Friday, 1 February 2008

Time for fairness on immigration

After 10 years of the current Labour Government, our roads are no better, our hospital is closure threatened and a record one in four are workless locally.

Last week the Government moved backwards on border security. And it's a real shame. Immigration minister Liam Byrne visited Dover. He could have got on a ferry to Calais and visited our overworked immigration officials there. He could have asked the French why they have banned stowaway detecting scanners.

But no . . . he announced yet another agency instead! We really need a proper border police force with full powers to secure our borders. The Dover Removal Centre is staffed with excellent and committed officers. Yet they are let down by the Home Office which lets a third of people get bail and apparently vanish.

It's not just a matter of border security. It's humanity too. Thanks to the Home Office a lot of people who are not bailed are stuck at the Dover Removal Centre (pictured) in limbo for years. They may have committed no crime yet they get more time than the average robber or paedophile. So I've worked hard to help people in that position to have fair treatment. They have a right to a fast decision - and so do we who pay for their imprisonment. Scanners can save lives. Too many stowaways die, like the 58 Chinese who suffocated.

This mix of incompetence with lack of compassion stains us all.

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