Stephen Slater, Senior caseworker & In-House Advocate of Legal 500 recommended Immigration Law firm OTS Solicitors recently took part in a discussion on controversial Talk Radio DJ James Whale’s show to discuss US immigration and deportation tactics – and the UK approach to deportation and Asylum. Dealing with typically hard-line opinions on the treatment of Asylum seekers and illegal immigration, and immigration bail, Stephen, an experienced UK immigration lawyer, presented an articulate, alternative view and offered some helpful insight into why immigration is perceived as such a huge issue in British politics today.
Donald Trump’s approach to deportation – not a ‘new’ idea
Donald Trump’s approach to deportation as a speedy process without involving immigration judges, the courts or any opportunity for review has been heralded as an effective approach to illegal immigration. James Whale’s starting point was to suggest that the UK should take a similar approach, detaining all Asylum seekers (including children) until any claim for Asylum has been resolved and returning anyone arriving in the UK without the appropriate visa and with no good reason to be in the UK.
Stephen explained that the idea of expedited removal is not a new idea, originally introduced in the USA under Bill Clinton with the Illegal immigration Reform and immigration Responsibility Act 1996. Donald Trump’s executive order has simply expanded the use of the powers in what amounts to a very ‘light touch’ policy. The result is that those who have been in the USA less than 180 days can be removed for 3 years.
In respect of ‘administrative removal’ – the removal of individuals if they are convicted of a crime, this has been in place in the UK for some years, and in 2000 was expanded under Tony Blair to include overstayers and those involved in other immigration irregularities, not just criminal records.
Detention of children breaches UNCRC
Known for his ‘shock jock’ tactics, it’s perhaps no surprise that James Whale moved the interview on to suggest that Asylum seekers should be detained (in good conditions, and without separating children from the adults they travelled with unless there was suspicion of trafficking) until their claim had been heard and only then would they be allowed to enter UK society (or be returned).
As any of the best immigration solicitors in London would understand, Stephen explained a number of issues with this approach. Primarily, the complexities of individual situations regularly mean that someone’s reasons for being in the UK may start off as one thing and then morph into something different. Whenever children are involved, there is an additional layer of complexity – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child prevents the detention of children, and the UK immigration rules make it clear that in any immigration decision, the best interests of any children involved of affected must be taken into account. In many cases, someone with irregular immigration status may have a British child. As Stephen candidly explained, detaining a British child while their parent’s immigration status is resolved does not sit comfortably. Further, any child who has been in the UK for 7 years should not be removed.
Politicians should stand up to the electorate and explain that immigration is not the problem it is perceived to be
Finally, Stephen explained that the UK does detain some with irregular immigration status, including Asylum seekers, but judgments are made on a case by case basis whether immigration bail should be granted. Objectively, the number of successful Asylum applications are very small – contributing may be 1/8 of net UK population growth. immigration and Asylum is simply not the big problem it is perceived to be. Expressing a view that some opportunistic politicians have built their careers on this manufactured perception of immigration being a ‘big problem’ for the UK, Stephen called on MPs to stand up to the electorate and call them out on this. In closing, Stephen suggested that the UK
“…need to grow up a bit and stop thinking that blaming foreigners will solve our problems…”
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Posted on: Thursday, 28 June, 2018