The criminalisation of diversity
AbstractThroughout 2008 the Home Office has begun to instigate a series of wholesale reforms of the immigration and asylum system. With a concerted focus upon 'immigration crime' (Home Office, 2008 ), notable among these reforms has been the creation of a 'watch list' list of immigration offenders in the UK. This watch list is to be used in order to prevent people from accessing mainstream statutory services, to assist in gathering intelligence, and to track down 'illegal immigrants' (ibid). Its reach looks set to be vast. In 2005 the Home Office estimated that there were between 310,000 and 570,000 people in the UK who could, by definition, be included in its terms of reference. If the highest estimate was to be taken, that would roughly equate to nearly one in every 100 people in the county. While this year may have seen a concerted increase in policy shifts in migration control, these reforms have however served to consolidate a series of avenues of criminalisation that have been developing throughout New Labour's period of government including, for example, failing to claim asylum immediately upon entry (which can lead to refusal to provide support). Establishing a watch list of 'irregular'