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The Home Office is cruel and incompetent – it is time it was abolished

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The Home Office is a remorseless engine of cruelty, incompetence and Kafkaesque bureaucracy. It cannot be reformed, but should be scrapped. Consider the case of an 85-year-old British citizen – taken up by Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill – who has Alzheimer’s. He has lived and paid taxes and national insurance in Britain for half a century; most of his extended family, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren, are British citizens. The Home Office is currently attempting to deport him to India. Or take 40-year-old Alfred Jahn, who told me that he was woken up two years ago by armed police officers looking for “an Albanian”: they’d got the wrong address. He says only after prolonged chasing was a “lacklustre explanation” forthcoming. Or 25-year-old Paige from Enfield, north London, who was saved from jumping from a bridge and sectioned after her Albanian fiance’s visa application was refused in December 2017. She had submitted all the documents proving she met the necessary £18,600 income threshold, but the Home Office ripped the two apart for more than 11 weeks. Her fiance was hospitalised at least 15 times because of the stress; Paige lost her job. It turned out that the Home Office had mislaid a payslip.

There has never been a Home Office golden age, as the records of past authoritarian New Labour stewards, from David Blunkett – who once demagogically warned of refugees “swamping” local schools – to the bruiser John Reid, testify. But the Tories settled on scapegoating migrants for all the ills of society as a central plank of their political strategy, and the Home Office is the blunt instrument they have used to put it into........

© The Guardian