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Not in our name

May 29, 2021 2:18 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

5hz, (Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)We wrote some time ago about the behaviour of the Home Office and their hostile environment's impact on the Windrush generation see http://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2020/1384571/home-office-in-the-news-again. After the outcry about how innocent people were being treated there were promises of compensation although this continues to be mired in bureaucracy with compensation paid slowly with a parsimonious approach to payments. Promises were also made that processes would be reviewed and policy changes made

This issue came back into focus this week as stories began to circulate about what is happening with Europeans who either live or visit the country

The Independent reports the story of a 10-year-old girl has been refused EU settled status despite the fact that all of her immediate family members have been granted it. She has been told by the Home Office that she is not eligible for post-Brexit immigration status under the EU settlement scheme, even though her parents have been living in the UK since last year and have that status. A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are urgently looking into this case and are contacting the family to advise on next steps. You can read the full story at Girl, 10, refused EU settled status in UK despite all family members being accepted | The Independent

Then the Home Office published figures which showed he number of EU citizens being prevented from entering the UK has soared over the past three months despite the reduction in travel because of Covid. A total of 3,294 EU citizens were prevented from entering the UK, even though post-Brexit rules mean they are allowed to visit the country without visas. That compares with 493 EU citizens in the first quarter of last year, when air traffic was 20 times higher.

Since reports of EU citizens being locked up appeared in the Guardian and elsewhere, the Home Office has ordered that, where possible, such travellers be given bail so that they can stay with friends or relatives until they get on a return flight.

The Home Office has also since made it clear that people who have job interviews should not be expelled, despite several recent cases of that happening.

Really!! What civilised country deports people who have job interviews?

We know a key plank of the Brexit argument was to stop the free movement of people between Europe and the UK; to take back control of our borders, but did anyone think it would involve splitting families, stopping people coming for job interviews ?

Of course not. The Home office has a history of over zealous application of "rules" they create. You would think that a government committed to a "global Britain" would be a bit more concerned with the way we project ourselves as a country who welcomes visitors

But maybe not. The decision to prevent our musician's from travelling to Europe ( unlike those for example from the US) because the government chose a highly restrictive interpretation on free movement is an illustration of how ideology trumps influence see

http://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1389320/band-on-the-run. British music has for many decades created a positive image of the country amongst the young around the world. At a time we want to "punch above our weight" it seems odd we would deliberately seek to reduce that positive impact

As Liberal Democrats we reject this little Englander approach to our borders. Don't be surprised if the media starts to be full of stories of Brits detained etc as we force some sort of reaction from neighbours frustrated by our unnecessarily restrictive and insensitive approach to manging our borders