous post rather dispels that notion.

      [But anyway, thanks for the empathy bruv :-) ]

    46. Sahil — on 1st March, 2007 at 6:03 pm  

      Amir you post #42 was quite interesting, especially this:

      “Ever since my arrival in an atomized and anonymous city like London, I’ve developed a much stronger and deeper sense of being Caucasian. My racial identity in Manchester was extraordinarily weak; but in London I feel very self-conscious and also strangely self-assertive about my ethnic origins.”

      Why? Does London feel less British than Manchester, or is it just big city syndrome? Why are you especially feeling self-conscious? This is a serious question BTW.

    47. raz — on 1st March, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

      Jay Singh was a legendary former poster of PP, who mysteriously vanished into thin air one day. Some (well me anyway) have speculated he was assasinated by Sunny, others that he has adopted the name of Jagdeep (I don’t think so). Who knows the truth?

    48. Kismet Hardy — on 1st March, 2007 at 6:38 pm  

      I’m jay singh. But jagdeep is bananabrain and amir is sunny and no one wants to be me

    49. justforfun — on 1st March, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

      No ! - I’m Jay Singh

    50. William — on 1st March, 2007 at 7:14 pm  

      No you’re Spartacus I’m Jay Singh

    51. El Chairwoman — on 1st March, 2007 at 9:15 pm  

      Jay Singh supported Liverpool too

    52. Katherine — on 2nd March, 2007 at 11:46 am  

      Vikrat @ #20 - yes, that was rather my point - that accent does not necessarily point to citizenship, generally.

    53. Amir — on 3rd March, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

      Sahil,

      “Why? Does London feel less British than Manchester, or is it just big city syndrome? Why are you especially feeling self-conscious?”

      I found your question incredibly disturbing because it made me think long and hard about my life, my temperament, goals and aspirations, my political philosophy, but also about the traditional left vs. right divide. Let me quote a passage from Prospect magazine to summarize how I feel about London.

      Michael Lind, political writer

      Patria vs Plutopia. This is the conflict that is already replacing the left vs right debate as the deepest ideological divide in modern societies. Patria: suburban, decentralised, nationalist, melting pot, predominantly native-born, working class and middle class, democratic. Plutopia: urban, centralised, cosmopolitan, multicultural, largely foreign-born, inegalitarian, plutocratic.

      Globalisation empowers economic and cultural capitals like New York and London to become city-states like Singapore. Unlike in the past, the glittering, vertical cities of the Plutopian archipelago will be able to obtain most of their consumers, most of their labour and, even, perhaps, most of their inhabitants from countries other than their own. Meanwhile, the majority of citizens in the leafy, horizontal homelands of Patria, employed in domestic service sector jobs that have no connection to the global economy, will commute from suburban dwellings to suburban work sites, and will seldom if ever go downtown. “One country, two systems,” will soon describe most societies. One by one, the issues confronting modern democracies—immigration, trade, multiculturalism, taxation, national security, even affordable housing—are breaking off and floating away from the old left-right axes and aligning themselves like magnetised iron filings along the new Patria-Plutopia divide. The war between Patria and Plutopia is already under way. Because each side needs the other, let us hope it ends in a treaty.

      Now, which one of these do you think summarizes my views vis-à-vis Sunny’s?

      Yep, you guessed it.

      Amir = Patria

      Sunny = Plutopia.

      Could I ask the Picklers a personal question? Which one of these categories best accounts for their views of the “good life”? Serious answers.

    54. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd March, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

      This reminds of me of a little known goddess who used to go by the name of Anna Patria of Eleusis, second cousin of Valkyrie, slayed in the crusade by the super skrull monks of ashbey de la zouch. The reason cited for her disposal was that she planned to change Jesus’ birthday from a time of fear and guilt to one where everyone partied, sang and discussed the possibility that the universe rested on two giant turtles with wings. So the fathers of the land sent a trio of parisian assassins, disguised as chickens, to dispose of her.

      But to this day, thanks to the pagans who kept the spirit of the goddess alive, you can still hear songs sung in her praise every christmas. Which is why we sing: Three French hens, Two turtle doves, Anna Patria Anna Party

      Fact

    55. Jai — on 4th March, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

      =>”Jai used to accuse me in a spooky manner of being this chap too.”

      Hey, stop talking about me behind my back, people…..

      Jai definitely had some suspicions, but he also used to repeatedly use smiley faces when making such comments in order to emphasise that they were meant as friendly banter. “Accuse” is too strong a word and not applicable here, and I sure as hell don’t do “spooky”.

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