BBC BLOGS - Mark Easton's UK
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Children in detention at Yarl's Wood

Mark Easton | 11:53 UK time, Monday, 27 April 2009

What sort of country sends a dozen uniformed officers to haul innocent sleeping children out of their beds; gives them just a few minutes to pack what belongings they can grab; pushes them into stinking caged vans; drives them for hours while refusing them the chance to go to the lavatory so that they wet themselves and locks them up sometimes for weeks or months without the prospect of release and without adequate health services?

My country, apparently.

Reading the report (The Arrest and Detention of Children Subject to Immigration Control [2.4MB PDF]) from England's Children's Commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, into the treatment of children and young people at the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre near Bedford will leave many feeling ashamed.

Of course, there are no easy answers as to how Britain ensures that foreigners don't abuse our benevolence by claiming asylum without good reason. But can this conundrum ever necessitate our treating children with such cruelty?

Sir Al went into Yarl's Wood almost a year ago and spoke to staff, families and children. The centre is where many failed asylum-seekers are held before deportation. Each year, around 2,000 children are locked up there.

The testimony from the youngsters who find themselves unwittingly ensnared at the sharp end of the immigration system tells a story more resonant of a totalitarian state than of contemporary Bedfordshire.

The arrest

According to the children's accounts, some were still asleep when the arrest teams arrived - large numbers of uniformed officers who on occasion hammered on the door or even smashed it down and ran into their homes shouting.

One boy of 11 told the children's commissioner:

"There was this woman, just shouting, shouting at my sister to get up. She was in bed asleep and she's only five so she was crying and the woman just kept shouting at her. She didn't have to do that. The search was bad. Why did they have to search my sister? She is only five, what is she going to have? They touch you all over and they're rough. It's rude."

The report explains how some children described officers as taking pleasure in the family's distress, including telling them that they were "going back to their own country" and laughing and making fun of them when they showed signs of distress or anxiety.

One child said that an officer had called his mother "stupid" and laughed at her crying and distress, while others were told that it was "tough" if they didn't like the officer's attitude.

The children and young people revealed that some immigration officers had used force to control and restrain them - a finding that the children's commissioner describes as "a significant cause for concern".

Imagine what it must be like if you are a young child who has lived in the UK for many years, perhaps all your life, to be woken one morning and told you have just a few minutes to pack your stuff and get out.

That, apparently, was a common complaint of the children and families in Yarl's Wood, a procedure that the report describes as "one of the most de-humanising aspects of the arrest process".

Children were forced to leave behind their most treasured possessions such as shoes, school books, toys and music. Many would never be reunited with their belongings.

A single woman told Sir Al that she had been handcuffed in front of her children, aged one and three, after "panicking" when she was told that she had only three minutes to pack.

Another family with two children suffering from sickle-cell anaemia was prevented from collecting antibiotics and folic acid needed by the children.

The UK Border Agency, which is responsible for the system, "accepts the need to do more work around the topic of belongings that are left behind" and is reviewing the use of force and guidance on medication.

The journey

According to Lin Homer, head of the UK Border Agency speaking on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour last September: "we do not use caged vans, we use people carriers". The "Enforcement Instructions and Guidance" states:

"Families should not be transported in caged vans unless the risk assessment dictates otherwise."

But that is not what the children said. And when challenged, the agency admitted to the commissioner that "contractors do sometimes use caged vans during the 'second stage' transport of families from the reporting centre to Yarl's Wood".

This is often the longer part of the journey, with children imprisoned in vehicles "stinking of urine" and "stained" with vomit. No wonder some said that the journey made them feel like criminals or animals.

What's more, many of the children complained about the lack of "comfort breaks" on the long journeys to detention. This had led to "accidents" in some cases. A chance to go to the lavatory was apparently denied "even when the vans stopped for petrol and, on at least two or three occasions, access to a toilet was denied throughout the whole journey despite urgent requests to stop."

If a parent treated their children like this, they might well be charged with neglect.

Treatment at Yarl's Wood

Unsurprisingly, children locked up in Yarl's Wood described it as being "like a prison". Their emotional state was often fragile, their having been ripped from the life they had known with no idea what had happened to their belongings or the pets they have been forced to leave behind and without the chance to say goodbye to their friends.

"One child asked us what the time was. When we replied with the time and the day he appeared sad and told us, "Oh, I thought it was a Saturday. If it was a Saturday I would be swimming with my friends now."

child's drawing from Yarl's Wood 01

This picture, drawn by one young child and reproduced in the report, says that it is 0900, "it's a Sunday and I want to play football and I support Liverpool".

The healthcare of the children at Yarl's Wood was also found to be poor, in particular the need to ensure that youngsters are protected from disease when they are returned to their country of origin.

"Preventative healthcare arrangements prior to removal, for example immunisations and the provision of malaria prophylaxis, were found to be so inadequate as to endanger children's health."

Since the visit, the private contractor which runs Yarl's Wood, Serco, has appointed a head of clinical governance and a paediatric nurse.

Sir Al's findings relate to a visit almost a year ago, a year in which the government has agreed to adopt fully the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (see previous post, UK to give up child rights opt-outs).

child's drawing from Yarl's Wood 02Article 37 of the convention states that the detention of a child "shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time".

The children's commissioner believes that this means that the government must put an end to the detention of children "for administrative purposes". He wants "an urgent review" of the system but accepts that nothing can happen immediately. (You can listen here to Sir Al on this morning's Today programme.)

The government, on the other hand, signed up to the convention confident that it would not prevent them arresting and detaining children of immigrants who were due for deportation.

While today's report welcomes recent improvements and ongoing reviews into the way children are treated by the UK Border Agency, it is not easy to see how the Home Office is going to square its obligations under the convention with its determination to be "tough" on failed asylum seekers with children. In the end, I suspect, lawyers will argue it out and a judge will decide.

UPDATE, 17:07: Following this post, the Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has commented:

"If people refuse to go home then detention becomes a necessity. We don't want to split up families, so we hold children with their parents, and while they are in our care we treat them with sensitivity and compassion.

"This inspection took place over a year ago and since then we have made even further progress, with Yarl's Wood Removal Centre praised on numerous occasions for its children's facilities - in fact Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons praised us for the 'significant progress' we have made. We now have full-time independent social workers, and a range of trained experts to monitor welfare 24 hours a day."



Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 12:56pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    What a depressing situation. What have these children done to deserve such horrid treatment by our government? Their 'crime' is being born into unfortunate circumstances. Actually, it is the people who create these immoral migration laws for our own convenience who lack morality. By demanding the government to get 'tough' on these people, we are creating these inhumane outcomes. There is no just way of controlling migration.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 1:03pm on 27 Apr 2009, stanilic wrote:

    The immigration system, if one can call it that, is in a mess. That it is also inhumane should surprise nobody as that is the nature of chaos.

    Given that the current administration has set its face against any sort of amnesty for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants still resident in this country we can expect a lot more of this sort of thing.

    For my part I cannot understand how all these people were let into the country in the first place complete with families but I will leave that to Mr Woolas to explain.

    Perhaps he can also explain how it is that vulnerable families are rounded up but violent foreign thugs just released from prison seem to be able to roam free?

