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Evening Post helps Immigration Service harass East Midlands asylum-seekers

Rat on a media rat | 11.10.2006 10:15 | Refugee Week 2006 | Analysis | Migration | Repression

An Nottingham Evening Post reporter joins the Immigration service to find illegal working at local car washes and writes a most despicable article (Evening Post, 10th October 2006, page 5), online at:

Immigration yellow vests make Evening Post journalist feel like a big boy
Immigration yellow vests make Evening Post journalist feel like a big boy

Why is this report so bad?

Firstly the article is, on the face of it, about finding asylum-seekers who are working illegally. Their terrible crime? - washing cars to get money because the government won't let people who are escaping persecution support themselves here.

But then the mud-slinging starts...

The article begins with an completely unrelated reference to a Turkish people-smuggling news story. That has got nothing to do with asylum-seekers we are supposedly looking after here in Nottingham.

Secondly, is uses the emotive term 'illegal immigrant' when this is actually only about cash-in-hand working - muddying the fact that people are claiming asylum quite legitimately. It is only the working that is currently not allowed by a crazy government policy.

Worse still, following the remark 'Before setting off, he recommended that everyone - journalist and photographer included - don a stab vest.' it lets the Immigration Service get away with racist remarks like "There is a desperation among some nationalities who perhaps don't value life as highly and don't want to be caught," he said. "There have been far, far too many incidents where you would have needed a stab-proof vest."

This just paints all asylum-seekers as violent. If there is any deperation, it is the need for people to be able to have some money to live on, perhaps support children, whatever - the link to violence is just there to shock the reader, and just plays into government and right-wing fear-mongering tactics. The article also manages to get in some remark about the Immigration Service operations tackling 'even terrorism', another smear by association?

There is no journalism in this article worthy of the name. James Smith, the author, is just a lackey of the Immigration Services. He probably enjoyed his ride around with men in yellow jackets, and then printed whatever story was fed to him.

There are some serious problems with government policy on asylum-seekers not being able to work. Cash-in-hand pay is likely to be low and working conditions are likely to be poor. Many asylum seekers have skills and experiences they are currently not allowed to share with us. We are poorer for it. We certainly do not need some journalist idiot making their lives more difficult than they already are.

Rat on a media rat


Web link to article mentioned above

11.10.2006 10:28

Note that the title tag of this page (top of browser) is:
"The high profile case of the Turkish people-smuggler sentenced in London last week highlighted the issue of illegal immigrants in the UK. But there are much smaller operations going on to tackle the problem. JAMES SMITH joined immigration officers and police on a morning of raids."

Main Evening Post site

Oh, and there is a letters page too ...

Flea on a rat on a media rat


Hide the following 4 comments

Racial Hatred

11.10.2006 11:48

This article appears to incite racial hatred and if confirmed the author and publishers may be indicted under Enlish law. Further investigations onto this will be made, including checks on the the author's identity to confirm that James Smith is his true name, as this will need to appear on any indictment issued by the CPS

E Goldman

The plot thickens...

22.10.2006 21:15

A chat with the journalist in question revealed that the Evening Post were contacted by the home office to set up this stunt. Why would the home office want to draw media attention to the issue of 'illegal' foreign workers? To make sure everyone still believes that foreigners are tearing Britain apart and only a police state will save us perhaps?


Guidance for journalists who should know better already, but don't

21.11.2006 12:26

Leaflet: Reporting asylum and refugee issues

Produced by MediaWise (The PressWise Trust) for the NUJ Ethics Council, with support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


indy journo

Re: Guidance (not only) for journalists ... ...

14.12.2006 17:45

Thanks for posting details of the leaflet about 'Reporting asylum and refugee issues'.

Even for people who may be broadly sympathetic to asylum seekers it gives good advice that we could all note.

I found this legan definition particularly useful:

Who is an ‘illegal asylum-seeker’?

NO-ONE. This term is always incorrect. It cannot be illegal to seek asylum since everyone has the fundamental human right to request asylum under international law.
The term ‘bogus asylum-seeker’ is also inaccurate and misleading as it pre-judges the outcome of an asylum application – rather like describing a defendant as entering a ‘bogus plea of innocence’ during a trial.

The flier continues:

Who is an asylum-seeker?

Anyone who has applied for asylum against persecution under the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, and is waiting for a decision.

Who is a refugee?

Anyone who has been granted asylum under the UN Convention, to which the UK is a signatory along with 144 other countries. The precise legal definition in Article 1 of the Convention refers to a ‘refugee’ as a person who: “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

What about those fleeing general conflict?

People who do not qualify for refugee status may be granted humanitarian protection allowing them ‘leave to remain’ in the UK for a defined or indefinite period, if they cannot safely return to their home country. UNHCR describes
these people as ‘refugees’.

Can those not granted refugee status or temporary leave to remain be sent back home?

YES – although their country of origin might refuse to accept returnees or return may not be possible. Such individuals will generally not be eligible to receive UK
benefits or support, nor are they legally entitled to work. In some cases they will be held in detention.

See full details at

The flier also has a list of USEFUL RESOURCES