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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The good, the bad and the UK Border Agency

main logo for the American Institutes for Rese...Image via Wikipedia Source: Migrants' Rights Network

By Jan Brulc

In what seems to be an attempt to appeal to the typical Sun reader and look tough on immigration, UK Border Agency has really overstepped the line with their continuous use of mockery and tabloid style puns in their press releases. I wonder how does this square with the current anti-discrimination legislation.

This practice is nothing new and MRN has already reported on the issue last year. So far nothing has changed and if anything it would seem that UK Border Agency has stepped up their attempts to portray migrants as unwanted cheats and criminals.

 It is no secret that the UKBA works hard to appeal to the likes of Daily Mail and Sun readers. This is a well publicised communications strategy, with the main idea of delivering a strong message to the general public about the success of government policies in effecting deportations, screening out unwanted migrant workers, and the sharp reductions in asylum applications.

Among other things this entails tailoring press releases to imitate the key principles of tabloid writing (very much like the title of this blog). To give you a taste, here’s a few titles, which appeared on the UKBA website in the last couple of weeks.

20 August 2010 - Bogus dentist lied through his teeth to work in the UK
A bogus dentist from Iraq has been found guilty of faking identity documents and qualifications to practise in the UK.
21 August 2010 - Officers discover something fishy in Tring
Three foreign nationals have been arrested following a UK Border Agency raid on a fish and chip shop in Tring.
21 August 2010 - Double takeaway of illegal workers from Mildenhall KFC
Two foreign nationals have been arrested following a UK Border Agency raid on a KFC fast-food outlet in Mildenhall.
24 August 2010 - Illegal migrant attempt to skip town sunk by UK Border Agency
A Chinese man who tried to avoid arrest by running into the sea in Torquay last week was deported on Wednesday 18 August.
I believe that I’m not the only one who finds this blatant ridicule. Moreover, it would appear to be a clear sign of the cynical attitude, anti-immigration sentiment and culture of disbelief reported to exist across the UKBA. The fact that earlier this year UKBA employee Louise Perrett talked about how asylum seekers are tricked, humiliated and mistreated, really shouldn’t come as a surprise after reading these titles.

And, it would seem that when you work for an organisation like UK Border Agency where publicity releases of this type are signed off by your superiors, you really shouldn’t fear disciplinary procedures. On the contrary, what you ought to expect is a promotion to the press department.

If you are concerned about the specific press releases from the UKBA then do post a comment or get in touch via email. I really don’t say this often, but perhaps this might be a good time to drop your local MP an email.
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