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 1:24pm on 27 Apr 2009, toughgeoff wrote:

    What has this Country and Government done to deserve the invasion of these foreigners. Perhaps their own parents should think about this before they set off illegally to come here and adding to the financial problems we already have. I suggest they are not allowed off the plane or boat, or whatever method they use, and sent straight back home. I would also suggest that Sir Al Aynsley - Green is sent with them along with the rest of his cronies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 1:25pm on 27 Apr 2009, midori_no_saru wrote:

    Gorecki wrote: "By demanding the government to get 'tough' on these people, we are creating these inhumane outcomes. There is no just way of controlling migration."

    This is a typical "argument of the excluded middle" whereby a few undesirable outcomes are used as an argument for going all the way in the whole opposite direction. The fact is, migration is already controlled, for very good reasons, and we cannot afford not to control migration.

    It is bad if children are harmed. We can do what we can to ameliorate this, but we must also accept the multiple causes of this kind of situation, not least the parents who brought them, or in some cases send children, unaccompanied, the political situations in the migrants' countries, the countries they refuse to go to, preferring this one, and the simple fact that we cannot take the numbers of children and adults who want to come.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 1:28pm on 27 Apr 2009, anthonygh wrote:

    Last week we read about the Gurkhas...this week small children and families.

    Is there no depth that this government won't stoop to to debase the reputation of this country?

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 1:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, Necrothesp wrote:

    Unpleasant indeed, but as a police officer I take issue with the claim in the first paragraph that "police officers" are doing this. The rest of the article talks about "immigration officers", who are not police officers. Let's get our facts straight and stop blaming the police for everything please.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 1:35pm on 27 Apr 2009, get-real wrote:

    Who are these people who do this work and allow themselves to descend to the level of thugs? Are they trained in these attitudes or are they recruited because they already possess them? Given what we have recently seen from the police officers at the G20 protests, it seems clear that there is an institutionalized attitude by the servants of the State towards any of us whom the State does not approve: total contempt. What is the point of politicians and the media banging on about the Holocaust and how we must "never forget" when they then encourage the use of totalitarian techniques by their uniformed operatives? Where will it end?

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 1:44pm on 27 Apr 2009, littledoo19 wrote:

    If all avenues of asylum seeking has failed the family concerned then the best idea IMHO would be to put them straight on a plane back to where they came from. Dentention Centres give the" Bleeding Heart Brigade" the opportunity to give further hope to these families and then what to do with them - send them back into the community to disapper - no thanks - send them stright home - job done - any trauma to the kids cannot then be blamed on the government - what about the parents taking some of the blame for dragging the kids out of their own environment in the first palce - on a goose chase in many cases ( these ones that cannot be granted asylum and have only come for a "better life")oh but that doesn't happen does it

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 1:47pm on 27 Apr 2009, possumpam wrote:

    It is monstrous that children should suffer this inhumane treatment. The Unit responsible is part of the Home Office. The Minister responsible is the Home Secretary. Those responsible must be named and shamed We must not allow this infamy to be swept under the carpet, or spun into something untrue. Thank you Mark for bringing it to our attention

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 1:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, British_Nationalist wrote:

    The asylum system is clearly cruel; it should not give false hope to these people. The fundamental rule of asylum-seeking is that refuge should be sought in the NEAREST safe country. There are no dangerous countries adjacent to the UK so all asylum-seekers are going to be rejected unless they somehow work the system.

    It would be kinder (but wouldn't seem that way to bleeding-heart liberals) to deny all requests immediately and without recourse to appeal, and repatriate to the most recently visited safe country immediately on arrival. Very few would come to this country once they knew that was going to happen and much angst would be saved.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 1:49pm on 27 Apr 2009, big__ted wrote:

    Nice, toughgeoff. You make me disgusted to share a nationality with you.

    And as for "Who are these people who do this work and allow themselves to descend to the level of thugs?", they're security contractors employed on the cheap to minimise the cost to the taxpayer, which of course justifies everything.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 1:51pm on 27 Apr 2009, edmonston wrote:

    What I would like to know is, 'who are the people so devoid of humanity that they can do this to children, or indeed any human being?' and 'why are they permitted to work in a job which requires supervisory control of others?' This question first came to me when considering the recent confirmation of torture sanctioned by the Bush adminsitration, but it seems as relevant here. Whatever the regulations and their appropriateness, it takes people to enforce them in this dreadful manner. Those capable of behaving in this way should be censured and prohibited from work of this nature. We talk of a brutal, uncaring society - is it any wonder when the State permits such brutality.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 1:55pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    midori_no_saru

    I reject the 'middle' option. Freedom of movement should be a human right. By placing any controls on migration, we divide people into eligible and ineligible, legal and illegal. However if these 'criminals' have done something wrong, show me their victim. We criminalise people on the arbitrary basis of where they were born for our convenience. While technically not racist, it has the same effect: discrimination and segregation on the basis of the circumstances of a person's birth. The effects of limiting migration are just as immoral as racial discrimination.

    It is understandably emotive to hear of children being harmed by our government. But the broader picture is just as bad; we* shouldn't treat adults like this either.

    It is understandable that immigrants prefer this country. We were incredibly lucky to be born here, and I suspect you would feel a great deal of injustice if you were forced to move to somewhere you do not wish to be for the convenience of others. If you feel this country has become overcrowded, I fully support your fundamental right to improve your life and move somewhere you feel happier.

    * By the way, who do you include in your broad term 'we'? People from your street, your town, your county, England, Britain, Europe? Why?

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 1:58pm on 27 Apr 2009, neil wrote:

    Human rights apply to failed immigrants as well, especially the unfortunate children who had no choice in where they ended up. Is it civilised to simply blame their parents for putting them in a situation where they can be humiliated and abused by thugs. If immigration officers do behave in this way then it is time to train them better so that they can adhere to the professional standards expected of nurses, police and the like.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 2:01pm on 27 Apr 2009, de rigueur wrote:

    Surely the unfortunate treatment of these children is not caused by our callous government but by the selfish desire of immigrants to come here without proper permission and then Liberty, Sir Al and Co. supporting them in dragging their feet through endless court appeals so as to avoid proper and speedy deportation. Nice bit of neutral reporting Mr Easton!

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 2:02pm on 27 Apr 2009, armagediontimes wrote:

    #3 toughgeoff. Tough guys do not normally pick on children. Think about this:

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist
    First they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    First they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist
    First they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew
    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me

    (Pastor Martin Niemoller)

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 2:05pm on 27 Apr 2009, hilley90 wrote:

    Pehaps the parents of the children should have thought about what is going to happen to their family before they brought their children here illegally.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 2:08pm on 27 Apr 2009, neil wrote:

    "Freedom of movement should be a human right. By placing any controls on migration, we divide people into eligible and ineligible, legal and illegal".

    Whilst an admiral principle, G0recki, would you not agree that all countries have finite resources? Migration control allows us to sensibly moderate free movement into our country. It is also naive in my opinion to see immigration as totally beneficial. What about the strain on the NHS, one of the institutions of which we should be proud.

    Also, communities need time to accept and adapt other nationalities because all cultures have their own distinct needs and desires some of which do not blend easily with the communities into which they want to settle. It is easier to achieve this if a sensible and sensitive immigration control is in place.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 2:11pm on 27 Apr 2009, EddieinSpain wrote:

    I'm so glad I don't live in the UK any longer. For years when I left I used to suffer from the same problem many expats suffer from, that of telling the locals wherever they were that things were much better back in the UK. Now I keep quiet about my origins. Nowhere is perfect but it does appear that the UK has completely lost the plot.

