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News & Views Monday 22nd July to Sunday 28th July 2019


Support Lesbian Mum From Pakistan to Bring Her Son to Safety

Ms Mohammed is a refugee who fled to safety after her abusive husband discovered she was a lesbian.  She is asking the Home Office to allow her son to join her in the UK.  He is on the run and in danger of honour killing after supporting his mum and helping his sister to escape abuse. Ms Mohammed’s appeal is being heard on 20 August.

Background: Ms Mohammed was given full refugee status in 2016 because of the homophobic violence and persecution she suffered in Pakistan. Considering how difficult it is to win asylum in the UK, the fact that Ms Mohammed was quickly granted refugee status shows how serious the threat to her life was.

Ms Mohammed has three children who she was forced to leave behind when she fled. Tragically, her oldest daughter has since disappeared, possibly at the hands of Ms Mohammed’s ex-husband.

Ms Mohammed applied for family reunion through an international programme, but she was told she couldn’t include her son.  Reunion was granted for her youngest daughter. 

Her son is in grave danger in Pakistan. Ms Mohammed’s ex-husband had planned a forced marriage for his daughter in revenge against Ms Mohammed for leaving. Her son defied his father’s authority and helped his sister escape and now he has been cast out from the family, severely abused and is destitute living underground. The father is a supporter of the ruling party and therefore has additional power in society. Her son showed enormous courage in standing up to his father and the family. Ms Mohammed’s application for him to join her here should be fast tracked so that he gets immediate protection as his life is at risk.

Ms Mohammed says: “If I had been in control of my family I would have brought my children with me when I left. But I didn’t dare; children are considered the father’s possession. My brave son is traumatised by the violence he has suffered and witnessed. He chose not to support his father in persecuting his sister. He should be protected, not punished for that courage. How else will other young men be encouraged to support their sisters rather than side with elder males of the family to ruin their lives? If my son is killed by his own father it will just be another death in the name of fake family honour. It will be justified because he supported his sister to re-join her lesbian mother. This is considered the worst disloyalty. My son is alone and scared and often cries on the phone. As a mother I don’t remember any night when I sleep without crying.”

Read more:

US Expands Powers to Deport Migrants Without Going to Court

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it will vastly expand the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them first to appear before judges. It is the second major policy shift on immigration from the federal government in the last eight days.

Starting on Tuesday 23rd July 2019, fast-track deportations can apply to anyone who has been in the country unlawfully for less than two years. Previously, those deportations were largely limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the US-Mexico border.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, portrayed the nationwide extension of “expedited removal” authority as another Trump administration effort to address an “ongoing crisis on the southern border” by freeing up beds in detention facilities and reducing a backlog of more than 900,000 cases in immigration courts.  US authorities do not have space to detain “the vast majority” of people arrested on the Mexican border, leading to the release of hundreds of thousands with notices to appear in court, McAleenan said in the policy directive to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

Read more: Guardian,

Separated Migrant Children to Access Legal Aid More Easily

Draft legislation will bring immigration and citizenship matters into the scope of legal aid for separated migrant children.

Once approved by both houses, the change will ensure some of society’s most vulnerable children can more quickly secure legal advice and representation by bringing immigration and citizenship matters into the scope of legal aid for under 18s who are not in the care of a parent or guardian, or who are looked after by a local authority.

Previously, separated migrant children making non-asylum immigration applications to remain in the UK would have been required to apply for legal aid through the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme. This is intended to ensure legal aid is accessible in all cases where there is a breach or risk of a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights or enforceable EU law.

Justice Minister Paul Maynard said: It is absolutely right that legal aid should be available to separated migrant children to resolve their immigration status, which is why this has always been available through the Exceptional Case Funding Scheme. The changes we are bringing in will mean they can access the support they need quicker and more easily. The Ministry of Justice has worked with The Children’s Society and other children’s charities on the amendment and will continue to do so as it comes into force.

Dr. Sam Royston, Policy and Research Director at The Children’s Society said: The Children’s Society is pleased the government is moving forward in their promise to reinstate legal aid for thousands of separated and unaccompanied children for all of their immigration and citizenship cases. Once approved, the changes will make sure this vulnerable group are able to access free advice and representation to resolve immigration issues and secure their citizenship. It will ensure this can be done without the stress of applying for exceptional case funding, or trying to navigate complex immigration rules and human rights law all alone.

The amendment is in addition to publication of the department’s Legal Support Action Plan earlier this year. This committed to improving the Exceptional Case Funding scheme, expanding the scope of legal aid in all Special Guardianship Orders in private family law cases, and will remove the means test for parents or those with parental responsibility who wish to oppose applications for placements or adoption orders.

Reviews have also begun into the legal aid means test to ensure accessibility into the future, along with the entire criminal legal aid system through the Criminal Legal Aid Review.

