The Government’s latest mass deportation is due to depart to Pakistan in three weeks time, with potential victims of torture and human trafficking being sent back to the country of their trauma.
At least 70 individuals are set to be deported to Islamabad, thought to include victims of modern-day slavery and trafficking.
Lawyers are criticising the latest in the Government’s harsh treatment of vulnerable people, believing the swift removals are flouting the Home Office’s own rules that all deportees are entitled to accessing legal advice. Yet, as ImmiNews reported last week, detainees are often starved from proper legal representation and are abandoned by the system.
One anonymous asylum seeker due to return to Pakistan was forced to flee after disobeying his family by refusing a marriage. He has a British wife and a child in the UK.
The Government is putting nationalistic, anti-immigration rhetoric before taking into consideration each individual case
Speaking from Harmondsworth removal centre, the individual said: “It’s depressing and painful leaving family behind. I feel life is ending here. I don’t see any future.”
Director of Public Law at Duncan Law Solicitors, Toufique Hossain, labelled the Home Office’s choice to deport people as fast as possible as a “relentless practice of mass expulsion.”
The Home Office responded with: “We make no apology whatsoever for seeking to remove immigration offenders and dangerous foreign criminals.”
As has been widely documented with the Jamaica deportation, this “dangerous criminal” label is not as simple as Priti Patel would pretend.
While the men being deported were all people who have served a sentence due to committing a crime, some deportees were deeply entrenched in situations that are notoriously difficult to get out of without support. As the Tories have slashed police and community resources budgets to the bone, many of those individuals had no way of getting out of the gang violence that they were trapped in. Besides, having served their time, is it common or ethical for the UK’s civil justice system to punish offenders twice?
The Government has since criticised the court of appeal for forcing them to reduce the number of deportees.
Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Dominic Cummings seems to believe that he, Boris Johnson and Tory ministers are above the law.”
Besides, having served their time, is it common or ethical for the UK’s civil justice system to punish offenders twice?
The removal to Pakistan mirrors the Jamaica removals in the sense that the Government is putting nationalistic, anti-immigration rhetoric before taking into consideration each individual case.
If this is about safety and security, and not about cutting costs and cutting numbers, why the rush? The Government could treat each case on its individual merits as it claims it does, yet evidently, this is not the case.
Claiming asylum is a long-winded and difficult process due to people’s various experiences, often traumatic, which becomes re-traumatising as the individual not only has to recall every detail but do so in a way where they are trying to convince the officer across the table that they are not a fraud.
In a similar case, sisters Nazia and Samina Iqbal have narrowly missed deportation for the time being, due to be deported to Pakistan after a judge deemed their LGBTQ identities to be fake. The underlying assumption is that being LGBTQ is not the norm, reinforced by activists who have found that a ‘culture of disbelief’ is enforced by the Home Office regarding claims from LGBTQ asylum seekers.
The Government must review its deportations with the utmost urgency and care.
[Header image: Getty/The Independent].