'Go home': Is UK ad vs undocumented immigrants racist?
MANILA, Philippine – “Go home or face arrest.”
This is the message on the mobile billboards carried around by two vans that the Home Office – UK’s border agency – deploys around London, in a bid to flush out overstaying and undocumented immigrants.
The UK's Guardian reported that the vans have been seen around at least 6 London boroughs since the government began the campaign in August.
The billboard ad flashes the number of undocumented immigrants who have been arrested in the area, and a hotline number for "free advice and help with travel documents."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating the "Go home" campaign after it received about 60 complaints.
Many Liberal Democrats have harshly criticized the campaign, calling it "racist."
“On behalf of the Filipino community, we register our concern on this racist immigration enforcement by the UK Border Agency,” Jamima Fagta, project officer of Kanlungan, a Filipino alliance group in the United Kingdom said on August 21.
“We call on Filipino migrant workers and their families to unite with other migrant communities as well as the local population in demanding a stop to the current campaign of intimidation [of] the im/migrant community by the UKBA through advertisement and spot checks,” Fagta said.
“I don’t believe this policy is going to achieve anything besides stoking fear and resentment,” Labour MP Diane Abbott told the Guardian.
The Home Office’s official Twitter account was also tweeting the number of "immigration offenders" over a period of several days in August.
The Home Office has denied that their campaign is racist.
“We make no apology for enforcing our laws and our officers carry out hundreds of operations like this every year around London,” the Home Office said in a statement, defending its methods.
“Where we find people who are in the UK illegally, we will remove them.” – with a report from Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com