‘Offensive’ Home Office illegal immigrants ad facing ban

A Home Office outdoor campaign ordering illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” is facing censure after the ad watchdog confirmed it is investigating complaints the campaign is “offensive” and “irresponsible”. 

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The activity saw vans driving around London carrying posters featuring handcuffs next to text ’In the UK illegally. Go home or face arrest.” It also trumpets the number of arrests made in the area the van was driving around.

The Advertising Standards Authority says it has received 60 complaints and has launched a formal investigation. A statement says: “Complainants have expressed concerns that the ad, in particular the phrase ’Go Home’, is offensive and irresponsible because it is reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past and could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities.”

Some complainants also question whether the claim “106 arrests last week in your area” is misleading because it implies all illegal immigrants will be arrested.

The vans were driven around several areas including Hounslow and Brent.

The campaign has been met with criticism from MPs including Business Secretary Vince Cable, which slammed it as “stupid and offensive”.  

A spokeswoman for the Home Office says: “We can confirm that we are in contact with the Advertising Standards Authority over this investigation and will respond in due course.”

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