Britain abuses asylum seekers

Britain appears to try to discourage people to apply for asylum by subjecting them to wanton mistreatment if their requests are denied. The Grauniad has a story about how breastfeeding mothers are now jailed and separated from their babies:

Breastfeeding mothers are being separated from their babies for several days in the government’s drive to deport failed asylum seekers, Guardian Unlimited can reveal today.

Immigration officials have been accused of flouting several UN conventions by detaining mothers away from pre-weaned infants in at least two cases this spring.

In March this year a Vietnamese mother was seized from her Birmingham home without notice. She was then locked up at the immigration removals centre at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, without her six-month-old baby.

The woman, known only as Mrs N, was due to be sent back to Vietnam, even though she was married to a British citizen and the authorities were aware that they had a child.

She was reunited with the baby after a last-minute reprieve allowing her to stay in the UK to challenge the decision. She had no contact with the baby for four days.

I wish I could say that it’s because Tony Blair, a man widely considered to be viewing himself the Governor of a large US state rather than a Prime Minister, is copying not only the USA’s foreign policy but also its attitude toward immigrants. Unfortunately this is happening all over Europe, with extreme right-wingers calling for revokation of citizenship of Arab-French youths who were connected to the 2005 riots, and with the French government copying the American “lock up every male who has the wrong skin color” approach toward crime.

The government’s response in that case was a typical, “Oh, it was just a one-time thing” remark. Then when it turned out it was at least a two-time thing, the same bureaucrat said it was against a few obscure Home Office regulations. Somehow, I don’t buy it.

Note to people who like to spout emotional arguments about how immigration hurts jobs: if you can declare that citizens have an inalienable right to unskilled jobs, then I can declare that non-citizens have an inalienable right to not be treated like dogs.

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