    This is an appalling story, there is never a good reason for ill treating children. Thankfully I wont have to explain this to my Spanish friends, they wont read it, but that doesn't make it any better and thare doesn't seem to be much hope that things will rapidly improve. How the mighty have fallen!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 2:15pm on 27 Apr 2009, big__ted wrote:

    Thing is, hilley, there's nothing illegal about claiming asylum, nor of going through the appeals process. There is, though, something very illegal about treating children like animals. In fact, you *couldn't* treat animals like this, either, without risking a prison term.

    How much do you - and other adorable types like BritishNationalist up there - have to hate foreigners before you can start blaming them for being abused like this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 2:22pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    ProfessorPepper, re "the selfish desire of immigrants to come here without proper permission"

    But they would not be granted permission, therefore are forced to act illegally. If wanting to make the most of your life is selfish, I guess we all are. It is also selfish desire that has created this insistence on granting permission to enter a country, purely for the convenience of its lucky citizens. However it is only this selfish desire that has direct victims.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 2:25pm on 27 Apr 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 2:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, kryton101 wrote:

    I would love to invite the entire world to live in the UK and Europe. It's a great place to live, civilised and we have adequate food, water, education, health care etc.

    But as we all know our country's rely on a fine balance of people who pay tax and the services that can be provided. Just like your own house hold if you invited 3more people to live there as could comfortably be accomodated there would be huge problems. When those people arrive uninvited it's even more of an issue.

    The days of setting sail around the world to new shores in search of a better life cannot continue just like driving without wearing a seatbelt is maddness. Times change and a prosperous future for the UK and Europe will be secured with a well provided for border control system.

    That said we need to do it in a humane and efficient manner. At the same time we need to secure the border to help them in not being able to get back in or in at all where they may place themselves in harm's way again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 2:35pm on 27 Apr 2009, Mark Easton (BBC) wrote:

    Fair point Necrothesp, thank you. I have amended the script - although police are often alongside immigration officers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 2:37pm on 27 Apr 2009, big__ted wrote:

    Isenhorn - given that the recent Polish economic migration was quite legal and didn't involve anything to do with claiming asylum, why are you even making this point here except as an opportunity to express your dislike of foreigners?

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 2:40pm on 27 Apr 2009, armagediontimes wrote:

    #22 Isenhorn. Very good - although you are confusing 2 distinct issues.

    Why take it out on children? It´s not their fault. Why not go after the "brains" behind this whole deal - people like David Blunkett who is on record as saying that there is no upper limit to the population of the UK.

    Plenty of people will listen if you go after the operators behind this scam - less will listen if you advocate giving the under 5´s a good kicking.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 2:41pm on 27 Apr 2009, possumpam wrote:

    I'm lucky to have a decent MP. I've just phoned her office and referred her to your column. Asked her to do anything she can to help the children of Yaris Wood. Might be a good idea if anyone as distressed as I am by the children's plight were to phone their own MP , refer them to Mark's report and ask for their help.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 2:44pm on 27 Apr 2009, MarcusMotley wrote:

    The photograph showing the drawings of the butterflies is very poignant, such is drawn by children in distress, in hospital care, in prison, in concentration camps. The child consciously writes the desire to play and watch football, the subconscious expresses the desire to be free.
    The UK Border Agency has some soul searching to do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 2:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, Hanny wrote:

    Children are not be blamed and abused like this because their parents have committed a crime. Whilst I agree that a crime has been committed (there are many victims of illegal immigration), we should not be punishing innocent children.

    Immigration officers should make sure that, when there are children involved, there are stringent regulations about their removal and detention, such as not being removed at night, having a translator available for children who don't speak English, being transported in clean and comfortable vehicles and being allowed comfort breaks. There should also be counselling for children in detention and rehabilitation programmes to help them adjust to life back in their parents' country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 2:50pm on 27 Apr 2009, neil wrote:

    kryton101 - My point exactly - but expressed more eloquently!

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 2:51pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    Neilho

    I most certainly don't see complete freedom of movement completely beneficial. But I do see it as completely fundamental. Free speech gives us the freedom to say non-beneficial things, however that does not mean we should be restricted in what we are permitted to say (I also reject the incitement to hatred laws). I don't doubt that public services and benefits would need to be reformed, and that you would need to earn the right to receive them, and this would therefore necessitate some form of administered citizenship (we need this anyway in order to collect taxes and allocate ballots). However citizenship should be available to all, no questions asked.

    Shorter: Freedom of movement trumps public services.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 2:55pm on 27 Apr 2009, GHS08 wrote:

    One area you could investigate for us, Mark, is the amount to which the adults, and their advisers, by their own actions put the children at the risk of this happening.
    Is there a due process?
    Is it followed?
    Are the adults aware that the process is coming to and end and that they and their families will be will be 'detained'?
    Are the adults aware of what 'being detained' entails and might entail?
    Are the adults given the opportunity to report voluntarily for 'detention'?

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 2:58pm on 27 Apr 2009, Prof John Locke wrote:

    these immigration officers should be arrested and charged with child abuse....surely they must be sacked and punished for this outrageous behaviour carried out in my name...i am ashamed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 2:58pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    Hanny-Banany, re "there are many victims of illegal immigration"

    Who?

    The only victims I can think of are the illegal immigrants themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 2:59pm on 27 Apr 2009, P Berry wrote:

    I'm afraid that this doesn't make me feel ashamed. We have to send a message to the rest of the world that we can no longer accept or support hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 3:04pm on 27 Apr 2009, JoePublic wrote:

    I think the rules should be changed that make it fairer for all and make the border agencies do their jobs properly.

    So my suggestion is that any "illegal" immigrant who makes it past the professional and diligent efforts of the Border Control Agency therefore has the right to stay in the UK and after 366 days can obtain full British Citizenship subject to an extra caveat as below...

    The payback is that ANY "illigal" immigrant / (new British citizen) under this scheme who is subsequently convicted of a custodial sentence in the British legal system at any time in their life is then stripped of British nationality and subject to deportation to their original country without appeal and exempt from any consideration under the laws on human rights.

    If an original country cannot be determined the individual shall be genetically tested, the country and area of origin identified and the individual deported there.

    Stick it in the constitution and away we go. It's a kind of contract between the UK state and the "illegals".

    Keeps it simple and efficient. Puts the onus on the border control agency to do their jobs properly in the first place and not become the types of people described in the article.

    Let's have no more ruining people's lives because the Border Control Agency is working to repair past failures.

    I deliberately left out analogies to things like Gestapo, Stasi, NKVD because I thought that wouldnt go down well with the general demographic that visits this type of site, but this report certainly conjures up some unwelcome and shameful imagery.

    At the same time there is no doubt a group of exploitative illegal immigrants who frankly come here to sponge but the vast majority by far are just ordinary people seeking a better life for themselves and their kids. Let's give people a chance but if they "blow it" they're gone.





    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 3:07pm on 27 Apr 2009, ManOfKent1 wrote:

    The people who support these illegal immigrants (or invaders as they could be classed) chose to ignore a number of obvious points.

