I’ve updated the Borders Bill page here with a little more up to date information. This follows a Home Office press release on 25 June 2007 announcing that protection for children subject to immigration control will be enhanced. I’ve taken a look at the latest amendments tabled before the Lords, and it is difficult to see how these match up with the press release.
The Government is proposing a code of conduct for immigration officials to keep children safe from harm. Sounds pretty toothless.
Various Opposition peers are also tabling amendments to:
- Turn the proposed code of conduct into regulations, which would then be subject to judicial review and therefore provide far stronger protection.
- Remove the UK’s reservation to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for the purposes of exercising immigration control.
- Make Chief Immigration Officers, the National Asylum Support Service and immigration removal centres subject to section 11 of the Children Act 2004, which imposes a positive duty to ensure functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Grand Committee of the House of Lords will be sitting on 2, 5, 12, 18 and 23 July 2007 to consider the Bill, after which it will probably pass into law. When the various provisions will actually become active is another question. The Government has developed a bad habit of passing laws and then sitting on its hands not implementing them for a long, long time. Or, at least, Blair’s government did.