First the white vans, now the spot checks – Nigel Farage is being given fresh voice by the Home Office’s attempts to tackle illegal immigration. He has said of the spot checks:
‘Spot checks and being demanded to show your papers by officialdom are not the British way of doing things. Yes of course we want to deal with illegal immigration but what’s the point of rounding people up at railway stations if at the same time they are still flooding in at Dover and the other nearly 100 ports in this country.
I’m astonished that the Home Office has become so politicised…before long they will be live video-streaming of these arrests. I don’t like it. It really is not the way we’ve ever behaved or operated as a country. We don’t have ID cards. We should not be stopped by officialdom and have to prove who we are.’
Farage points out that these spot checks are not much use when we don’t exercise effective control at the border – you can see where he’s going with that one. But I was intrigued by his repeated use of the word ‘officialdom’. Who does he think will be policing the bolstered border check points at ports and airports?
Can government be ‘tough on immigration’ without emboldening officialdom at ports, railway stations, detention centres and at all levels of government? No two illegal immigrants look the same and there’s no better place to hide than in plain sight; so, theoretically, everyone must be subjected to checks at the border and on the streets. This leads to another point that Farage touches on. Are ID cards the easiest way to be ‘tough on immigration’?