Thursday, September 25, 2008

Immigrants Used To Soften Up ID Cards

Immigrant workers and students are being stigmatised and forced to act as guinea pigs, to soften the blow of the roll-out of the government's hugely expensive and discredited £20 billion national ID card scheme. 

Home secretary, Jacqui Smith, was at the forefront of the government PR and spin today, when she unveiled the design of the new ID cards for foreign nationals, due to be introduced in November, using the lame excuse of tackling illegal immigration to justify the move.

Phil Booth, of the national No2ID campaign group, said: "The Home Office is trying to salami slice the population to get this scheme going in any way they can. The volume of foreign nationals involved is minuscule so it won't do anything to tackle illegal immigration."

Thousands of immigrant workers and students now face being branded as aliens, after being lured into the UK to work for a pittance in appalling condition in the food processing and service industries to prop up the ailing economy. Students are enticed over to study worthless courses, as a cash cow for the universities and colleges. 

What next, an emblem sewn onto their clothing? 

Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti, said: "This week the Prime Minister said he doesn't do PR but clearly the Home Secretary wasn't listening. Picking on foreigners first is divisive politics; as costly to our race relations as our purses."

The roll-out comes hard on the heels of a string of data loss blunders, sparking fears about the security of personal data, including the loss of a memory stick containing data on thousands of prison records, by the same firm that's already been paid £135m for the ID card and visa schemes.

This huge waste of public money is co-ordinated by an army of civil servants and consultants from the firm, PA Consulting, as well as staff on secondment from the Passport Service, the Metropolitan Police and a management consultant company.

At the time of the data stick loss, Conservatives accused ministers of a "massive failure of duty", attempting to shift the blame and called on the government to urgently examine the implications of the latest fiasco for the £20 billion ID card project.

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