Thursday, March 08, 2007


Not 'Enforcing the Rules', just 'enabling compliance'

We are well used to the Kafkaesque titling of Home Office reports so that they are the obverse of what they contain, so we should all savour the major set of immigration proposals out this week, Enforcing the Rules.
The proclamation that "we will ensure that the right systems and controls are in placeĀ” is not accompanied by even an outline of any system to achieve the main object: of preventing those not entitled to government services from accessing them. A trumpeted supposed tightening up of giving out National Insurance numbers by the DWP apparently is merely ad hoc spotting of a few suspicious applications by some DWP staff who might then refer to the IND. This 'reform' led to less than 400 instances of the denial of NI cards last year, instead of the many thousands any proper procedure would be expected to uncover. It is no system at all.
John Reid's unfit-for-purpose Department has so little idea of what to do that "best approaches to harm reduction", as they refer to their initiatives, require three pilot schemes in local areas, and other pilot schemes regarding how to combat abuse of NHS services. Even the rules of NHS access are under review and not set to report back until October.
A major part of this half-baked plan is to use NHS staff, banks and employers, etc, as "partners" of the new Border and Immigration Agency: gate-keepers, in other words, to do the Home Office's job for them. Or, rather, to carry the can for the Home Office's failure in and refusal to carry out its function.
The name of the game -- in opposition to Reid's introduction where he frankly talks about the adverse impact on indigenous workers -- is to avoid in any way blaming the illegal economic migrant and to focus on the "harm" caused by others; notably employers. A "one-stop identity checking service for employers" looks like actually inadequate advice re spotting forgery -- for which the Home Office fails to train its own staff -- with any checking of specific individuals not routine.
Dripping with extreme complacency about overstayers, clandestine entry, NHS abuse, sham marriages and bogus students (now officially a third of applications); the main thrust of Enforcing the Rules is to "enable compliance". If only all migrants could be helped not to break the rules then all would be well! They are all victims, you understand. Mr Reid states bizarrely that three-quarters of illegal migrants are 'trafficked'. On what evidence? Clearly, most come here of their own accord -- not least the prostitutes; like the all but five actually 'trafficked' women found despite all the fuss over the World Cup in Germany. Reid also claims that most migrants are here legally, yet the Government has not the vaguest clue how many illegals are resident, and whether or not they outnumber legal entrants.
This is, as we expect, all so much Home Office "information management", with the usual chimera of a 'points system', which is merely repackaging of what we already have; and completely false promises about removal/deportation, with here disturbingly an intimation that only those that cause the most "harm" are to be so dealt with.
Enforcing the Rules is much more like paying lip service to them. John Reid would do well to read what his staff have produced and then go back to them to ask why it does not reflect what he aired in the piece he wrote to front it.

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