    1. In most cases the parents chose to have children in the full knowledge that they could not support them.

    2. This country has a finite amount of resources - particularly space.

    3. People like big_ted and G0recki do not mention taking personal responsibility for the illegals they claim to care so much about. Instead they expect the rest of us to bear the cost of their misplaced principles. Such individuals can have no credibility until they actively take responsibility for the accommodation, care and conduct of each and every illegal immigrant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 3:08pm on 27 Apr 2009, rmb wrote:

    Thanks possumpam just done the same

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 3:28pm on 27 Apr 2009, Hanny wrote:

    G0recki,

    There are legal ways to enter the UK without having to resort to coming here illegally. But then you would also have to pay for visas, exams, speak English to a good level and pay taxes for the privilege. Illegal economic migrants who are not seeking asylum or fleeing persecution have planned to come into this country illegally, in full knowledge that they had done so and that there may be consequences. They have put themselves into that position and their children. They are not innocent victims of a system.

    How about a legal migrant who has spent years and thousands of pounds in paying for visas, exams, passports and then has to pay taxes as well, whilst others get in without paying a penny - is that person not a victim?

    How about all the people in the UK whose livelihoods, communities and public services are adversely affected by a sudden, large influx of people from abroad? These are also victims.

    Finally the children of these illegal economic migrants are victims of their parents' deliberate illegal actions.

    Many victims.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 3:29pm on 27 Apr 2009, El_Rupester wrote:

    This is just apalling.

    I was disgusted when I read the article: how could people be so cruel & inhumane? Why was thias allowed? Who will resign as a result?

    Now I am reading the comments and I am astonished and horrified.

    Even if these young children had committed serious crimes no-one should be treated like that.

    And of course, they haven't committed serious crimes. At worst it is their parents who are gulty of illegal migration: non-violent and fairly minor.

    And many of them are not guity of that at all.

    But to repeat: even if they were guilty, that still cannot justify treating people like this.

    Britain used to boast of virtues such as fair play, tolerance, government officials who treated people with respect and, of course, 'innocent until proven guilty'. Those all seem to be traditions we should be proud of, but people are sadly willing to ignore...

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 3:30pm on 27 Apr 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    big_ted @25

    Immigration is a problem in this country, regardless of whether it is legal or illegal. I mentioned the Polish economic immigrants, because according to the statistics they far outnumber any other recent group of immigrants. That was the reason why I made the point about them, and not my 'dislike of foreigners'.

    armagediontimes @26

    I do not condone the harsh treatment of children, be they immigrant or not. However, immigration is a serious issue and an open, honest debate about it should be held, putting the emotions aside. It is true that immigrants do suffer on their way to the country of their choice. What is also true however, is the fact that large scale immigration leads to problems in the recepient country that cannot be ignored. Looking on immigration from the point of view of empathy, although very commendable and a truly humane thing, might not be the best option when the down-to earth problems need to be solved.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 3:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    There are a lot of excuses being made here for the abuse of children.

    Basic human rights are universal, not selective. We might have a right to remove individuals from this country, but we do not have a right to treat them violently or to abuse them.

    Being in Britain illegally is not a crime of violence. It is not robbery, rape, assault, murder. The punishment is removal, not assault. And to justify physically and emotionally abusing a child for the mistakes of its parents? It is contemptible to suggest that abusing children 'sends out the right signals'. The only signal it sends out is that this country is not as civilised as we would like to think.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 3:45pm on 27 Apr 2009, ijoushaz wrote:

    Mr. Easton's article is misleading and sensationalist from the outset in that it does not clarify that 99% of these children would be with parents or guardians at the time of detention. The 1% would be joining a parent already in detention. It is illegal to detain a child alone in a detention centre as it is illegal to detain a child in a prison.

    If a family is being removed,is the Border Agency supposed to leave the children in the UK thereby separating them from their family? Most are the chilren of failed asylum seekers who will have gone through rights of appeal and who because of their unwillingness to leave the country may have been here for long periods of time thus making their removal all the more painful. Many adults will go to any lengths to avoid being removed, including recourse to violence. Border Agency staff and contractors take no pleasure in having to detain and remove these overstaying or illegal families and the families themselves are aware that the Agency will do anything possible to avoid the arrest and detention of children. It is damned if it takes no action and damned where it does act. As stated elsewhere it is the parent(s) who bring these arrests upon themselves and their children.

    It is of course the responsibility of the authorities to see that children detained with parents are properly cared for.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 3:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, VinChainSaw wrote:

    Deplorable but not unexpected after reading the rantings of some on this blog over the past few months. More than a few of these comments wouldn’t look out of place in 1940s Germany.

    Some people still seem to think fleeing for your life from a despotic regime is illegal, as apparently now is having kids.

    Every society gets the evils they deserve which might explain some of the things we see happening in Britain today.

    Get off your couch and go see why these people are where they are in the first place if you really have something to say about it.

    Some of you sicken me with your holier-than-thou attitude and abject lack of compassion. Half the world is populated by the British and yet still you moan about a few immigrants that have fled conflict zones and genocide to come here because this is virtually the only place they feel safe.

    You want to talk about space? Well how about you kick out any non-pale faces and replace them with the millions of peoples of British descent living in Spain, the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Hong Kong, India etc. Do you think those local people wanted British immigration - of course not. It was forced on them down the barrel of a gun. Can you imagine how little "space" there'd be on this island if there wasn't that mass migration over the last few hundred years?
    Oh I forgot that’s not you so it doesn’t count. Oh, and it happened before our time so it also doesn’t count. Any other excuses of why you're not a hypocrite please insert here.

    This short on the heels of police violence at the G20 summit, UK complicity in torture etc. How can the UK take the moral high ground on anything anymore?

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 3:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, big__ted wrote:

    @ManOfKent1 - I work hard, get paid well, and pay my taxes with little complaint. I'd would rather they went to human treatment of asylum seekers than, say, reduction in income tax for you. Sorry, but my conscience is quite clear on this.

    @Isenhorn - Why is legal immigration a problem? Skilled workers - there were lots in the Polish wave - and unskilled labourers are a necessary resource, more now than ever. Skilled people create wealth, unskilled workers with lower wage expectations reduce the cost of doing business. They reduce the wage expectations of British unskilled workers, too, which is no bad thing, as it increases the motivation to become skilled. My guess is that you object to legal immigration because it means there are now people in the country with different cultures, ideals, behaviours and attitudes to yours, and that you feel threatened and uncomfortable because of it. This is precisely why I like them.


    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 3:49pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    ManOfKent1

    As you and your straw man know, I of course can't take responsibility for every currently illegal immigrant, just like you and I can't take responsibility for every legal citizen of this country. Unless we want to live under totalitarianism, humans need to be trusted to be reasonably autonomous. Foreign folk are no less autonomous.

    I don't know how you can claim all illegal immigrants are unable to support their children. However I would agree it would be easier to support them if they were granted citizenship, so that they could work here legally, contribute to the economy, pay taxes and ensure that they aren't exploited by traffickers and unscrupulous employers.

