Institute of Race Relations - Calendar of Racism and Resistance (11 – 25 May 2022)
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe
Now Online: https://rb.gy/gnfvqq
Home Office Detains All Asylum Seekers It Plans To Send To Rwanda
All the asylum seekers whom ministers want to send to Rwanda have been placed in detention centres after arriving in the UK on small boats, the Home Office has confirmed. When the government announced its controversial plans last month to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, officials said some of those issued with notices of intent that they would be offshored would be served with the notices while living in the community and would have 14 days to appeal against the decision. About 100 asylum seekers are thought to have been issued with notices of intent so far.
However, the Home Office has confirmed to the Guardian that everyone they want to send to Rwanda has been locked up in detention centres, with the community option not currently being used.
nver Solomon, the chief executive of Refugee Council, said: “The government is now so determined to treat any person fleeing war or oppression, including those escaping Ukraine and Afghanistan, as a commodity to be shipped to Rwanda that it is choosing to detain them immediately.
Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://rb.gy/ba11zx
‘Migrant Hostile Environment’ is 10 Downing St
Ten years ago, Theresa May – then the home secretary – declared that her government intended to “create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration”. It triggered a major policy disaster, in the shape of the 2018 Windrush scandal. Yet despite government claims to the contrary, the hostility is not over.
Over the past decade, the UK’s immigration system has been made harsher by successive governments. The flagship “hostile environment” rules, intended to cut people off from essential services by making institutions such as the NHS or private landlords check people’s immigration status, have been accompanied by a flood of other restrictions.
The crackdown has helped create a large number of people whose lives are rooted in the UK, but who are forced to live in forms of legal limbo. These include people who are undocumented – a group estimated to be anywhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million in number, according to the barrister and author Colin Yeo – and people whose immigration status is temporary.
Read more: Open Demcracy, https://rb.gy/ud4mpn
Civil Servants Booed at Asylum Centre Meeting
Home Office officials were booed when they met with villagers opposing plans to use a former RAF base to house hundreds of male asylum seekers. The government intends to use the site at Linton-on-Ouse, near York, for up to 1,500 people, with 60 set to arrive before the end of the month. On Thursday 19th May, senior civil servants were questioned for two hours by residents.
During the meeting it was announced Home Secretary Priti Patel will meet with villagers to hear their concerns. The plans, first revealed in April, have been heavily criticised over concerns about the impact on the local area, lack of facilities and lack of consultation.
Read more: bbc News, https://rb.gy/cilqoc
Deprivation of Citizenship Has Legal Effect Even if Later Withdrawn
When the Home Office withdraws a decision to deprive someone of their British citizenship, does the person get their citizenship back (prospective) or was it never lost in the first place (retroactive)? This was the deceptively simple question that the High Court grappled with in E3 & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1133 (Admin), eventually concluding that the effect of withdrawal is prospective only.
[Incorrect citizenship deprivation decision by Home Secretary, which was later withdrawn, still means man’s daughter, who was born in the meantime, is not British. Very serious consequences for entirely blameless child.]
In 2017, the Home Office made orders stripping the applicants, “E3” and “N3”, of their British citizenship. At the time, officials thought they would not be rendered stateless because they had Bangladeshi citizenship. After lengthy litigation, the Home Office withdrew its original decisions in April 2021, accepting that the decision would have rendered them stateless.
Basically: even if the Home Office is wrong, if it had a reasonable belief about what it ended up being wrong about, the person deprived of their citizenship suffers the consequences.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/bxe1sa
EU Citizens’ Rights Group Launches CSI Justice Campaign
Campaigners are pursuing compensation for EU citizens wrongly found to be unlawfully resident for lack of private health insurance. The CSI Justice campaign, launched by lobby group the3million, follows the recent Court of Justice ruling that EU nationals did not need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance to be legally resident in the UK as students or self-sufficient. The Home Office and UK courts had always insisted that they did, despite having the right to use the NHS. Consequences of failing the supposed CSI requirement included denial of benefits, inability to qualify for citizenship and permanent residence, and even removal from the UK.
