Glasgow - Second Dawn Raid in less than a week

Source The Unity Centre www.unitycentreglasgow.org

Second Dawn Raid in less than a week
First Legacy Case refusal family detained
Family taken to Yarlswood instead of Dungavel as Dungavel is set to close

Protocol? What Protocol?

In Glasgow in the last eight months 800 families have been sent a "Legacy" questionnaire as part of the Home Office's 'Case Resolution' process aimed at clearing the backlog of cases of families who had been, in many cases, for almost seven years. The Home Office recently announced that 720 families out of 800 have been granted leave to remain and 80 families have been refused.

Two years ago the previous Labour Scottish Executive agreed a protocol with the Home Office that was supposed to minimise the trauma to children in families being forcibly removed as the result of political campaigns, community led protests and direct action by groups such as Glasgow No Borders and Unity. This protocol in particular involved the appointment of a 'Lead Professional' social worker to act as an advocate on behalf of the family refused the Legacy and to find out if there were any special factors that may impact upon the removal such as medical issues, particular close connections to the local community etc. Many lawyers and asylum seekers support groups were led to believe that that the Lead Professional would have four weeks to prepare a report for the Home Office to take into account before a person's Legacy case was rejected.

In practice however it appears that the Lead Professional is notified that they need to make a report for a family only after the Home Office have decided to refuse the Legacy review. As a result many suspect that the Lead Professional system is being cynically used by the Home Office to identify any issues that may stall a forced removal before the attempt to remove a family is made rather than to identify legitimate factors that should be taken into account before the Legacy is refused as teh Scottish Government requested.

Of the families who have been refused the Legacy the majority appear to have been refused on the grounds that they have failed to report at one time or another during the asylum process or alternatively that a member of the family has a criminal record even if this is only an admonishment at a Shreiff Court or a driving offence. In Scotland an admonishment is where the judge rules that there has been a technical breach of the law but no punishment is necessary. It is a verdict usually handed out when the Sheriff believes a case has been a waste of time and shouldn't have come to court. The Home Office however have decided however that such a verdict is enough to refuse the Legacy review for a number of families.

One of the very first things the SNP Executive of the Scottish government did when it came to power last May was to make very strong statements against the detention of children and the Home Office practice of dawn raids.

Yesterday morning the first family who has been refused the Legacy case was dawn raided.

Bridget OKoro came to the UK in May 2004 when she was 24 years old. Yesterday morning she was woken up by loud banging on her door. It was six Immigration Enforcement and police officers. Terrified Bridget let them in because she didn't know what was happening. Once the police was in her house, Bridget collapsed in shock and her terrified, three year old daughter was taken to another room, crying loudly.

Very quickly, in less than half an hour, Bridget and her daughter were bundled into the van and driven to the Reporting Centre at Festival Court on Brand Street. In the van Osaivbie cuddled her mum and kept telling her that it would be alright. After two hours in the Home Office in Glasgow, Bridget and Osaivbie were driven in a van with blacked out windows to Dallas Court in Manchester and then eventually to Yarlswood detention centre, arriving there after a ten hour journey at 5pm in the evening.

The family have been given removal directions for 10am on Friday 16th May. we have only three days to arrange legal representation to try and stop the flight. This family needs your help, please take urgent action now!

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