    All countries have a finite amount of space. Like I said in comment 13, if you feel this particular country is overcrowded, I support your right to move wherever you would feel more comfortable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 3:51pm on 27 Apr 2009, ManOfKent1 wrote:


    Welcome to reality Simon Harvey, this country is not civilised or even particularly nice. However, it is our country and it is a lot better than most others. But by allowing just anyone to enter and settle, there has been a drastic decline in the quality of life here. This is partly due to the large numbers of people from other countries where crime is far more commonplace. Perple from countries where violence is prevalent (e.g. Sierra Leone, Somalia) are more willing to use it over here and can have a major impact when placed in the more peaceful settled population already in the UK.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 3:57pm on 27 Apr 2009, Emzdad wrote:

    Whilst I have sympathy with the children, especially the younger ones, it it their parents who are to blame.
    They are the ones who came here illegally, they are the ones who overstayed their visa.
    It is about time that the government, such as it is, sorted out this mess. I think there is a lot to be said for the American Green Card system.
    The other thing that irritates me is that we are an island, therefore, we are never the first safe haven that genuine refugees set foot in.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 3:59pm on 27 Apr 2009, Paulfair wrote:

    I would not say this balanced reporting and am disappointed by Mark Easton, especially in his use of anecdotes.

    Nobody wants children locked up but this is the solution as a result of their parents' neglectful actions

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 4:08pm on 27 Apr 2009, ManOfKent1 wrote:

    VinChainSaw - You complain about people ranting and then go on to deliver a classic example yourself. I think that we can safely ignore such drivel.

    Big Ted - Who said anything about income tax reductions? Tax revenues should finance health care, pensions and education - all areas that need more funding which would be available if people like you were not demanding it was spent on your own pet causes (that you are so unwilling to support personally).

    G0recki - So how many are you willing to take full responsibility for then? or are you just afraid of backing up your words with action. As for suggesting that I should leave the country if I feel that it is overcrowded. I think that it would be a better idea if you left and went somewhere that you can address the root causes for illegal migration at source - or are you too afraid to do that as well?

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 4:24pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    Thanks for replying, Hanny-Banany.

    First, legal immigrants. I reject the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. So illegal immigrants become legal immigrants. So the perpetrators become the victims, and the perpetrators disappear. It is logically impossible for them to be victims.

    Second, people in the UK. I can imagine that residents in areas that experience high levels of immigration would see their quality of life decrease. However I don't think they are victims. While they may see the roads becoming overcrowded, schools and hospitals oversubscribed, their liberty has not been infringed. Of course even if we closed our borders, this still happens due to internal migration. The north-to-south "brain drain" has contributed to overcrowding in the South-East, yet it would be unthinkable to limit this freedom of movement. If quality of life deteriorates too much, I support the right of people to move. This is of course the main (possibly only?) reason why migration of all forms occurs.

    Thirdly, the children of illegal immigrants. Same answer to the first, really. Their parents actions shouldn't be illegal. That is my point.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 4:25pm on 27 Apr 2009, simondrsmith wrote:

    I don't know what I find the most horrifying the actions outlined here or the apologists for this shameful behaviour. If being appalled at this cruelty makes me a 'bleeding heart liberal' then so be it but I think this has absolutely no place in a civilised society. Clearly those who advocate otherwise do not have the same expectations.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 4:31pm on 27 Apr 2009, VinChainSaw wrote:

    ManofKent - I have nothing against a rant, it's the message behind it that I'm against. Try reading my postings instead of simply inferring your bigotted ideals onto it.

    For the record - I find deplorable anybody that can condone and find excuses to justify such human rights abuses, especially where children are involved.

    Because they are not British citizens does not give anybody the right to act in this manner. Unfortunately the truth is that these officers are simply taking their cue from British society at large.
    You, manofkent, could just as well have been in that detention centre with those officers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 4:31pm on 27 Apr 2009, delminister wrote:

    its sad to see here but our little island barely has enough room for its indiginous peoples, and the constant drain on our beleagured resources needs to be removed thus illegal aliens should be rounded up and sent home sooner rather than later.
    too many corrupt business's take advantage of these people driving nationals out of work, yet more strain on the ecconomy becouse of shoddy government handeling of our boarders.
    this case shows an overly heavy handed approach but whats the underlying story.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 4:31pm on 27 Apr 2009, kencharman wrote:

    The UK is fully responsible for these problems because its past tolerance of illegal immigration and bogus asylum was a powerful magnet.

    This suited the chattering classes who feel wholesome with the door open but antagonises the majority of the population who clearly want the door shut.

    So idealism collides with reason and the result is a big mess.

    In this mix more humanitarian compassion acts as an accelerant that will increase the flow. The social tension is just not justified. It invites losses that will offset any gain. The Home Secretary has to adopt the attitude that Mitterand described as the greatest asset for a statesman [who is powerless to resolve every injustice]... "Indifference". Recent practice on expense claims should come in handy.


    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 4:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    big_ted @45


    You like different cultures and ideals, but do the people from those different cultures like yours? Are they willing to accept your attitudes and behaviour or are they bringing with them intolerance and hatred? You say that I feel threatened and uncomfortable because of the attitudes and behaviour of many legal immigrants. If the the ideals of those legal immigrants include things such as denying of women's rights and freedom of speech, persecution of gay people and atheists, then yes, I fell threatened and uncomfortable because of them. And you should, too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 4:37pm on 27 Apr 2009, nicemum wrote:

    What is really depressing is that this situation has been going on for several years. I am particularly disgusted that health care and particularly access to medication is so poor. I believe in 2008 a number of MPs signed an early day motion to protest at this.

    Families with young children make very soft targets for immigration officers. They are easy to find as they don't tend to move very often. It's an easy way to boost their statistics. I cannot imagine how frightening this experience must be for the families and for the children.

    I thought that we had a national strategy called 'Every Child Matters'?

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 4:38pm on 27 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    This entire 'issue'/'story' is a travesty of the practical-social reality and stems from the very worst aspects of well-meaning but blindly optimistic liberalism and unwarranted Political Correctness:

    Who brought these children into G.B. without legal right to be here? The Parents.
    Who is responsible for the conditions these detained children live in? The Parents.
    Who now repeatedly use any excuse and exploit every legal loophole and device to remain in G.B. when if they agreed to leave their children would not be in detention centres? The Parents.
    Who are the people who took countless risks with supposed beloved children's lives inc. travelling under train carriages, in lorry containers, ferry lifeboats and/or just simply turned up visa-less, penniless etc. but children in tow at G.B. airports, ports etc.? The Parents.
    Who are the people in numerous cases listed by G.B. Social, Health and Education as making every possible claim on G.B. National Services for their offspring having contributed little or nothing to the G.B. Exchequer? The parents.

    Of course the children are innocent, but, that is not the point: The Parents are not innocent and they knowingly put their children in these dire circumstances and no way is the legitimate G.B. Tax-payer or the Services they fund responsible for these children. That honour and privilege belongs fairly, squarely and most definitely with the Parents.

    The Children would not be in G.B. but for their Parents: Thus, I await the mass of trivial, hysterical Human Rights condemnation, but, would point out that only those who can explain/justify the "Parents" role in their unfortunate children's plight will in reality make any meaningful contribution.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 4:42pm on 27 Apr 2009, JMD wrote:

    And the bottom line is that whoever can be blamed, these children cannot. Inhumane treatment of these children is wrong in a civilised society, and anyone having part of it is failing to uphold our values. Attempting to justify immoral behaviour by pointing at the actions of others is no defence - people who abuse children should be prosecuted.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 4:43pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    ManOfKent1: quite apart from being rude and patronising, the statements you are making are straight from the paranoid fantasies of the Nazis.