The campaign is “supporting people to pursue justice and explore options to seek restitution”. Its website points out that claims for damages for breach of EU law can still be brought in the UK until 31 December 2022. CSI Justice is asking people personally affected by the CSI issue, or lawyers representing them, to get in touch via the contact form.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/hqiqbn
When Does the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 Come Into Force?
The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was signed into law on 28 April 2022. But there is a difference between a law being “on the statute books” after being passed by Parliament and it actually being “in force”. Most of the 2022 Act is not yet in force and will be phased in over time.
The commencement provisions are found in section 87 of the Act.
Section 87 provides that a handful of provisions came into force straight away, on 28 April: Some other sections of the Act also came into force on the day it became law, insofar as they allow the Secretary of the State to make or consult on regulations:
Then there are a bunch of provisions which, by virtue of section 87(5), come into force at a known date in the future. This is after “two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed” — so 28 June 2022.
The rest of the Act will only come into force once a commencement order is made. In practice there are likely to be multiple commencement orders bringing different sections into force at different times.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/na6mr2
Protecting Rights of Migrant, Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Women and Girls
The Committee of Ministers, meeting in Turin, has adopted a new recommendation to protect the rights of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls providing measures to better respond to needs and challenges that they face.
Drawing on Council of Europe treaties including the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and the Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, the recommendation addresses issues faced by women and girls: from adequate transit and reception facilities, to their health needs or establishing gender-sensitive asylum policies.
Also drawing on findings from the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture and from relevant United Nations instruments, it provides member States with a checklist of measures to ensure that migrant women’s human rights are better protected.
Part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025), the recommendation furthermore provides guidance to member States regarding women’s needs in terms of social services, employment, education and participation, to ensure that public policies fully contribute to the integration and empowerment of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls.
Welcoming the adoption, Secretary General Marija Pej?inovi? Buri? stressed how crucial it was to acknowledge that women and girl migrants, refugees or asylum-seekers have particular needs and circumstances which should be considered at all stages of the migration process.
“The war in Ukraine sadly shows the high risks faced by refugee women and girls. This recommendation provides specific advice to our member States on how to better protect them from all forms of violence, to support victims and to ensure accountability of perpetrators” she said.
Council of Europe: https://rb.gy/htxxgh
Home Office Has No Power to Vary High Court Bail Conditions
In R (BVN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1159 (Admin) the High Court has confirmed that the Secretary of State has no power to interfere with the conditions attached to a grant of High Court bail. It is an unusual issue and the judgment contains some rare analysis of the distinction between High Court bail and interim relief in unlawful detention proceedings. There is also a potential practical benefit to foreign national offenders seeking release from immigration detention without an electronic tag.
The Lesser-Spotted High Court Bail
Once a detainee has brought an unlawful detention claim and persuaded a judge they should be released at an interim relief hearing, the judge has two options. The first, and probably most common option, is for the court to issue an injunction which requires the Secretary of State to exercise her powers to grant the detainee immigration bail. The second option is to use the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction to grant bail for the duration of the proceedings, a power identified by Sir John Donaldson MR in R v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p Turkoglu  QB 398. In theory, at least, the second option gives the High Court more direct control over the exact conditions imposed.
In this case, the judge ordering release wanted to impose bail conditions not for any immigration purpose but rather to protect BVN from re-trafficking upon release. He therefore decided to pursue the second option and grant High Court bail. The Secretary of State had other ideas and, five days after release, decided to impose a reporting condition on BVN.
No Home Office Power to Vary
Mr Justice Bourne concluded that the imposition of that reporting condition was unlawful. The only option for the Secretary of State if she wanted to impose a reporting condition would be to apply to the High Court to vary the grant of bail:
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/dsjoze