The figures are in, and the Home Office ‘Go Home’ ad vans saw a grand total of one illegal immigrant come forward and voluntarily leave the country. And he didn’t even see the van himself, but actually read about them in the Guardian. Mark Harper is doing his best to spin the results:
“The first voluntary departure as a result of this pilot took place on 2 August. It was a Pakistani national who had been living in the UK illegally since December, and he interestingly … he didn’t see the ad van itself, but he saw a picture of the ad van in the Guardian newspaper and he texted the number and we arranged to support him for his flight home. So at least one individual has left the country as a result of this pilot, so from a cost perspective … the pilot has actually already paid for itself.”
All worth it then…
UPDATE: The Home Office would like to stress that at least one illegal immigrant has come forward. The pilot cost £10,000, while the arrest, detention and removal of one illegal immigrant would cost £15,000.