    If immigration has caused a dramatic decline in your quality of life, then I'm curious to know where you live. Or perhaps you define 'quality of life' as racial purity? It must be a fragile thing indeed if people from other cultures damage it just by being here.

    So to return to the issue at hand: you seem to be justifying child-abuse on the grounds that our country is better than other countries. If that is indeed your reasoning, you are not in a good position to be patronising to other contributors here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 4:44pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    ManOfKent1

    But my problem with illegal migration is that migration is illegal! I can argue for freedom of movement much better here. Also my family and friends are here, and I don't feel it is overcrowded where I live, so I'm happy here and don't want to leave.

    But I'm not the one who wants restrictions on migration. You are. So suggesting that I migrate is rather contradictory.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 4:46pm on 27 Apr 2009, MikeHillisit wrote:

    Do we really need to sign up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to know how to treat children. If this had happend to British children abroad there would be an uproar, and quite rightly so.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 4:53pm on 27 Apr 2009, provokedacomment wrote:

    This is slumdog of the great United Kingdom. Danny Boyle didnt have to go all the way to Mumbai he would have got a setting in Yarl's Wood which would be even more pathetic. This is not how I think the tax payer's money should be wasted. Where are the Human Rights activists. Instead of protesting for the militants they should be taking note and acting on such situations. I hope things haev improved and the Government has taken note. Everyone responsible for this situation should be taken to task and should be ashamed of themselves. My heart goes out to the children and their families.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 4:57pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    Isenhorn: Intolerance is not a skin-colour or a nationality. If someone breaks the law, they should be prosecuted. Their skin-colour is not an issue. It is an act of faith among neo-nazis like ManOfKent that 'foreigners' are more inclined to criminal behaviour than white people. It's our responsibility to see that sort of belief for what it is.

    Outstaying a visa is not a violent crime. And there is no excuse for denying anyone basic human rights.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 4:57pm on 27 Apr 2009, Eos wrote:

    This is shocking and wholly unnecessary. I'm ashamed that this is being done supposedly on my behalf.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 5:01pm on 27 Apr 2009, Steve wrote:

    Worrying, is it not, that anyone exists who thinks this kind of treatment of children is acceptable! At present:

    If you're born here, and a citizen, and you commit a non-violent crime, you're likely to end up in a low-security prison. Which, while not the nicest places, certainly aren't that bad. Note that this can be a fairly serious, non-violent crime.

    If you're not a citizen, under 10, and you don't commit a crime, you end up in what must be one of the worst places in the country, completely unable to understand how, or why, you've been sent there.

    Sending the Cabinet there for a week - now that, I would agree to!

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 5:09pm on 27 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    jmdeee and #59.

    "..bottom line... inhumane.. people who abuse children should be prosecuted..."

    Oh yes! Let's arrest and detain thousands of illegal immigrants as they enter the UK and put their children into 'care' whilst the Parents are held, put on trial and serve sentences for child cruelty!

    What planet are you living on?

    The UK already arrests and detains the Parents and Children for being illegal! Or, did you not get the point of the Article at all!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 5:11pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    ikamaskeip: We all understand perfectly well that the kids' parents are responsible for their being in the UK. The question is whether we have a right to abuse children in enforcing immigration law. We don't.

    Arresting and removing someone from the UK does not need to involve brutality and abuse. So why is this happening? It seems that the police are starting to reflect the hatred and intolerance that many people feel towards immigrants. Officers are venting their own visceral hatred of these people. We have our universal scapegoat for all that we perceive to be wrong with Britain, and that scapegoat is the Immigrant.

    Perhaps a few readers of this page will remember the 1930s, when a world-wide recession led to one developed country scapegoating a large section of its population and murdering them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 5:12pm on 27 Apr 2009, Mallorquin wrote:

    I read this with dismay, but not surprise. The key comes about half way through when we learn that much of the transportation and detention is in the hands of private contractors. For profit organisations have a dismal record on the provision of services, in fact they do not understand the term. They exist solely to make a profit for their owners. Quite rightly so, but not appropriate when there is no direct competition or supervision of their behaviour. Contracts are awarded on the basis of price and promises, once they are up and running, even if the authorities should wish to change them, it becomes impracticable.
    I too find it impossible to explain to my Spanish friends why the British as a whole and the English in particular treat children so badly, it is incomprehensible to them.
    Instead of railing against these wicked foreigners, one really ought to look at why the UK seems so attractive to them. It is not the land of milk and honey. Benefits don't, on the face of it, seem generous in comparison with some other EU states and yet the queues at Calais continue to build. I suspect that making the system as unfriendly to non EU citizens as that in France, Germany or Spain might be a first step towards actually solving the problem of illegals from outside the EU. In Spain, my North American friends do not benefit from the state social provisions, even as authorised residents. By working and paying into the social security system for a time they eventually do, but it has to be earned.
    On this particular issue, the early morning raid by shouting goons reminds me of the totalitarian regimes which most of Europe has grown out of. Politicians of all colours should stop pandering to the Daily Mail reader philosophy and start acting as the guardians of a once successful and certainly mature democracy. In the long run this will prove to be much more important to the British people than saving a few millions in tax money looking after people who need help. Putting innocent children in jail, after having traumatised them is not an activity of which anyone can be proud.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 5:14pm on 27 Apr 2009, nobleschrodingerscat wrote:

    I find it sad that some people can justify this abuse of children and put the blame on the children's parents. I am a legal immigrant whom someone has pointed out in an earlier comment as one of the 'victims' of illegal immigration. I don't see any victims here but the illegal immigrants themselves and their children. What people here in the UK don't understand is that people do not just decide to pack up and leave their country and risk imprisonment and deportation in search of a better life. Most of the people who come here illegally do so out of desperation, but given the chance, they are willing to work and earn their keep, something they can't do in their own countries for many reasons. People don't just decide to leave their homes on a whim, especially when they have kids. Before you condemn them, why not take time to find out their stories? Someone has wondered what the underlying story is. Whatever that may be, it doesn't detract from the fact that children were treated inhumanely. Stop blaming the victims because they did not bring this on themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 5:22pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    ikamaskeip: So 'thousands of illegal immigrants' are, by definition, guilty of child abuse and should be arrested accordingly on their entry to Britain. Uh-huh. So trying to find a better life for your family is child abuse? Or are you saying that they're child abusers simply because they're foreign? Sorry, but this is getting silly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 5:40pm on 27 Apr 2009, jlarkin wrote:

    These are ILLEGAL immigrants who have no right to be here. The blame falls fairly and squarely on the selfish parents who put their children in this situation. We have a limited capicity for absorbing immigration, there are thouands of decent would-be immigrants who go through the correct processes, often waiting months or even years to be given entry, they deserve better than to see their places taken up by these dodgy chancers who then try to sponge off the state. If they are allowed to stay this sends a clear message to all and sundry: "Jump the queue and come to Britain illegally; you'll be set up fo life". Meanwhile the honorable people who have tried to get legal entry are told, "Sorry, there's no more room". This ridiculous policy would allow lawbreakers in while keeping decent people out. Illegals should be held at point of entry and repatriated within a few days with no chance of re-entry unti they have paid the cost of their repatriation and gone through the legal immigration procedure like the other decent immigrants.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 5:41pm on 27 Apr 2009, DeniseCullum222 wrote:

