Sunday, November 18, 2007
‘Not me guv’: Diffusion of responsibility amid collapse
It does occur to the slightly cynical amongst us that this week's Home Office car crash turned pile-up is about to grow longer in the thick fog. Some of these maligned 'removals' men could well turn out to be of the very licensed but unchecked illegal migrants that is the main source of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's current troubles. After all, the firms involved certainly come under the 'security' umbrella.
Isn't immigration wonderful? A still more daft 'you couldn't make it up' story around every corner.
This last week they have been strongly pushing the line that the fault lies with employers, who are asked to check the immigration status of would-be employees, when the forged documents readily obtainable by illegal immigrants would pass muster with the Home Office's own staff -- because usually they have no forgery training, and couldn't even spot reproductions of their own paperwork. (Anyway, caseworkers are instructed not to check all of the supposedly required documentation, and are still subject to ceilings of very low refusal rates for applications, and consequently a large proportion of officially approved migrants are in fact illegals.) How are employers supposed to be able to do what is a Home Office function but which the Home Office can't manage itself?
But wait a minute. It's not the employers here. It's neither the employers nor Jacqui's lackeys. The checking was (supposed to be) done by a Home Office quango: the Security Industries Authority. 'Quasi autonomous' does have a certain Home Office ring to it -- as when the Immigration & Nationality Directorate was made 'semi-autonomous' from the Home Office and renamed the Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA). That is, for the benefit of the media it was towed out into the English Channel and ceremonially sunk. The beauty of a quango is that it's neither inside nor outside the tent. There's nobody on the outside to cause a fuss and spill the beans, yet nobody on the inside to get wet (to allude to Roosevelt's famous quip). It is the tent; part of it.
Escorting unwilling subjects to unhappy commercial carriers is a thankless and often fruitless task that inevitably entails violence at times. Being hands-off and eyes averted not only keeps the Home Office free of the legal morass through alleged mistreatment such as hit the news this week, but hides behind sub-contractors not doing the job, the fraud of how 'removals' are recorded.
They were an easy hit, to make the Home Office look like they're doing something about illegal migration. Just as with the girls 'rescued' in raids on massage parlours, most of whom turned out to be legal EU immigrants and none were 'trafficked' -- the ostensible purpose of the raids.
Evidently, beyond some thin PR the Government doesn't want to actually tackle illegal migrant employment, being content to ignore social consequences and side with less responsible business elements in a free-for-all. Just as it throws its hands in the air regarding expulsions. Both are not solvable given that every other aspect of the 'system' doesn't work.