Minister Paul Maynard, Ministry of Justice,

Roots to Return – A Guide to Out of Country Appeals

- What are out-of-country appeals?
- Who do out-of-country appeals affect?
- How do I lodge an out-of-country appeal?
- How do I prepare for the appeal hearing?
- Do I have to pay a fee, and will I be able to be represented by a solicitor in the UK?
- Before removal/deportation: If I am still in the UK, how can I challenge certification and an out-of-country appeal?

When the Home Office refuses an immigration or asylum claim, they may certify it and deny the right to appeal from inside the UK. This guide deals with both asylum (“protection”) claims and human rights claims.
Instead, you are given the “right” to an out-of-country appeal, meaning that you may be removed/deported before the appeals process. You would then have 28 days (from the date of removal) to lodge an appeal from the country you are removed to.

Read the full guide: Roots to Return,

G4S Made £14m Profit From Scandal-Hit Brook House Removal Centre

G4S made a gross profit of £14.3m over a six-year contract running an immigration removal centre that faced allegations of abuse against detainees, the government spending watchdog has revealed. Brook House, near Gatwick airport, was the subject of a BBC Panorama exposé in September 2017 in which it was alleged that officials mocked, abused and assaulted detainees. In March this year, the Commons home affairs committee asked the National Audit Office to investigate claims that G4S had been inaccurately reporting its activities in order to generate profits of up to 20% of revenues. The NAO found G4s made a gross profit of £14.3m from its Brook House contract between 2012 and 2018, with gross profit rates of between 10% and 20% per year.

The watchdog said 84 incidents of physical and verbal abuse identified from the Panorama footage were not classified as a contractual breach and did not lead to any significant penalties. It said G4S’s profits fell when it started to spend more on delivering the contract after the Panorama broadcast. Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs committee, said: “For G4S to be making up to 20% gross profits on the Brook House contract at the same time as such awful abuse by staff against detainees was taking place is extremely troubling.

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

Theresa May’s Hostile Immigration Legacy

This week marks the end of Theresa May’s tenure as prime minister. While people’s attention is focused on the spectacle of either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt becoming our next unelected prime minister, Theresa May’s premiership may be quickly outshone by the changes made by the country’s new leader and the ever-present shadow of Brexit. However, we should not forget Mrs May’s legacy of the hostile environment, which is still in full and terrifying operation, jeopardizing the lives of thousands of migrants and their families. The Windrush scandal is an especially heinous consequence of Mrs May’s hostile environment with people such as Paulette Wilson, a woman who had lived in the UK for 50 years being detained and threatened with removal to Jamaica, or Sonia Williams who came to the UK from Barbados in 1975, aged 13 who lost her driving licence and her job; Albert Thompson has been denied cancer treatment and, tragically Home Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed a number of as-yet unnamed individuals have died after being removed from the UK to Jamaica.

It is not just Windrush that remains a dark blot on Mrs May’s copybook. The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) scandal has affected over 30,000 foreign students to date.  Accused of cheating on their English language tests (a requirement for their student visas), individuals had their visas revoked resulting in many feeling unable to return to their home countries as their reputations had been tarnished and unable to complete degrees that they had spent thousands of pounds on. Instead, these individuals have instead had to pursue expensive and difficult legal cases to try and clear their names. An all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has just published a report on the TOEIC scandal, with damming findings on the Home Office policies and procedures. The key findings of the APPG are that the Home Office disregarded key evidence in the individual cases, made fundamental factual errors, ignored expert advice and relied on flawed evidence. Many of the students affected by the scandal have, like the Windrush victims, had their lives ruined as a direct result of the policies of Mrs May, first as Home Secretary and then as Prime Minister. Her legacy should not be forgotten and one hopes lessons will be learnt by her successor.

Abigail Evans, Bindmans,

SSHD (Appellant) v Franco Vomero (Italy) (Respondent), UKSC 2012/0226

On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (England and Wales)

The respondent, an Italian national, arrived in the UK in 1985. On 23 March 2007, the decision to deport him was made by the Secretary of State. This was after the respondent had been released from prison in 2006, having served his sentence for manslaughter by reason of provocation, of which he had been convicted in 2001. The respondent’s appeal against the decision to deport him was allowed by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal after it had been initially dismissed by a differently constituted panel. The Secretary of State’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court made a reference to the Court of Justice on the premise that the respondent had not, at the time of the decision, acquired a right of permanent residence. The purpose of this further hearing is to determine what order should be made by the Supreme Court in light of the CJEU’s reasoning with regards to the reference.

The issue is: On remittal to the Upper Tribunal, should the respondent be permitted to argue that he had acquired a right of permanent residence by the time of the decision to deport him was made?

The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal.

Asylum Research Consultancy Country of Information Update Vol. 199

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 9 July and 22 July 2019.

Download the full report: