24 September 2008
The Home Secretary will round off the Labour Party conference by re-announcing “ID cards for foreigners”. A system of biometric visas is being introduced for some foreign residents from November, but it is not really part of the National Identity Scheme, which has not been built yet. This fact does not stop the government using the words “ID cards” together with a sly appeal to xenophobia, to buttress support for its unpopular  scheme.
Phil Booth, NO2ID’s  National Coordinator, said:
No doubt the Home Secretary is relieved to be able to wave a plastic card and claim it for the ID scheme, given her department has now spent over £100 million pounds of public money; but this is still a cynical branding exercise.
To suggest ID cards are somehow connected to immigration policy Jacqui Smith is deliberately engaging in populist bullying of the soft targets – anonymous individuals seeking marriage visas or education – those who have no choice but to keep quiet and comply. All resident foreigners is a different matter. When it comes round to
fingerprinting Madonna and her family, say, such tactics will backfire.
Notes for editors:
1) Biometric visas and registration of “persons subject to immigration control” – which does not and cannot include the EU nationals who make up the bulk of recent immigrants – is being done under the UK Borders Act 2007, not the Identity Cards Act 2006.
2) Approximately half the public is opposed to the scheme, one quarter strongly so. Those polls showing significant majorities in favour generally do so by a question that implies it is a useful response to some threat such as terrorism or immigration:
3) NO2ID is the UK-wide non-partisan campaign against ID cards and the database state. Scroll down http://www.no2id.net for a list of ‘database state’ initiatives that NO2ID is actively opposing.