British equality watchdog investigating immigration spot checks

Aug. 3, 2013 at 12:20 AM

LONDON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Immigration spot checks targeting blacks and Asians may be illegal, Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission said Friday.

The commission announced it is investigating the Home Office policy and a new ad campaign featuring posters warning illegal immigrants to "go home," the Daily Mirror reported.

In a recent sweep, 139 people were arrested at rail stations around Britain, the Mirror said. Witnesses said nobody who looked European was stopped.

"The Commission is writing today to the Home Office about these reported operations, confirming that it will be examining the powers used and the justification for them, in order to assess whether unlawful discrimination took place," a spokesman said.

Doreen Lawrence, whose son, Stephen, was killed in 1993 in a racially charged case, told an interviewer Friday she believes the Home Office policy is racist. Lawrence, an anti-racism campaigner and founder of a charity to help young people, was named to the House of Lords this week by the Labor Party.

"I'm sure there's illegal immigrants from all countries but why would you focus that on people of color, and I think racial profiling is coming into it," she said in an interview on ITV.

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