Immigration Bill: Joint Letter to The Times – 18 November 2013
Sir, The Immigration Bill has wide-ranging implications for the safety and welfare of thousands of children, including proposals to limit children’s access to vital services such as healthcare and homes on the basis of their families’ immigration status, and proposals to limit appeal rights, including where children’s welfare is at stake.
We are very concerned about the omission of children’s best interests considerations, in particular in the proposals relating to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights — the right to respect for family and private life. If implemented in its current form, this will have significant detrimental consequences for children, including many who are British citizens.
These measures run counter to the UK’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the statutory duty under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, which provides for the welfare and safeguarding of all children in the exercise of immigration functions. Nor do they reflect established case law on children’s best interests.
We are calling on the Government and Parliament to ensure that this Bill does not damage children’s welfare and that the UK upholds its duties to protect all children.
Peter Grigg, Director of Campaigns and Policy, The Children’s Society
Professor Carolyn Hamilton, Director, Coram Children’s Legal Centre
Bridget Robb, Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers
Andy Elvin, CEO, Children and Families Across Borders
Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just for Kids Law
Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive, The Who Cares? Trust
Bridget Lindley, Deputy Chief Executive & Principal Legal Adviser, Family Rights Group
Leigh Daynes, Executive Director, Doctors of the World UK
Sheila Melzak, Executive and Clinical Director, Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile
Dr Helena Kaliniecka, Clinical Psychologist and Service Manager, Dost Centre for Young Refugees & Migrants
Keith Best, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Don Flynn, Director, Migrants’ Rights Network
Rita Chadha, Chief Executive Officer, Refugee & Migrant Forum of East London
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, The Refugee Council
Salah Mohamed, Chief Executive, Welsh Refugee Council
Dave Garratt, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
Wayne Myslik, CEO, Asylum Aid
Adrian Berry, Chair, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
Vaughan Jones, Chief Executive, Praxis Community Projects
Celia Clarke, Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees
Baljeet Sandhu, Solicitor & Director, Migrant & Refugee Children’s Legal Unit, Islington Law Centre
Catherine Gladwell, Director, Refugee Support Network
Emma Williams, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees