THE Home Office’s controversial round-up of illegal immigrants has been described as “a macho PR stunt” by a leading West Yorkshire bishop who claims that the police-led crackdown will “cause real damage to language, culture and community”.
The Right Reverend Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford, spoke out after claims by racial justice campaigner Doreen Lawrence – whose teenage son Stephen was murdered 20 years ago – that police were using ‘racial profiling’ to stop and arrest suspects.
Vans in several London boroughs have been carrying the message ‘In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest’.
While accepting the need for “a full, informed and intelligent public debate”, the Bishop says on his latest blog that Britain would be “stuffed” without the economic and social contribution of migrants.
Lamenting “the current polarised, nasty slanging match” at Westminster in which parties “compete to be the hardest”, he adds: “Our wealth has been created (for good and ill) by immigrants in recent centuries.
“The point is that the campaign with the vans, the twitter feed and the selective picking on people at London stations (based on crude racial profiling) contributes to a coarsening of perceptions about immigrants, regardless of whether they are legal or illegal.
“If the Government wants to address immigration, it should do so by sorting out a workable policy and ensure that those who do apply for asylum or a right to remain are treated humanely, efficiently and effectively – and, if appropriate, prevented from entering the country in the first place.”