Fast-track deportations ruled 'unlawful' in UK
Published 27/07/2010 | 05:00
MINISTERS in the UK faced double embarrassment last night over the practice of arresting failed asylum-seekers late at night, or early in the morning, in preparation for rapid removal from Britain.
The high court in London declared a Home Office policy that denies some refugees a last-minute appeal against deportation "unlawful".
The Home Office said it was disappointed and announced that it would appeal against the ruling. And a Whitehall watchdog yesterday warned that early-morning raids on families seeking asylum intensified the stress felt by youngsters.
The landmark court ruling came after human rights lawyers challenged the instant removal from Britain of certain categories of refugees.
In general, people are given 72 hours' notice that they are to be deported, enabling them to launch a final legal challenge.
But three years ago the previous government introduced an "exceptions policy" that enabled immigration officers to fast-track the removal of some refugees. It includes those judged to be at risk of becoming suicidal if they knew they were about to be deported, and children deemed likely to abscond.
In his ruling, the judge said one case he found "disturbing" was that of a teenage girl, known as "T", from Eritrea, who was taken from her English home by UK border agency officers at 4am one morning and -- unable to contact her lawyers -- flown to Italy just hours later.
Tim Finch, head of migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: "The current system for removing migrants is a mess. It tramples over basic rights in its desperation to be seen to be taking action." (© Independent News Service)