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Govt's 'illegal immigrants go home' campaign begins

BLUNT MESSAGE: The Home Office is piloting a new campaign

VANS WITH giant billboards featuring the slogan "Go home or face arrest" will be driven around London this week in an attempt to persuade illegal immigrants to leave the Britain.

The Home Office's two-week pilot scheme will also be displayed on leaflets, posters and inside local newspapers in six London Boroughs - Barnet, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham, Ealing, Brent and Redbridge.

The message on the vans will read: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.

"Text HOME to 78070 for free advice, and help with travel documents.

"We can help you return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention."

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "We are making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally.

"Every single day our enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK."

He added: "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.

"This pilot is just another part of the reforms of the immigration system that have cut out abuse and seen net migration drop to its lowest levels in nearly a decade.”

Harper explained that these areas were chosen because they either had significantly above or below average numbers of voluntary returns.

However, Brent MP councillor Muhammad Butt has criticised the Home Office’s mobile billboard advertising campaign.

He said: “Placing these posters in the most diverse borough in the UK is inflammatory and divisive.

"I have people in my surgeries every week who have been wrongly processed by the home office or who have come from places they simply can't return to and are now going to feel publicly threatened as a result of these posters.

"It's disgraceful and frankly unwelcome in our diverse and united borough."

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