Lawyers have reported that hundreds of British citizens have been subjected to spot checks Liverpool over UK immigration crimes they cannot commit.
According to an investigation, UK immigration officials have been exercising their power to stop people they suspect of breaching UK immigration law. However, new figures have revealed that the people most likely to be stopped for questioning are British citizens.
In fact, statistics have revealed that 678 British citizens have been stopped by Home Office enforcement officers in Liverpool in the past five years, the equivalent of almost one in six of the 4,360 people spot checked between 2012 and 2017.
Despite the number of British citizens stopped, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that only one was ever arrested, prompting human rights lawyers to claim the high numbers were a result of racial bias.
According to Gracie Bradley, advocacy officer for the Liberty campaign group, the Home Office does not collect any data on ethnicity when they stop people, so it’s difficult to establish on what grounds British citizens are being questioned.
However, Ms Bradley did suggest that the “intelligence-led” UK immigration enforcement drives are often led based on as little evidence as “a call from a disgruntled neighbour”.
“This government has made spies of private citizens and public sector workers, forcing them to inform on tenants, patients or pupils – leaving documented migrants and BAME communities caught up in a web of state-sanctioned racism.”
She added that the UK immigration system’s “in-country” approach is spreading division across the country, blocking many from accessing the education, shelter and healthcare they need. “It’s a damning indictment of our government,” she added.