So, the UK Border Agency has been cracking down all over the place on immigration, and recently they put out a survey (which you can still take here) to gather public opinion about various facets of immigration. When I took it, I felt like a lot of the wording was pretty leading and that most of it smelled vaguely of Tory.
Most of the issues are based around equalizing the time, money and attachment requirements needed to enter and stay in the UK, no matter which route you choose. Generally, I don’t have a problem with saying that someone who comes as a student has to do the same steps as someone who comes here as a spouse… but those issues are a lot easier than trying to decide what to do with a british national’s spouse and children who were all living overseas forever and now want to come back to England.
The parts that freaked me out the most, though, were about tackling sham marriages, particularly this one part which states
Those involved in sham marriages undermine our immigration system, and damage the institution of marriage.
as a preamble to suggesting that there should be a border control agent posted at every register’s office, who has the ability to step in and question people and even stop their weddings if they suspect it might be a sham marriage. In the states, the people who use the expression, “damage the institution of marriage” are usually tea partiers who are campaigning against gay rights, so it always sets off a flag.
Anyway, this is just a long rambling explanation to why I felt so sad and annoyed to read this story last night about a couple who was basically forced to miss their own wedding because the UKBA suspected them of shamming… which they weren’t. Instead, they were hauled off, separated from each other and questioned, and ended up having to be married elsewhere the next day. The UKBA did keep one of their guests for deportation, though.
I mean, really? We want to give them MORE power to do things like this? In my mind, the question should really be, “why did it take the UKBA until the very last minute to get over there to check up on the documentation?”