Innocent until proven foreign

Thomas Jones · Europe's Largest 'Immigration Removal Centre'

Two new wings are being opened today at the detention centre for asylum seekers at Harmondsworth, making it 'Europe's largest immigration removal centre', in the Home Office's proudly oxymoronic formulation. Never mind that the centre, as anyone (apart from Damian Green) who's been there will tell you, is already chaotically overcrowded and understaffed. We're not supposed to care about stuff like that: as far as the Home Office is concerned, the people interned at Harmondsworth are 'foreign criminals' who ‘should be sent home at the earliest opportunity' – all no doubt part of the government's progressive strategy for grubbing back votes from the BNP.


  • 2 August 2010 at 1:43pm
    pinhut says:
    The link is informative. Who would have guessed, that as the government becomes more and more shabby, that its pride in itself would surge so dramatically.

  • 2 August 2010 at 1:47pm
    pinhut says:
    I should really say 'the state', the machine, of which governments are but an accident.

  • 2 August 2010 at 1:56pm
    lauragivans says:
    Chris Cleave's The Other Hand has a pretty horrific representation of what it might be like in a detention centre. Although this is from the POV of the innocent - the ones we should be protecting in the UK - not the apparent criminals.

    • 3 August 2010 at 1:39pm
      mc says: @ lauragivans
      The poor quality of decision-making on asylum claims and the resulting destitution for those whose claims are refused, mean that many people seeking protection end up criminalising themselves in the process. These people can then face indefinite detention (with no judicial oversight) because their country of origin refuses to recognise them, or because it's not possible to carry out a forced removal due to the situation on the ground. You can brighten your day by reading about this here -

  • 2 August 2010 at 2:17pm
    Joe Morison says:
    I wonder how Labour will respond? Probably with it would have been bigger and badder if we were in power. Or will we get the ultimate in hypocrisy as they pretend to care? (Or am i being unfair and it's power that turns people into heartless autometa?)

  • 2 August 2010 at 2:44pm
    Geoff Roberts says:
    Moronic is the right word, I think. Contrast with the Spanish approach is interesting. The (mostly) young Africans who survive the journey to the Canary Islands are given Spanish courses, learn how to apply for a job and are generally treated in a humane way. I guess that the British approach has been taken over form Blair and Co, which doesn't make it any better. I wonder if Amnesty has looked into this?

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