Immigrants to be charged for appeals

The MoJ said the new fees will save about £29m a year

Immigrants and asylum seekers will have to pay for appeals against decisions made over their cases, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said.

Fees will apply to appeals against decisions refusing someone leave to remain, leave to enter, or vary their current leave to remain in the UK.

The fees will initially be between £60 and £250, some people will be exempted.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said immigrants already contribute through application fees. Continue reading

Not home alone – Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and the ‘Culture of Disbelief’

By Siobhan Corria
Traumatised by war, abuse, torture, trafficking, sexual exploitation or persecution, unaccompanied asylum seeking children are among the most vulnerable people in our society.

According to Home Office figures, 405 of them, most from Afghanistan, made asylum applications between January and March this year.

Powerless and without independent adult guidance, many have to manoeuvre themselves through the complex, adult asylum system. What kind of welcome do these children get in the UK, a country known for upholding human rights, that likes to think we treat children fairly, humanely, with sensitivity and warmth? Continue reading

The 2010 Paul Foot award shortlist – detention of children

I’ve had the pleasure of reading all the entries for this year’s campaigning journalism award, and here are the shortlisted journalists

One of my pleasures for the past few years has been to read all the entries for the Paul Foot award – and there were nearly 50 this year – and to draw up a longlist for the judging session chaired by Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye. It is always a cheering experience, giving the lie to any impression that investigative journalism is no longer so important to contemporary editors as it was in the days, decades ago, when the Sunday Times was exposing the Thalidomide scandal.

This year’s shortlist speaks for itself. Paul Foot would have approved. The six entries expose MPs seeking cash for influence (“I’m like a cab for hire”, Stephen Byers); the continuing existence of paupers’ graves in London; phone-hacking by the News of the World when Andy Coulson, now the government’s director of communications, was editor; the coverup of the British army’s actions on Bloody Sunday; the scandal of the detention of asylum seekers’ children; and show that DNA tests are not always accurate. Continue reading

Judicial review challenge to the Government’s family detention policy

On Tuesday 26 October, a judicial review challenge to the Government’s family detention
policy reaches the High Court in London. The Claimants – two single mothers and their
young children – are seeking an order declaring the Government’s family detention
policy unlawful.

In May 2010, the Coalition Government announced that it would end the detention of children
for immigration purposes, a practice that the Deputy Prime Minister described as “a moral
outrage”. Five months on, children continue to be held at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal
Centre for indeterminate periods in prison-like conditions, the Government’s plans having stalled
and been watered down. Continue reading

Driven to Desperate Measures

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes today a report on deaths of asylum seekers and migrants which damns government policies for putting vulnerable people at risk.

Full report available in pdf here: Driven to Desperate Measures: 2006-2010

On Tuesday, an Angolan asylum seeker died during his deportation. But this is not an isolated case. According to IRR’s report, Driven to Desperate Measures: 2006-2010, forty-four people have died since 2006 as a consequence of the iniquities of the immigration/asylum system. Another seven died at the hand of racists on our streets. Continue reading

Deportation imminent – detention indefinite

The futility of indefinite immigration detention is laid bare in a recent report by the London Detainee Support Group (LDSG), No Return No Release No Reason.

Full report here in pdf: No return, No release, No reason – challenging indefinite detention Sept 2010

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. The UK should end its derogation from the EU  Returns Directive and adopt a maximum time limit for detention. The evidence shows that extended detention more often leads to release than deportation. The UK should follow best practice in the EU and implement a time limit of one month.
2. Likelihood of imminent deportation should have priority in decisions by UKBA and the Tribunal to initiate and continue detention. Detention, if it must be used, should only be used for deporting and removing people. Where this is not imminent,
deportation can be pursued while the person is in the community.
3. The detention of mentally ill people should end. The distress and psychological deterioration caused to mentally disordered detainees is disproportionate to the ends sought by immigration control.
4. Decision-making by UKBA and the bail courts should be evidence-based. Assessments of risk to the public should be undertaken by the National Offender Management Service, and should form the basis of risk assessments in considering
detention or community-based alternatives. UKBA should only assert a high risk of absconding in an individual case where a clear evidential basis exists. UKBA should publish its internal management information on procedures and timescales for obtaining travel documents from all national embassies. This information should be considered by the Tribunal in assessing whether
deportation is imminent.
5. Where deportation is not imminent, communitybased alternatives to detention should always be used. UKBA should study the successes of the Swedish and Australian models, which have achieved high rates of voluntary return through an emphasis on dialogue with asylum-seekers and migrants in the community. Continue reading

House of Lords_Immigration: Detention of Children

11 Oct 2010 : Column 323
Monday, 11 October 2010, 2.44 pm
Asked By Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will end child detention in immigration cases.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): My Lords, I am unable to provide a date for the ending of detention of children for immigration purposes but we remain determined to end this practice as soon as possible. Working with NGOs, we are designing and testing alternative arrangements to protect children’s welfare while ensuring the return of families who have no right to be here. We are making significant progress. Continue reading

Petition to: end child immigration detention – Government response

This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end child immigration detention. More details

Submitted by Esme Madill of End Child Detention – Deadline to sign up by: 06 June 2010 – Signatures: 4,925

More details from petition creator

In the UK we routinely detain the children of asylum seekers in removal centres, prisons in all but name.

We detain 2000 children every year, many for months on end. These children have committed no crime. They, or their parents, have simply exercised their right to claim asylum. Continue reading

Changes in legal aid threaten to hit the most vulnerable

Ahmed, a survivor or torture from Iran, was represented by GMIAU. Before meeting the solicitor from GMIAU, he had made two suicide attempts and was experiencing trauma symptoms including nightmares and intrusive thoughts.

In all the early sessions with his counsellor and interpreter, Ahmed was so disturbed he was unable to respond to any questions asked by the counsellor. He would freeze and be unable to speak. If there was a desk in the room, he would fall completely silent and often leave the room, as the desk reminded him of his interrogation cell. Ahmed’s lawyer at that time was in London, but Ahmed was too psychologically disturbed to make the journey and often missed appointments. Continue reading