Friday, 9 October 2009

MailWatch #5

It's time again for yet another instalment of our occasional service debunking migration stories in the Daily Mail, self-styled 'Last Bulwark Against The Tide Of Filth That Is Threatening To Engulf Civilisation'™

Why is it that the Daily Mail has a total lack of understanding of migration issues? Their latest migration-related piece - 'Labour relaxes the rules to let 40,000 asylum seekers stay' [09/10/09] - continues the odious career of the paper's barely comprehensible rants about all things foreign, especially when they are foreigners here in good old Blighty.

The 40,000 figure actually relates to 40,000 files for various types of migrants and visitors who were told by the Home Office prior to 2003 that they no longer had a right to stay in the UK. So that is people on work permits, already granted temporary leave to remain, on student visas and visitor visas who were all subsequently turned down for extensions to their stay. NOT ONE SINGLE ASYLUM SEEKER amongst them.

The details come from a leaked memo, entitled 'Restricted – Policy. Completion of the legacy exercise', from Matthew Coats, the head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, to Home Secretary Alan Johnson and Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister detailing changes in guidelines designed to grant indefinite leave to remain for the 40,000. And the reason why the guidelines were being changed was because the UKBA have no way of telling if any of the 40.000 had remained in the UK, as up until recently no checks were made on who was leaving the country, and would be almost impossible to locate all those who had remained.

Yet one would be hard pressed to work that out from the Mail's version of events. The reason they give is that "it would be virtually impossible to send many of them back as they were from countries with poor human rights records such as Zimbabwe, Somalia, Iran and China." i.e. blame it on the Human Rights Act again (though to give them their due, they don't actually say that this time).

And to top it all, what do we have but yet another photograph of Calais migrants queuing for "food handouts" (not charity from French humanitarian volunteers - 'bloody spongers' being the obvious subtext here) illustrating a story about historic migrants from pre-2003!

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