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Tuesday, January 26, 2010 

The VIP treatment.

Here's one of those especially crass Sun articles written with the type of feigned ignorance so prevalent in the tabloids:

ILLEGAL immigrants are getting the VIP treatment when booted out of Britain - with personal security escorts costing almost £500 each.

Yes, you read that right - the VIP treatment. I don't know what VIP means to you, but I somehow doubt that those who considered themselves such would put up for long with what the average failed asylum seeker or illegal immigrant faces prior to their deportation, often provided by the same private security firms. The last report into Colnbrook (PDF) immigration removal centre, ran by Serco (glossy corporate, touchy-feely everything is wonderful page), where many are held prior to their deportation due to its location near to Heathrow, found that it was struggling to cope and that safety was a significant concern.

That though is nothing when compared to the true VIP treatment when those lucky enough to be leaving are taken to the flights to return them to their home country. The reason why "personal security escorts" are used is twofold - firstly because there are few officials and staff within the UK Border Agency who are authorised to use force and as result many first attempts to deport individuals are abandoned because those whose time has come dare to resist - and secondly as many within the UKBA are not prepared to actually see the policies which they implement put into effect.

In a way, you can't blame them - the horror stories from some of the chartered flights are visceral in their intensity. On one of the first chartered flights back to Iraq a detainee smuggled a blade on board and slashed his stomach, while another concussed himself after banging his head repeatedly against a window. Those were probably the ones which weren't restrained, with others either handcuffed or even wearing leg irons. Charter planes aren't always used though - there was the notable case of a British Airways flight to Lagos where the passengers in economy class mutinied after seeing the plight of a shackled detainee who wouldn't stop screaming, with the supposed "ringleader" arrested and charged only to be cleared over a year later of "behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner" towards the crew.

Then again, you wonder what the Sun expects. After all, according to them we roll out the red carpet in welcoming immigrants and asylum seekers in the first place, and the commenters on the piece certainly agree. Might as well extend the gesture when we forcibly throw them out as well then, surely? It does though also prove that simply the government can't do anything right - let too many come here in the first place and spends too much when it gets rid of them, regardless of the much higher cost of keeping them detained here before their deportation - why it bothers when there is simply no political benefit in keeping up such brutal but also ineffective policies remains a mystery. Perhaps, just for the Sun, we could think up something that would negate the need to deport them at all; there are after all many lessons which we can learn from history...

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Is 500 quid really a lavish amount of money these days? I actually think the security business are giving pretty good value for money if that's all it costs to find, detain and transport some poor soul.

I've never bought the sun, even in my working days i not buy the rage even for page three. Now I'd not buy the rag if it was free.

Then again if you buy the Daily Mirror the new for Brown is to make him a god, new labour is the only party left, sadly more and more people around me who do buy the Mirror and Sun think the BNP is the party for them

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