Patel’s Asylum Plans ‘Serious Threat’ to Rule Of Law - ‘Undermine Access To Justice’
In a damning indictment of the Home Office’s proposed immigration overhaul, the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales said the reforms would “make a mockery of British fair play” and risked “overturning” the principle that everyone is equal.
In an 81-page consultation response to the plans, Law Society president I Stephanie Boyce warned that penalising asylum seekers who reach UK shores by “so-called irregular routes”, such as by boat, risked breaching international law by creating a “two-tier asylum system”. “The proposals seek to push asylum-seekers who reach the UK by irregular routes into destitution or homelessness as a way of coercing them to leave the country. Extremely vulnerable people seeking asylum are exercising their legal right to escape human rights abuses – to penalise them in this way could constitute a further abuse. Punishing victims of crime is not acceptable in a civilised, democratic country which upholds the rule of law.
Read more: Independent, https://is.gd/Ni2K8y
Congolese Man Unlawfully Detained for Three and a Half Years
To a person in detention, particularly in prison, every day of freedom lost matters and the Defendant needs to be able to justify it. In this case I think that principle became lost to sight. So says the High Court in the case of Louis v Home Office  EWHC 288 (QB), a depressing false imprisonment claim in which the Home Office was taken to task for its appalling treatment of a vulnerable detainee who was held under immigration powers for over four years. The court found a multitude of failures going “very well beyond maladministration” that resulted in Mr Louis, a care leaver who arrived in the UK aged 13, being unlawfully detained for 42 of the 51 months he spent in immigration removal centres. The case also shows the necessity of an effective system for monitoring detainee welfare on the prison estate, an issue to which the courts are now becoming alert. In 2010 Mr Louis was convicted of robbery and spent nine months in prison, after which the Home Office decided to detain him. In making that decision, officials characterised Mr Louis as a dangerous criminal, despite the offence being described by the trial judge as “relatively spontaneous low-level street robbery”. A deportation order was only actually issued after he’d been detained for 26 months.
Read more: Freemovement, https://is.gd/z6nt73
UK-India Migration Deal
The UK and India signed a non-binding agreement on migration this week. The basic ingredients are to beef up cooperation on removing unauthorised migrants in exchange for a minor liberalisation on youth mobility-type visas and some warm words on encouraging temporary migration more generally. Such a deal has been on the cards for years and a text was reportedly ready for signature in 2018, but was dropped in light of the Windrush scandal which made removals politically unappealing for a time.
Removing unauthorised migrants: “Cooperation relating to the prevention and combatting of illegal migration” (Chapter 4 and Annex 2). This includes procedures for verifying the identity of someone being sent back, types of documents that will be accepted for that purpose, and timelines for acknowledging responsibility for the person being removed. If they have a passport, the authorities in the country of return are supposed to respond within 20 days (or failing that, 30 days). If not, the timeline is 60/90 days. Emergency Travel Documents should be issued within five working days.
Also in Chapter 4 is a provision targeting Indian nationals said to be deliberately making their UK-born children stateless in order to secure them permission to remain. This echoes a clampdown on perceived abuse of the statelessness rules in the New Plan for Immigration.
Read more: Freemovement, https://is.gd/3fYMkE
Over 2,000 Refugees Die After EU State Pushbacks
More than 2,000 refugees have died during the pandemic as a result of illegal pushbacks by countries in the European Union (EU). EU states, supported by EU border agency Frontex, have driven a mass operation to repel asylum seekers, according to analysis by the Guardian newspaper. At least 40,000 refugees have been pushed back to states outside the EU since the start of the pandemic while attempting to cross Europe’s borders. Border guards have used illegal methods, such as violence and abuse. In 2020 around 100,000 refugees crossed land and sea to reach Europe, compared to 130,000 in 2019 and 190,000 in 2017.
But, despite the numbers decreasing, border controls have been intensified by countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain, Croatia and Malta. They have used the pandemic as an excuse to slam borders shut. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo is a leading immigration lawyer and lecturer in Italy. “Recent reports suggest an increase of deaths of migrants attempting to reach Europe,” he said. “And an increase of the collaboration between EU countries with non-EU countries such as Libya, which has led to the failure of several rescue operations.”
Read more: Isabel Ringrose, SWP, https://is.gd/3kgklE
Right to Remain Toolkit - A Guide to the UK Immigration and Asylum System
Know Your Rights - Understanding the asylum and immigration system, and your own legal case, is very important. Many people have to make their way through this very complicated system without legal representation (without a lawyer). Even if you have a lawyer, it’s important to understand your own legal case – this is your case and your life and you need to keep track of what is happening and whether the lawyer is doing the things they should be.
Information and Action - The information in this guide comes from experts – from people who are going through the legal process or have done in the past, from those helping them, from lawyers, from community groups. It covers different stages of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at each stage, and advice about actions you can take to be in a better situation, or to help someone else.
The Right to Remain Toolkit is free to use, and it’s for people who want to learn more about the legal process, or a particular part of the legal process. You might be making an application or are thinking about it; you might be helping someone else to do so.
Read more: Right to Remain, https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/