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It's not just the USA that breaks up families in immigration rows

Theresa May recently called the US Government policy of separating immigrant children from their parents “deeply disturbing” and “wrong.” What the Prime Minister failed to mention, however, is that the UK also detains parents away from their children in immigration cases; despite the fact that Mrs May herself introduced the policy when she was Home Secretary.

Increasing numbers of parents and immigration campaigners are speaking out about the little-known part of the Home Office ‘Hostile Environment Policy’. The policy has seen 322 children torn apart from 167 parents in the year ending July 2016. Those figures are according to the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) who point out that many of the children involved have to be taken into local authority care – at huge expense – when their parents are detained.

Unlike in other countries, immigration cases in the UK are often settled by the Home Office out of court, with non-disclosure agreements preventing any public scrutiny. This means that nobody can be sure of the number of families torn apart by immigration officials, and that this little-known power is being wielded with relative impunity.

Campaigners and rival MPs have branded the Home Office’s actions as “reprehensible”, pointing out that there is no time limit on immigration detentions, and that the forced separation of a child from their parents has long-term, adverse consequences for the child’s development, education, and health.

In the event that anyone – especially a parent – is summoned to an immigration interview or has other dealings with the Home office about UK visa issues, it is vital to obtain early legal advice and representation. Early intervention by a specialist immigration lawyer can solve problems before they get out of hand, and in some cases can prevent the need for detention altogether. If you are at all concerned about your immigration status, or have received a letter from the Home Office about your status, please contact us today so that we can help.


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