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  • Deport Charles Clarke?

    by Rohin
    29th April, 2006 at 1:14 pm    

    Over the last few years, bombs and planes have provoked a movement to try to formalise what it is to be British. It’s hardly a new phenomenon but it has gathered steam as of late. However, it has now been revealed that a guide to citizenship that was intended to sit alongside the test is peppered with errors. On closer inspection the errors are not necessarily howlers, but have been excused by the authors as “it was done fairly quickly because we didn’t want to keep immigrants waiting for their citizenship.”

    On the subject of immigration, and I ask this question as I don’t know the answer, will the Charles Clarke debacle have any effect on immigration? Without revisiting all the details as I’m sure you’re sick of hearing how many were lost, how many were murderers and so forth, something struck me. The 1000-odd people who were released without consideration for deportation had all served their sentence. Yet the media seems to be portraying the error as the Home Office deliberately and knowingly let criminals out to re-offend.

    Of course, what has happened is inexcusable. Some of these re-offenders may have been deported and the crimes could have been prevented. But essentially what has happened is these immigrants have been treated as British citizens. A British prisoner leaves prison after his sentence and frequently re-offends. So I can’t help but feel that the fact these people were foreigners has been over-emphasised. Am I wrong?

    In light of the revelation that one of the young men responsible for the horrific rape and murder of Mary-Ann Leneghan was an illegal immigrant from Kosovo, will immigration procedures come under scrutiny? It is clear that much needs to change despite last month’s immigration overhaul.

    The government is now looking at ways to fast-track criminals out of the country in response to the Home Office palava. It is seeking to further relations with Jamaica and Nigeria - two countries which make up a significant proportion of the overseas prison population in the UK. We have already mentioned the controversial recent changes to immigration policy impacting on foreign (non-EU) doctors, despite the points-based system having been designed to favour skilled migrants, and The Home Office’s failed attempt to pass an anti-sham marriage law.

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    Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs,Party politics

    9 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Sunny — on 29th April, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

      I was thinking the same too. Sure, given that these people are foreign criminals… but such a huge hoo-haa when they’ve essentially served their time? Either the British public does not believe anyone who serves their time should be let go, or 1000 people are going to over-run the country. Or…..

    2. Vladimir — on 29th April, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

      I agree with the statement, though not knowing the facts I would predict that there are a 100 times that amount of indigenous criminals on the streets, in comparison to immigrant criminals. But then again this recent news allows us to continue is our much beloved Xenophobia.

    3. Vladimir — on 29th April, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

      In addition the idea of fast tracking criminals out of the country is a good idea, as long as ALL criminals are. They could be deported to Australia…

    4. Roger — on 29th April, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

      All these filthy foreign criminals stealing jobs from our fellow-british criminals…Er…

    5. nephthys — on 30th April, 2006 at 1:21 am  

      Well the British public have no choice but to accept that homegrown criminal scum will be released and that a high percentage of them will reoffend, they might find it a tad nauseating to give imported criminal scum the chance to remain so they can also reoffend.


    6. Al-Hack — on 30th April, 2006 at 2:31 am  

      Even I can see the government’s immigration policy is fucked. Not because it is badly formed but because it is very badly managed. Get rid of the whole department.

    7. Trofim — on 30th April, 2006 at 11:41 am  

      there are a 100 times that amount of indigenous criminals on the streets, in comparison to immigrant criminals

      But Vladimir, we’re all immigrants. There is no such thing as an indigenous Briton, so I’m repeatedly told by those of a guardianesque persuasion, diversity managers etc. So there is no such distinction as indigenous criminal v. immigrant criminal.

    8. Bondwoman — on 30th April, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

      Interesting post and thread. The issue is inevitably complicated by the fact that foreign prisoners get treated differently in prison - very few rehabilitation programmes, etc. That probably applies even to those who are actually permanently resident in this country with families, friends, etc., and who then offend and are imprisoned. And those who have fallen into the category we’ve heard so much about in the last few days will be more likely to reoffend, as they can only live illegally in the UK, and will have very few other resources to fall back upon in order to avoid reoffending. Hence the reoffending rate might be expected to be even higher than normal. On the other hand, every state as far as I know routinely claims the right to deport those who commit serious offences, and the only obstruction to this might be international human rights, if to do so would effectively render a person stateless. Plus, it is hard to counter the argument that the primary role of the Home Secretary in the UK is to protect the UK public (citizens and residents), and it is less his concern whether those in question might reoffend overseas. Difficult question, I think, and worth thinking more about.

    9. sonia — on 2nd May, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

      vladimir is right up above. anyway i don’t quite understand what the whole hoo-ha is about. policies being changed? as far as i can see, the perceived problem is that the policies weren’t enacted - i.e. they couldn’t send the ‘foreign’ criminals off . why not? because of a lack of information and proper databases which meant one agency didn’t know that another agency has a bunch of rules which they’re meant to be following. given the state of government IT infrastructure, this should come as a suprise to NO-ONE. but as people have correctly noted, this ‘scandal’ gives plenty of people opportunities to drag up the ‘immigration’ hoo-ha, and politicians the opportunity to smear other politicians.

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