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Home Office relying on explicitly racist reasoning to refuse human rights cases

“It is noted that your former partner was born and raised in Jamaica. It is therefore considered that the children you have with her have Jamaican heritage and there would be nothing unduly harsh about them being raised within their own inherited culture.”Home Office civil servant, August 2014

I’ve left out the names. There were two children and both were born in Britain as British citizens. They can “go home” where they belong, though, as far as this civil servant is concerned.

This matches with another recent refusal in another case of mine but where similar reasoning was applied to an adult partner:

“It is not known the exact date your wife naturalised as a British citizen however she was originally born in Karachi. Your wife’s country of origin is also Pakistan, she spent her formative years growing up there and maintains her ties to her home country by visiting families on holidays. Therefore she should have no issues with integrating herself back into the culture.”Home Office civil servant, February 2014

Again, I’ve left out personal details. The lady in question, now middle aged, had come to the UK as a small child and been naturalised soon after arrival. Note the reference to her “home” country. Britain can never be her “home”, she is told here by the British state.

The poisonous discourse of immigration law and control is increasingly racist. It is hardly surprising that it infects the reasoning of civil servants tasked with enforcing our increasingly draconian immigration laws. We’ve had Mark Harper’s “go home” vans. Stop and search immigration raids are used on racially diverse areas. Judges casually question ethnic minority witnesses at court on their immigration status, and Home Office civil servants will ask to check papers if the witness asserts they are British. With new landlord checks due to be piloted from December in Enoch Powell’s old stamping ground, it feels as if what progress has been made since the 1970s is slipping away.

Colin Yeo
Colin Yeo A barrister specialising in UK immigration law at Garden Court Chambers in London, I have been practising in immigration law for 15 years. I am passionate about immigration law and founded and edit the Free Movement immigration law blog.

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