Backlash over immigrant advert

Human rights group Liberty has hit back at the government's scheme to encourage overstaying migrants to "go home" with its own alternative spin on the message. Home Office ads were carried by vans in six London boroughs.

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Liberty turns immigration tactics back on Home Office

Human rights group Liberty has hit back at the government's scheme to encourage overstaying migrants to "go home" with its own alternative spin on the message.

The charity has sent a van on to the streets of Westminster carrying this billboard:

Liberty's van will circle the Home Office before visiting Kensal Green and Walthamstow Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Last month, Home Office ads carried by vans in six London boroughs told overstaying migrants "Go home, or you'll be picked up and deported".

Anger mounted over the department's tactics amid reports commuters at transport hubs across the capital were targeted for spot checks by border officials purely on ethnic grounds.

A statement from Liberty said the Home Office's messaging had "racist connotations - mirroring National Front slogans from the 1970s".

Watch: Political parties divided over immigration posters

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'Making it difficult' for illegal immigrants to stay in UK

Immigration minister Mark Harper has said that a new scheme in which illegal immigrants can voluntarily come forward, would help to prevent unlawful working and reduce the burden on public services caused by illegal migration. Mr Harper said:

We are making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally.

But there is an alternative to being led away in handcuffs. Help and advice can be provided to those who cooperate and return home voluntarily.

Support offered to illegal immigrants wanting to leave

A phone number offering help – including potential free flights and other travel assistance – will be shown on van advertisements, as part of a new scheme targeted at illegal immigrants living in London.

Illegal immigrants urged to leave voluntarily in new Home Office scheme. Credit: ITV London/Phil Bayles

The Home Office has said those who come forward voluntarily will not be detained while they arrange their departure.

The use of the advertising vans, which will be deployed initially to six London boroughs including Ealing, Barnet and Hounslow, forms the latest stage in a renewed Home Office drive against illegal migrants in recent months.

Signs warn illegal immigrants 'Go home or face arrest'

Large billboards and signposts carrying the warning "Go home or face arrest" will be driven around London on the back on advertising vans this week in a new Home Office bid to reduce illegal immigration.

The billboards will also display the number of illegal migrants arrested recently in the relevant part of the capital.

'Go home or face arrest'. Credit: ITV London/Phil Bayles
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