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06-05-06, 08:52 AM #1
Home Office asylum policy fostered a nation of 'ghettos'
Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have been dispersed around Britain and clustered according to what languages they speak, it was revealed yesterday.
See the asylum map of Britain
The Home Office policy throws together large groups of migrants from the same country or the same region of the world.
The system of grouping asylum seekers in towns or cities by their language was meant to protect them from 'isolation', officials said.
But critics voiced astonishment that the Government has been supporting policy that appears to encourage social division and segregation rather than integration.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the dispersal by language system was 'very odd'.
It was begun in 2000 by Home Secretary Jack Straw. The National Asylum Support Service began to bus asylum seekers to regional towns and cities away from London and the South-East, the destination preferred by the great majority.
Those who chose to go to London anyway, or to move from their appointed regional town, were denied free housing by the asylum support service.
The language system for dispersal was abandoned in April this year, the Home Office insisted yesterday.
A spokesman said: "The idea was to ensure that people were not left isolated where they settled, and that they would have access to the appropriate support services.
"The list is no longer in use by the Home Office, and the dispersal system is now kept under constant review."
The system operated under three Home Secretaries, Mr Straw, David Blunkett, and Charles Clarke, and was used to choose where up to 50,000 asylum seekers a year were settled.
Officials called the towns and cities were asylum seekers were sent 'cluster areas'.
But residents of the chosen towns were not told that asylum seekers directed to their districts were all from similar ethnic and cultural groups, and could therefore be expected to form separate communities.
The language map - revealed in leaked documents this weekend - appears to show that some groups of asylum seekers were sent to areas where there is already a community with a similar ethnic and cultural background.
Asylum seekers from the Indian subcontinent were often directed to places such as Leeds, Oldham and Blackburn, which already have large Indian and Pakistani populations.
Conflicting groups kept apart
For other towns and cities, the language mix appears to have no guiding reasoning. Asylum support service officials do, however, give careful instructions that groups with a potential for conflict should be kept apart.
Serbians and Croatians, whose long enmity was deepened by the wars following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, were not sent to the same places.
Among Albanian speakers, ethnic Kosovans were separated from others.
The language system was ended this year shortly after Commission for Racial Equality chief Trevor Phillips gave his warning that failure to integrate meant that British cities were 'sleepwalking to segregation'.
Shadow Home Secretary Mr Davis said: "I thought everybody appreciated that the key to good community relations is a proper level of integration.
"This policy would appear to have exactly the opposite effect because it amounts to segregation. It is very odd."
Former Home Office immigration official Steve Moxon - who lost his job after revealing how the Home Office was breaking its own rules by rubber-stamping thousands of visa applications from Eastern Europe, even if the papers were not in order - said the system was bound to deepen segregation.
"Migrant enclaves are all too easy to allow to grow and grow; and the larger and faster they grow, the less reason there is for individuals within them to integrate into wider society," he said. "This policy only serves to create migrant ghettos."
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Then the government departments want the Police to explain why there is an apparent imbalance in figures when it comes to "ethnic minorities" being arrested, searched etc.
06-05-06, 08:57 AM #2
Well we all know this Government just pretends to take any action. They'll probably pass another unenforceable law to make it an offence not to integrate.To be born an Englishman, is to be a winner in the Lottery of Life.
I've Talked the Talk and I've Walked the Walk, now I Sit the Sit!
It's not until you look at an Ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day, that you realise just how often they burst into flames for no reason!
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