News & Views Monday 2nd January to Sunday 8th January 2017  
Immigrants Should Have to Learn English Before Coming to Live in Britain

In a major report on integration, politicians call for urgent action to bring the country’s communities together. They warn that the failure to help people integrate has left a “vacuum for extremists and peddlers of hate”. In a series of ground-breaking recommendations, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration says immigrants to be required to learn English before coming to live in the UK, or be enrolled in compulsory classes when they arrive. The Group also says there should a regional immigration policy based on the Canadian model where the nations and regions of the UK can issue their own visas.

The All-Party Group also calls for a Controlling Migration Fund to help those areas most affected by immigration. They also say the EU referendum on June 23 last year should be a “wake up” call to ministers on the need to bring communities together.  “Since 2004, we have seen the largest single wave of immigration that Britain has ever experienced. “Alongside this, we have witnessed growing inequalities, rapid technological advancements, and cuts to public and voluntary sector services which have tended to undermine opportunities for social mixing and for the integration of newcomers.

Read more: Jason Beattie, Mirror,
Afghan Teen Detained by Home Office Threatens to Kill Himself

An Afghan teenager has vowed to kill himself behind bars in a detention centre near Gatwick airport rather than be forcibly returned to Afghanistan, where he says he will be killed by the Taliban. Idress Wazeer, 18, has twice attempted to take his own life since being detained by the Home Office in Brook House immigration removal centre last month and told that he would be forcibly removed from the UK any time in the next 30 days. Wazeer arrived in the UK when he was 14, after fleeing persecution by the Taliban, and claimed asylum. He says the Taliban attacked him and shot him in the leg, leaving a variety of scars on his body, and that his family were killed by the Taliban because of work his brother did for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) disapproved of by the Taliban. Home Office officials dispute his age and say he was 16 when he arrived in the UK.

Wazeer said: “I am very scared about being sent back to Afghanistan. I am determined to kill myself rather than be forced back to my country. The Taliban killed my mum, my dad and my brother and I’m not going to let them kill me, too.” He added: “I’m so depressed that I can’t eat and can’t sleep. I’m very frightened about what’s going to happen to me. I’m too young to deal with all this.” Wazeer’s first attempt to kill himself was on Christmas Eve while in his room with fellow detainee Michele Terzaghi, an Italian.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,
 Mali Sends Back Migrants Deported by France

Mali has sent back two people who were deported from France on the same planes they arrived on, questioning whether they were even Malian citizens. The pair were flown to Bamako using European travel permits or "laissez-passer", not passports or other Malian papers, the government said. The government said it could not accept people "simply assumed to be Malian". Recent reports of a deal with the EU to repatriate failed Malian asylum seekers have sparked protests.  In a statement, the Malian government condemned the use of the European "laissez-passez" in cases of expulsion, describing it as "against international conventions". It also warned airlines not to let people using the document fly to Mali. The French authorities have not yet commented. Malians are among the sub-Saharan African nationalities most deported from France:

BBC News,
Scrap Insurance Rule For Stay-At-Home Parents From EU

Ministers should scrap strict immigration rules that risk disqualifying EU citizens such as stay-at-home parents and students from securing permanent residency in the UK if they have not taken out private health insurance, according to a backbench Tory MP. Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, said she would be supporting a petition that calls for the removal of the little-known requirement, after several EU citizens applied to the Home Office post-Brexit and discovered they should have obtained health insurance when not working. The MP said a new “simple, efficient and rapid” immigration registration process for the 3 million EU citizens in the UK was needed as soon as possible to end the “bureaucratic nightmare” they faced.

She added it was “completely unacceptable” that EU citizens living in the UK were being left in limbo, and said their situation, and that of Britons in Europe, should be the “number one priority” in Brexit negotiations after Theresa May triggers article 50.

Read more: Lisa O'Carroll, Guadian,
Pregnant Women in Immigration Detention

Heidi Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many women recorded as pregnant have been held in immigration detention; and how many of those women left detention to be removed from the UK since the Immigration Act 2016 came into force.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Through section 60 of the Immigration Act 2016, which came into force on 12 July 2016, we have placed a 72 hour limit on the detention of pregnant women for the purposes of removal, extendable to up to a week in total with Ministerial authorisation.

It may not always be appropriate for healthcare professionals to disclose confidential medical information that the patient has asked not to be disclosed. Subject to these limitations, Home Office management information indicates that 12 pregnant women were detained in the immigration detention estate between 12 July 2016 and 30 September 2016. Of these women, 1 was removed from the UK. The section 60 limitations, along with a new policy on adults at risk in detention, and other improvements to caseworking processes, represent a comprehensive package of safeguards for pregnant women in the immigration system.

House of Commons: 30/12/2016,

People's Ability to Seek Legal Advice Reduced in IRCs

In a recent survey published earlier this month by the charity BID, it has emerged that people who are subject to immigration detention experience difficulties with obtaining legal advice, with about a half of the respondents receiving no representation, and having to represent themselves as a result. The lack of legal representation is blamed both on public funding cuts and the authorities' failure to provide detainees with relevant information and means of communication. It is understood that the authorities at various removal centres are reluctant to provide detainees with online access to certain websites, so that they could independently look for the advice they desperately needed. It is worth adding that on average it takes up to two weeks for a detainee to be seen by a detention duty advisor. Most detainees understand that there might be a legal remedy to challenge their detention as well as realising that it is difficult to establish the existence of that remedy, let alone seeking it, with no legal representation available. The situation is even worse in prisons, with only a fraction of respondents saying that they received any independent legal advice about their immigration case while they were in prison.

In his comments on the survey's findings, BID's representative John Hopgood notes that "people held in detention centres are among the most marginalised in society. The government detains them purely for administrative reasons, and then denies them the information and legal advice they need to challenge that detention. [...] It is completely unacceptable for anybody held in detention not to have access to legal advice."

There are currently about a dozen immigration removal centres in the UK. Over the past 12 months, around 30,000 people have been detained there, pending a decision on their immigration case. In an attempt to reduce number of migrants staying illegally in this country, the government sometimes resorts to not always appropriate and reasonable measures to prevent those with no valid immigration status from evading detention. Whereas in many cases people with an uncertain status are allowed to remain in the community, waiting for the outcome of their case, others, not as lucky, find themselves being locked up in removal centres, or even in prisons.

The usual difference between a detainee in immigration removal centre and an inmate in prison is that the former often will not have committed an offence that is punishable by a custodial sentence, save for the mere fact that there was something wrong with their immigration status. The practice by the authorities to detain immigrants in removal centres, while considering their case, is controversial and has been subject to a debate for a long time as well as constantly being challenged by various charities dealing with immigration detainees. There have also been instances of immigration detainees actually being kept in prisons pending the outcome of their immigration case.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

*Detention Services Orders For Home Office Officials*

This collection contains 57 Detention Services Orders. These are instructions outlining procedures in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) to be followed by Home Office staff.