    This country is not kind to its own children that is why many off its adults are so thoughtless and without compassion for the HUMAN RACE as that is the only true race we all are.Why any one wants to come here is beyond me but then I have never had to run for my life yet. The Stasi that we call police is a law upon its self Brown is to busy being the USA mouth piece and Ms Smith never comes across to me as a woman that cares for anything but power of her job. If they do not want people in this country then put them on a flight out. But I believe that our country makes deals with these countries and gets back handers. When the Irish came here in the 1800s running from famine they were shot and buried men women and children only to be found in the 1980s when they were digging up roads, Chinese men were lifted of the streets and put on ships back to China,leaving white wives and children who never heard of them again, blacks were chased and beaten by whites with the police looking on and then being arrested by the police, the jews had their shops smashed and were thrown off the walls of York in the 1700s when Germany kicked off and we forgot that the royalty of this country were German we interned the Germans who had lived here for years, all on the command of the Govenment so the abuse of children now comes from the top and its not their children so they do not care. Britian is not packed coast to coast but in empty which is why the Poles were encouraged to come here and they are white and many Catholic but they do not like what they see not all people have the same rosy view of Britian the golden.

    Britian is not and has never been Great or wonderful its all spin to make fools take up arms and fight to keep the rich in place. Now the blinds are off they eyes now is the time to take a good deep look at what is really going on here, and change it before its to late.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 5:42pm on 27 Apr 2009, PaulBars wrote:

    This has nothing to do with immigration or foreigners. Its to do with how a civilised community behaves. There is just no excuse for treating anyone, let alone children, in this way. It simply makes me ashamed to be British, ashamed to have been a supporter of a political party that can condone it and scared for the future of my children.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 5:44pm on 27 Apr 2009, skyflyer123 wrote:

    Mark, I read your story with a growing sense of total disbelief. Who is allowing these Gestapo thugs to treat children in such an inhumane manner? And why are these people shouting at 5 year old children not being arrested for child abuse? Just because they are the children of illegal immigrants does not give them the right to behave in this way and their superiors ought to be held accountable too.
    Yes, of course, it's sensible to keep families together and yes, if they have come here illegally they should be deported, but we should handle this in a correct and humane manner. There is no excuse for the brutality you report. Please can we have more on this story and this time please tell us who in our government is the responsible minister, so I can write to him or her to let him or her know they are shaming us as a nation when we behave as the despots we have fought against in two world wars.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 5:45pm on 27 Apr 2009, possumpam wrote:

    "Sensitivity and compassion" Woolas? You're talking nonsense. You have put Border Control into the hands of Private Contractors. You have no idea of what's going on. Anyone with a shred of decency would be appalled at the inhumane treatment of defenceless children that you and your department have condoned. Be ashamed,
    very ashamed, and at least see if you can do anything to mitigate the appalling treatment of these innocents.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 5:48pm on 27 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Simon Harvey and #68.

    And like a bolt from the wild blue yonder there it is...

    "..visceral hatred.. 1930s.. Nazis.. scapegoating.. jews..!?

    Pardon me, but, did you actually read the Report?
    If you did, please identify for us slow ones where little children in G.B. are being banned from swimming pools, kicked out of schools, entrained for days on end without food or water, herded into gas chambers... Have you no concept of how ridiculous your analogy is!?

    The pictures drawn by the children were touching, but, they were drawn on paper, with crayons etc. and not scratched on walls over which in dead of night with potatoes are being chucked to the starving!

    I entirely agree with your view that there is "no need for brutality..", but, if an adult refuses to leave their Detention Centre cell and board the coach to take them to the airport for deportation and they resist upto 6 Detention Officers as violently as they can and all infront of their own children, just who is guilty of 'brutality' to the child?

    A part of the Report refers to 'poor Health care' of children in the Detention Centres, well, one has to assume they are receiving minimum care from a stretched budget: Such places must be more prone to infectious diseases and this does impact on all detainees, e.g. one case of chicken pox or german measles and a Detention Centre is quarantined, so again I ask, where is this manifest brutality when every precaution is taken to ensure Parent and Child travel in good health?

    Of course it is not an ideal situation: The Children are the victims, however, it is their Parents who placed them in harms way and whilst G.B. must try to do its best by these unfortunates, it also has a responsibility to the wider, legitimate community whose Taxes are paying for everything.

    Nothing that you wrote in any way excused or explained the Parents' critical guilt/blame for their Children's predicament.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 5:50pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    I think jmdeee when he said "people who abuse children should be prosecuted" meant the immigration officers, not the illegal immigrant parents.

    Side-point: Would the police investigate alleged criminal activity by immigration officers, or given the potential conflict of interest would it fall to the remit of the IPCC? Whatever your opinion on illegal immigration, I would hope we all agree that officials need to obey the law whilst upholding it. This affair adds of the wider debate about police accountability and trust.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 5:52pm on 27 Apr 2009, Frozen_Firegirl wrote:

    First of all, this whole thing is an embarrassement but not wholly shocking...

    Second, I want to refer to this answers:
    63. ...This is not how I think the tax payer's money should be wasted. Where are the Human Rights activists. Instead of protesting for the militants they should be taking note and acting on such situations.

    I once had to ask for some help from the Human Rights activists such as Liberty but was given the boot and was told that they do not deal with this kinds of problem. That was in 2006. It was quite a jaw dropping answer for me nonetheless. And yes, whilst they are busy with defending militants of all sorts...

    67. At 5:09pm on 27 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:
    jmdeee and #59.

    "..bottom line... inhumane.. people who abuse children should be prosecuted..."

    Oh yes! Let's arrest and detain thousands of illegal immigrants as they enter the UK and put their children into 'care' whilst the Parents are held, put on trial and serve sentences for child cruelty!

    What planet are you living on?

    The UK already arrests and detains the Parents and Children for being illegal! Or, did you not get the point of the Article at all!?

    ikamaskeip: You don't know what the social services of this country do...they tell you they do not seperate children with their families but they hover around and look for petty things as poverty and such and they threaten parents that the children will be taken into foster care whilst they deport them or prosecute them...all for the reason that you are poor and in a dire situation..so there. I also had first hand experience of them but I fought them through and through.
    You wouldn't understand it but illegal immigrants don't just leave their countries and pack up their families to go wandering in UK. They leave because they are desperate for their lives. And they are one of the most diligent people if given the chance for work. Unlike other legal citizens we hear on the radio or tv who are caught abusing the system with all kinds of benefits claims instead of working their fat arses of to wealth.
    Well, with that said, and breaktimne is over, I think i'll go back to my measly work!

    Have a good day all!

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 5:53pm on 27 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Simon_Harvey and #71.

    Suggest you re-read my #67.

    Never suggested detaining all immigrants and their children.. Don't be silly!

    Re-read and see Comment in relation to #59: I am actually on same line as you, except, I think if an Illegal Immigrant is caught with their children then it is better for them not to be separated and certainly not dealt with as child abusers!

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 5:55pm on 27 Apr 2009, VinChainSaw wrote:

    I'm sorry there is no excuse in the world that justifies adults waking up a five year-old girl and then searching and abusing her.

    There simply is no crime, certainly not being born, that warrants abuse of any kind.

