Thursday, February 04, 2010

UK Border Agency: Gene Hunt is Alive and Well and Working in Cardiff?

Yesterday the Guardian had a piece on allegations about the UK Border Agency office in Cardiff, which has resulted in an investigation by MPs.

Claims that asylum seekers are mistreated, tricked and humiliated by staff working for the UK Border Agency are to be investigated in parliament.

The home affairs select committee chairman, Keith Vaz, has called for an investigation following allegations that officials at one of the government's major centres for processing asylum seekers' claims express fiercely anti-immigration views and take pride in refusing applications.

Louise Perrett, who worked as a case owner at the Border Agency office in Cardiff for three and a half months last summer, claims staff kept a stuffed gorilla, a "grant monkey", which was placed as a badge of shame on the desk of any officer who approved an asylum application.

The whole thing sounds like Life on Mars. I sincerely hope it's not true, but that might just be mindless optimism. The realist in me puts this alongside the conditions at Yarlswood , the practice of child detention, and the other issues with UK Borders Agency, and wonders if it's fit for purpose. Yes this is just one office, and yes we do need border controls, and a functioning structure for sorting out genuine asylum seekers from people who just fancy our benefits system. I wonder if politicians are afraid to tackle this because they don't want to be seen as 'soft' on immigration?

Ht Split Horizons.

Other reports
Wales Online
No Borders South Wales campaigning group who've been picketing the Cardiff office for a while now.

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