At the beginning of August this year, we reported on the Home Office’s controversial tactics including an advertising campaign aimed at illegal immigrants telling them to “go home or face arrest”. In a report published today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the UK, has banned the Home Office’s adverts over misleading arrest statistics.
Controversial Home Office Advertising Campaign Against Illegal Immigrants
This summer, the Home Office resorted to controversial tactics which included vans telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” and immigration spot checks at railway and underground stations. This was met by anger from local communities and leaders who believed that people were being targeted by their skin colour and that this was unacceptable and unsettling.
The Home Office took to Twitter to highlight the arrest of people they thought were in the UK illegally which sparked a backlash leading to the ASA conducting an investigation into the possible unlawful discrimination.
ASA Bans UKBA’s Misleading Campaign against Illegal Immigrants in UK
The Home Office’s poster vans featured the words “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” and “106 arrests last week in your area” which could be seen as scare tactics for those in the UK with no immigration status.
The advertising watchdog acknowledged that the “go home” slogan was reminiscent of those used in the past to attack immigrants in the UK but said that it was generally used in that context as a standalone phrase or with racially derogatory language.
“We recognised that the poster and the phrase ‘go home’ in particular, were likely to be distasteful to some in the context of an ad addressed to illegal immigrants, irrespective of the overall message conveyed and we recognised that wording less likely to produce that response such as ‘return home’ could have been used.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable: Home Office Campaign “Stupid and Offensive”
Vince Cable spoke out about the campaign and said that “it clearly upset people and I think it may be wise, if the Government uses the poster van again, to perhaps think about using a different phrase – like return home.”
The Guardian reported that the ASA ruled that the Home Office’s arrest figures were misleading and unsubstantiated because they related to a significant part of north London and not a local area and did not relate to the week before the ad campaign.