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|Government Aims to Make Illegal Immigrants Feel 'Ever More Uncomfortable' |
- Home Secretary plans clampdown on hundreds of thousands
THE GOVERNMENT today declared war on hundreds of thousands of London residents.
Home Secretary John Reid has earmarked illegal immigrants as a group worth targeting and says he wants to "make life in this country ever more uncomfortable and constrained for those who come here illegally."
Given their undocumented nature, estimates vary, but there are thought to be around 300,000 illegal immigrants in London, many from some of the world's hottest trouble spots, such as Afghanistan and Sudan and many others who are here just to make a living.
That's not how Reid sees it. "It is unfair that foreigners come to this country illegitimately and steal our benefits, steal our services like the NHS and undermine the minimum wage by working," the Home Secretary said.
Reid plans to introduce measures that will deny illegal immigrants work, benefits and services. Among those measures are big fines for employers and landlords of illegal immigrants, a 'watch list' for government agencies to check residency status and hundreds more police officers transferred to anti-illegal-immigration duty.
The response to the government's plans from immigrant campaign groups was swift.
"Rendering [illegal immigrants] destitute will not encourage or enable them to return to countries riven by human rights abuses, conflict and poverty," said Habib Rahman, head of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.
"It will force many onto the doorsteps of already stressed charities and churches, or into the arms of criminals facilitating forced labour."
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