What on Earth Is the Home Office Playing At?

By Sam Gibbs on at

After the massive "go home" mobile billboards the government sent out onto the streets of Britain, the Home Office's official Twitter account has taken things a bit far. It's started live-tweeting about raids on alleged illegal immigrants, complete with pixelated pictures showing #immigrationoffenders being carted off by burly cops. There's government transparency, and then there's media showboating. Has the Home Office gone a little too far?

It wasn't just Twitter that was getting an eyeful. The HO posted updates on its own site, and the UK Border Agency was seemingly out in force in London, with apparent racial profiling in full effect.

I know that raids and things like this are routine, and have to be to keep a lid on illegal immigration, but broadcasting it like this is a bit too much like propaganda for me. It's meant to be a warning, I suppose, to businesses that employ people who aren't eligible to work in the UK [insert arbitrary "stealing our jobs" reference here]. It just seems a little too Big Brother-esque right now.

The thing is, all this rather aggressive activity is likely to increase once the new immigration bill gets introduced later this year. It's OK, if the police and the UK Border Agency really are specifically targeting known or legitimately suspected illegal immigrants, but racial profiling is certainly not OK. Has the Home Office crossed the line here? If not, it's damn close to it. [Twitter, HO, ViceGuardian]