Friday, 2 August 2013

Go Home

It is fair to say the the Home Office does have the best record when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration, which is understandable considering the size of the situation that they are trying to cope with. Yet, the country was still a bit shocked when it was revealed that the Home Office had now been forced to resort to driving around England with a big sign saying go home.

For a lot of people this seemed a bit comical, and was an indication that the Home Office is enthusiastic, but not yet really in control of things. Others, however, have described this as being nothing but racism, and is something that the country should really be ashamed of.

Yet, the more I think about it, the harder I find it is to actually classify this as racism, even though it does immediately leap out as something that is perhaps not right.

The sign is potentially aggressive towards illegal immigrants, giving them a plain choice between going home voluntarily, or being chucked out. It is a message that is not expected to pull any punches, and could even be seen as a threat against those who are not here legally, a threat against there very presence in the country. If you were an illegal immigrant, then you would not exactly be happy to see this sign.

In addition, it does look like something that is a clear statement that some people should not be allowed in this country, and that they should get out of here and go home. Honestly speaking, it looks like something that the Daily Mail would love to print as a headline. If the Home Office thought that it was a little scheme that would go unnoticed, and that some people might not get offended, then they really were sadly mistaken.

Yet, the very reason that this sign might appear to show certain people that they are not welcome in this country is not something that is an accident. It is simply a statement of the truth, since illegal immigrants don't have that name because of some long running joke, but because they are actually here illegally. For us to get all offended by this sign, and say that it says that some people are not welcome, is to ignore that fact that the law already states clearly who is welcome and who is not. The controversial sign is just stating the obvious, so it is weird that we would be so surprised by it.

In fact, I am at a loss to find exactly why this sign has taken people by surprise, since its aggressive nature is hardly offensive, it is just blunt and clear to the point. It is a statement by the government that they are determined to catch people who break the law, something that I expected that most people would have figured out was a key part of their job. This is like complaining when a miner comes across coal, or when a chef provides you with food; exactly what were you expecting them to do?

This sign is actually an attempt, although possibly a desperate one, to give illegal immigrants an opportunity to leave peacefully, without having to make it get nasty. The sign even clearly offers free information, and help for people who are willing to go home. It is a distinctly less aggressive thing to do than swoop in and arrest them all, something that has also been taking place recently, but with not as much fuss. 

If you want to get into a debate how immigration law, then that is possibly something that we need to do, but it seems weird that the focus of all the attention is on a largely irrelevant sign that simply states the facts. It does not seem that this sign is racist, if we accept the law to be true. Therefore, we should actually be looking at the law itself, and how it treats immigrants, before we go chasing after something that is essentially a cheap headline for the media.

There are a lot of things that have been considered by the government in order to restrict immigration, including things that I wouldn't want us to go anywhere near. Restricting healthcare on the grounds of nationality is not something that I think would be right, and stopping immigrants get benefits is also something I would be wary of, but I don't actually see the problem in stating the law on the side of a van. It might be inefficient, because not that many people will see it, but I really don't understand why it has caused such a fuss.

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