Watchdog probes UK's illegal immigrants 'go home' ad
AFPLONDON -- Britain's advertising watchdog said Friday it had launched a formal investigation into a government campaign urging illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest,” after receiving dozens of complaints that it was racist.
August 10, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Trucks carrying billboards with the words, “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” drove through London for a week last month in a pilot scheme by the interior ministry that has sparked widespread criticism.
In a campaign that critics have dubbed the “racist van,” the trucks were driven through several areas of London with large ethnic minority populations.
Posters, leaflets and advertisements in local newspapers are still carrying the message as part of the campaign.
“The Advertising Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into the Home Office 'Go Home' ad campaign following 60 complaints,” a spokesman for the watchdog said.
Complainants said the phrase “go home” was particularly “offensive and irresponsible” as it was reminiscent of slogans used by British racist groups in the past, he added.
The adverts feature a huge picture of a pair of handcuffs together with a number said to represent the number of arrests in the local area. They tell people to text the word “HOME” to a given phone number to get help to leave Britain.
A spokesman for the Home Office, the interior ministry, said it was in contact with the ASA over the investigation and would respond “in due course”.