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State facing €100m bill to fight 2,000 asylum seeker deportation injunctions

The State is facing a potential legal bill of over €100m to fight injunctions granted by the High Court to 2,000 asylum seekers who are fighting enforced deportation.

The cases have now backed up in the High Court, many involving families who have been living here for years but without proper papers, and could take at least five years to come to court. Most of those appealing their deportation are being forced to stay in State-run hostels where there are consistent complaints about conditions.

Tomorrow the High Court will begin to hear the first of hundreds of cases where parents of children born here are seeking to be returned to Ireland with their children. The families of children born here are now legally entitled to return following a decision of the European Court of Justice in March which declared children born in the EU to foreign national parents are entitled to EU citizenship.

Under the European Court's 'Zambrano' judgement, it appears that the State will have to pay the costs of returning the families who were deported even when their children were born here.

Even though the Zambrano judgement was passed down in March the Department of Justice and Garda National Immigration Bureau continued deporting families of children born here.

One of the cases coming to the High Court involves a Mongolian woman and her two children who were born here. She was deported in August and is now seeking to be returned to Ireland.

And, in what immigrant groups say is a rush to deport asylum seekers, the department is now seeking to deport pregnant women before they give birth.

On December 21 another case is due where the department is attempting to deport a Pakistani woman who is eight months pregnant.

Azwana Aslam, who is 26, was arrested at her home in Galway last Tuesday week and brought to Mountjoy women's prison. She was in a highly distressed state and had to be brought to the Rotunda Maternity Hospital for fear she would go into labour. An emergency sitting of the High Court was held at night in Judge Gerard Hogan's home in Dublin and he granted an injunction against her deportation pending a hearing.

Ms Aslam is also a member of a Muslim sect which is subjected to murderous persecution in Pakistan and other countries by Islamic fundamentalists. There are around 400 members of the sect here and eight, including a mother of three, are the subject of deportation orders.

Despite the mounting cost there appears to be no let-up in the State's insistence of fighting all deportation injunctions which cost on average €50,000 each. In a number of cases the State has sought costs against law firms who have sought injunctions but failed. However, these "wasted costs" cases are being appealed to the Supreme Court at even more expense.

Sunday Independent