3 February 2010

Racism within the UK Border Agency

It's not racist to impose limits on immigration. Shame then that it appears there is a culture of racism within the body which imposes limits on immigration.

I of course don't use the term 'racist' lightly.

A whistleblower has revealed to the Guardian her experience of working at the UK Border Agency in Cardiff.

The whistleblower claims:
  • UKBA staff kept a toy gorilla that was placed as a badge of shame on the desk of any officer who approved an asylum application
  • An official tested the claims of boys from African countries who said they had been forcibly conscripted as child soldiers by making them lie down on the floor and demonstrate how they shot at people in the bush.
  • The authenticity of an asylum seeker claiming to be from North Korea was determined by the UKBA asking whether they chop suey
  • If an asylum case was difficult, the UKBA's advice was simply to refuse it and "let a tribunal sort it out".
  • A UKBA manager is quoted as saying "If it was up to me I'd take them all outside and shoot them" regarding their asylum seeker clients.
  • When asked about the case of a Congolese woman, a member of the UKBA legal department said "Umbongo, umbongo, they kill them in the Congo."
Like I said, racist.

The chairman home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, acknowledges the "culture of disbelief and discrimination" within the UK Border Agency. Vaz also said that "a number of ex-UKBA workers who have spoken out", so this whistleblower is not alone.

Whilst searching for comments regarding this report, I came across Twitterererer @benjimmin who works for the UKBA - I presume in Manchester, as listed in his Twitter profile. He kindly replied to me asking for his reaction to the claims made by the whistleblower: "I've never seen behaviour like that. I think I'd leave on the spot if I did." I sincerely hope this reportedly racist culture is limited to this one branch in Cardiff.

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