Socialist Worker

Tories sneak out immigration reports

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2598

Tory immigration policy in action

Tory immigration policy in action (Pic: Ian Burt/creative commons)


The Tories tried to smuggle out five reports into their racist immigration policies last week in the hope they wouldn’t be noticed.

The Home Office published the reports a few hours after home secretary Amber Rudd had begun giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

And their publication came only two days before parliament’s Easter recess.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s (ICIBI) reports make damning reading about Britain’s asylum policies.

One ICIBI report documented how the Home Office tries to make it harder for unaccompanied children refugees to enter Britain.

Some 2,959 unaccompanied children had made applications for asylum between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017.

The Home Office raised 705 “age disputes” in that period—and in 402 of those cases ruled that the refugees were adults.

The report shows that the policy for determining age is stacked against claimants.

Home Office staff “were left to make judgements about age based on their ‘own experiences’ of what children and adults looked like”.

It details one case of a Syrian refugee which showed how “failures could seriously compromise a claimant’s ‘best interests’.” He was born on

10 November 1999 and registered his asylum claim on 30 August 2016.

On the same day the Home Office raised an “age dispute” and “recorded the claimant’s date of birth as 10 November 1997”.

This decision meant six months of uncertainty for the Syrian refugee.

After the refugee’s “substantive asylum interview” in February 2017, the Home Office changed his date of birth on the Case Information Database (CID) to 10 November 1999.

Ordeal

Yet finally being recorded as a child wasn’t the end of the ordeal. The Home Office did not close the age dispute on the file or make clear the decision to any other agency.

It is down to individual case workers whose “views differed about when to use the ‘significantly over 18’ option”.

Home Office and local government services operate a “benefit of doubt” rule which allows some refugees to enter Britain.

The report found that Home Office workers were more willing than social workers to give children the benefit of the doubt.

“Social workers told inspectors that Home Office staff could ‘too readily’ apply ‘the benefit of the doubt’,” it said.

The Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act was supposed to oblige the British government to take in unaccompanied child refugees. The Tories resisted it at every turn.

First they defeated attempts to specify that Britain should take in 3,000 child refugees—and then closed the programme last year.

Many of the unaccompanied children are part of the 1,500 refugees trapped at Britain’s border in Calais in northern France.

They have fled the West’s wars, poverty and dictatorship.

The only solution is to open the border and let in all the refugees—children and adults.

For more go to standuptoracism.org.uk

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