26 January 2007
Campaigners NO2ID  branded the latest legislation from the Home Office “theatrical”. The UK Borders Bill  will give new powers of arrest to immigration officers, but it will also provide for a database of biometric information to be taken from all non-EU citizens resident in Britain.
The Government announced just before Christmas such a database would form part of the National Identity Register for the ID scheme . At the same time, Home Secretary John Reid has unveiled new uniforms for the immigration service, which is to change its name.
Phil Booth, NO2ID National Coordinator said:
What with dressing up immigration officers in shiny new uniforms and ritually humiliating legitimate employers and legitimate foreign workers, this is “Doctor Reid’s Magical Security Theatre”. It looks flashy but can’t possibly work. Clearly desperate to give the appearance of being tough on illegal immigration, what this actually amounts to is diverting another bit of the Home Office budget to build the biometric bit of the ID database.
Guy Herbert, NO2ID General Secretary said:
It’s nasty and it’s stupid. In its haste to be seen ‘doing something’, the Government has forgotten that most foreign visitors don’t have to come here. Bully tourists and you’ll have fewer tourists. The City and the entertainment industries are full of talented foreigners who are earning and spending money that keeps the treasury afloat – and the property market. Dr Reid is casting them as suspected parasites. How friendly!
Did anyone think to ask Madonna how she feels about being fingerprinted? Will Roman Abramovich take kindly to reporting his whereabouts to the authorities, or will that feel a little too much like home?
Notes for editors:
1) NO2ID is the non-partisan national campaign against ID cards and the database state. NO2ID is affiliated to by the National Union of Journalists:
2) Trailed by Home Office Minister Liam Byrne on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, 26/1/07 and reported, e.g. by Bloomberg – ‘U.K. Will Take Fingerprints From All Non-European Workers’: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=3D20601085&sid=3DaFZSpDGA_4SQ&refer=3Deurope
3) See the Home Office’s ‘Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme’:
http://www.identitycards.gov.uk/downloads/Strategic_Action_Plan.pdf [900KB PDF]