Recently the UK Border Agency were in the news again because of posters at immigration offices suggesting immigrants “Ask about going home”. This followed the Home Office trialling mobile advertising hoardings which suggested passers-by should “Go home or face arrest” if they were in the country illegally.
I tweeted the fleeting idea of “Photos of famous, successful and popular non-British-born but considered-British people stamped with UKBA logo and ‘GO HOME’.” Thanks to the ease and free-ness of Tumblr, there’s almost no excuse not to follow through on such ideas, and so Ask About Going Home has been running for a few days now, with plenty more famous immigrants lined up. You can also follow the posts on Twitter with @UKBAGoHome.
Obviously, this is an overly-simple, hasty and slightly silly concept that will make no difference to anything. But still, the UKBA’s and Home Office’s techniques are hardly subtle and targeted themselves. They and their heavy-handed forces’ demands for the “papers” of potential illegal immigrants (i.e., non-white people) create a climate that suggests immigrants aren’t welcome here. They must make people who are, or hope to be, in the UK legitimately fear for their and their families’ security.
And so, I thought that highlighting how many famous and accomplished people we regard as “British” were born in other countries would help a tiny bit. Hopefully it highlights how ridiculous these over-the-top demands for immigrants to “Ask about going home” are. For many, they already are, or hope to be, “home”.