(or the Year because it really is a doozy!)
"I think we are well on to the way to becoming a world class asylum system." - Lin Homer, Chief Executive UKBA on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.
The immigration system apologists certainly have been on the offensive over the past few days following both the coverage of the Yarl's Wood hunger strike; MP's calls for an inquiry into it; Al Aynsley-Green's report on Yarl's Wood, the chief inspector of the UKBA John Vine's claims today that government targets of dealing with 90 per cent of asylum cases within six months, plans to clear the 450,000 "legacy" historic files by 2011 were "unachievable" with current resources and that a new backlog of unresolved cases was building up;  and yesterday's release of the latest Office of National Statistics migration figures. All this on top of the right-wing press' sustained immigration-related assault orchestrated by the Tories and Alan Green's vanity project MigrationBotch.
Tough times for Woolas and his cronies. So much so that he appears to be cracking, letting his mask slip on Newsnight after being challenged about so-called 'large-scale migration' into an area, claimed that "My own family, my children, have suffered from that and we recognise that point ..." Further compounding his faux pas by adding "Well, if you get, as the gentleman says, if you get a big influx of people coming into an area, Slough Council, Peterborough Council, have raised this point, that is the price you pay." Needless to say the yellow press were swift to jump on his comments, with the Mail taking the opportunity to trot out the same old tired arguments about migration. He has since been notably ascent from the airwaves, thus avoiding an embarrassing explanation of his bizarre claim.
Pride of place in these massed PR responses surely goes to the letter to MPs from Home Office Minister Meg Hiller in response to press, and in particular the Guardian's, coverage of the Yarl's Wood hunger strike. Her basic argument is that 'you are all liars'. "The current misreporting, based on inaccurate and fabricated statements by those who campaign against our policy, is irresponsible as it causes unnecessary distress to the women at Yarl’s Wood, their family and friends and those who work at the Centre to ensure the detainees are treated with respect." 
She then goes on to repeat her own chosen set of 'untruths' such as "detention is only used when people have refused to leave the country voluntarily, despite support being offered for them to do so, and we have to enforce that removal", that the women are not in fact on hunger strike, that Yarl's Wood staff have never displayed any form of racist behaviour and that "detainees are treated with dignity and respect". Then as final icing on the top of this confection, we get: "The current misreporting, based on inaccurate and fabricated statements by those who campaign against our policy, is irresponsible as it causes unnecessary distress to the women at Yarl’s Wood, their family and friends and those who work at the Centre to ensure the detainees are treated with respect." 
 On the issue of the government's claims to be keeping up with its government-set targets, a Welsh whistle-blower has revealled just how the UKBA have massaged the figures to conjure up a 75% success rate for processing asylum claims within the target 6 month limit.
 Thereby repeating the same points that the UKBA had made about the Aynsley-Green report the week before, namely that it contained "factual inaccuracies" and that in some areas, it was "misguided and wrong." There is an interesting follow-up article in the Guardian about this very point.
 She is definitely at pains to point out the level and degree of 'respect' that the detainees are shown by the employees and sub-contractors of the UKBA. Possibly in the same way that the government are at pains to point out that MI5 are never complicit in torture?