LibLink: Alistair Carmichael on divided refugee families

 

Alistair Carmichael has written a post on PoliticsHome with the title: Refugee families divided by lines of Home Office rule book. He starts:

Imagine that you have had to flee your home because of a repressive government. Imagine that you’ve then faced a long, life-threatening journey to reach a country where you are able to apply for asylum. Imagine going through an extensive, bureaucratic asylum system and eventually experiencing elation at being granted refugee status.

Then imagine being denied the right to bring your family members to come and join you, or facing the invidious choice of only being able to be joined by some of your very closest relatives, but not others.

This is exactly what the current refugee family reunion system operated by the UK Government is doing. Just when family members need each other the most, they are kept apart, divided by a few lines in the Home Office’s rule book.

It seems that the rules only allow an adult refugee in the UK to sponsor their spouse or partner, plus any dependent children under the age of 18.  They exclude adult children who may still be living with their parents, as well as elderly dependent relatives.

Worse still, unaccompanied children in the UK with refugee status are not allowed  to sponsor their parents or anyone else to join them.

These are children with refugee status, who have been found by the UK Government to be unable to return home because they would not be safe, who are then denied the opportunity to live with their parents.

The Government’s rules are keeping loved ones apart and forcing refugee children to live separated from their parents. This is why I am pleased to have been able to secure a debate on these rules so that MPs from all parties can send the message that we must inject some compassion into the way we treat refugee families. Hopefully, it is a message ministers will hear.

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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