    Whether they are here legally or not is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion and any inference otherwise is simply an attempt by the right-leaning amongst us to excuse this abominable behaviour.

    Illegal immigration simply does not justify this sort of behaviour.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 5:57pm on 27 Apr 2009, Granten wrote:

    The United States is criticized by Europe often on its treatment of detainees and illegal immigrants, how are we expected to listen if our neighbors are just as disgusting?

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 5:58pm on 27 Apr 2009, newsjock wrote:

    I am sure these stories are selective and exaggerated. What better way to capture a person or group than by a night arrest.

    Remember these are ILLEGAL immigrants.

    There should be no right of appeal.

    Illegal immigrants should be deported within 48 hours of being judged as such.

    Let the human rights specialists take their eloquence elsewhere: they spout ideal policies, which are not in the least pragmatic.

    I am not a racist. I simply do not wish Britain to lose her identity, so we must be selective in who can come into the country, including residents of other EU countries. If they cannot bring something positive like a work-skill to our economy, they should be excluded.

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 5:59pm on 27 Apr 2009, VinChainSaw wrote:

    This is simply not an immigration issue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 6:04pm on 27 Apr 2009, VinChainSaw wrote:

    Article 3 of the Geneva Convention states that prisoners shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including the prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

    And that is for soldiers at war! Not children about to be deported!



    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 6:23pm on 27 Apr 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    I agree that aspects of the detention/transport are inhumane (if true - do you have any independent verification?)

    On the other hand it would only be possible to avoid detaining the kids if the parents were deprived of their rights under art.8 ECHR - right to private and family life. If the kids were released and were then unlocated in the UK the parents would invariably use the presence of the kids in the UK as grounds to appeal removal to their own country.

    Of course the whole thing, any kind of detention for adult or child, could be avoided if people did not enter/remain in the UK illegally.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 6:23pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    ikamaskeip: Connecting the widespread scapegoating of immigrants for our society's miscellaneous ills (a trend exemplified passim on this page) with the treatment of immigrants by the police is hardly a wild abstraction.

    The parallel with the 30s applies, and I will re-iterate it here. Institutionalised abuse begins with scapegoating and rhetoric; there is then a tolerance of isolated cases of abuse; the abuse becomes normalised; and it is then enshrined in law, by limiting the rights of certain groups who are deemed to be invidious to the stability or security of the nation. Who knows how far down that road we will go? I don't want this to happen, but it is a possibility and I stand by my comments.

    In some ways we are in a similar position to Germany in the 30s. Our economy is poor, and we are blaming immigrants for many social ills, real and imaginary.

    We don't have a ranting dictator — a significant matter, fortunately. But we do have a very hard-line Home Secretary. And these children were abused by officers working for her.

    Whatever our politics, me mustn't catch ourselves making excuses for a government. Therein lies ruin. Once the rights of one person are denied, bang go the rights of everyone else.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 6:33pm on 27 Apr 2009, Duncan Stott wrote:

    It is an immigration issue. These people have harmed no-one, yet they are being treated like criminals. We can see the hostility towards migrants in some of the comments. These are the people who create the culture that justifies the appalling behaviour of the immigration officers. The only reason it has gone unnoticed in the past is because of this anti-immigrant sentiment. If a British child had been treated this way we would have been unanimously up in arms.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 6:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    Granten: Yes, I have criticised the US government for its treatment of detainees, and I am criticising my own government now. One government's inappropriate behaviour does not 'balance' or justify another's. No civilised nation should behave as our governments are behaving on this issue (and others).

    (In 2003, when W was setting out on his desert adventure, I invented the verb 'to poodle', referring to Blair's blindly following Bush into catastrophe, a process that involved lying to parliament. We still share much...)

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 6:40pm on 27 Apr 2009, Simon Harvey wrote:

    Newsjock:

    'I am sure these stories are selective and exaggerated'

    Are you? Why? Do you have inside information? The report under consideration was, after all, written by someone who a) has a huge amount of inside information, and b) works for the government that's being criticised.

    'Remember these are ILLEGAL immigrants.'

    As determined by whom? That's a rhetorical question. The process of acceptance or refusal has been widely condemned from both directions.

    'There should be no right of appeal.'

    Why? The infallibility of the anonymous official is an amusing idea.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 6:58pm on 27 Apr 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    Depressing reading, but Mark Easton is over 110 years late. Someone else had already reported on this sorry saga:

    "The cruelty that is practised by day and night on children in English prisons is incredible, except to those that have witnessed it and are aware of the brutality of the system…. It is the prison Board, and the system that it carries out, that is the primary source of the cruelty that is exercised on a child in prison… It is supposed that because a thing is the rule it is right…. To shut up a child in a dimly lit cell, for twenty three hours out of the twenty-four, is an example of the cruelty of stupidity. If an individual, parent or guardian, did this to a child, he would be severely punished. … A heavy sentence would, undoubtedly, follow conviction. But our own actual society does worse itself, and to the child to be so treated by a strange abstract force, of whose claims it has no cognisance, is much worse than it would be to receive the same treatment from its father or mother, or some one it knew. The inhuman treatment of a child is always inhuman, by whomsoever it is inflicted. But inhuman treatment by society is to the child the more terrible because there is no appeal. A parent or guardian can be moved, and let out a child from the dark lonely room in which it is confined. But a warder cannot. Most warders are very fond of children. But the system prohibits them from rendering the child any assistance."

    From Letters to the Daily Chronicle, Oscar Wilde, 1897

    112 years later and the English state hasn’t changed, but this time the non-bleeding hearth anti-immigration brigade cheers along. Anybody who disagrees is a bleeding heart liberal.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 7:04pm on 27 Apr 2009, FatPeace - A Promise to Heather wrote:

    I suggest everyone who supports this or thinks it sends out 'the right message' goes to the video shop, rents the film 'Children of Men' and watches it. Then watches it again, as many times as it takes for it to sink in that when a society separates people into 'human' and 'sub-human' and assigns rights accordingly, very bad things happen.

    From the tales of Yarl's Wood to the Government's love of scaremongering poster campaigns and its increasingly heavyhanded security state, there are too many parallels between the situation depicted and our own. All it would take would be a major terrorist atrocity, a worldwide recession or pandemic disease; are the agents of this State really so far from herding people en masse into filthy, unsafe refugee camps, executing any they take a dislike to before 'liquidising' the rest in a surgical strike? It's OK, they're not really human, after all.

    Normally I take a fairly ruthless stance on crime and punishment issues. Unlike most 'bleeding hearts' I don't consider poverty an excuse, I support greater use of custodial sentences and yes even the death penalty on the rare occasion it is truly deserved. However as far as I'm concerned illegal migration ranks very low on the scale of potential offences. I can think of far worse infractions where the usual penalty is relatively mild and certainly doesn't involved being manhandled from one's bed and beaten up by a state-sponsored bouncer with a big stick.

    I'm engaged to an American girl - the sort of person many of the Mailites on this page might grudgingly tolerate for at least being white and Anglophone - but even leaving aside my personal investment in supporting fairer treatment of Woolas's 'benefit-stealing foreigners', I'm as unconvinced by the media telling me that immigrants are a bad thing as I am by their daily assertion that fat people are scum who deserve to walk around in sackcloth with 'Kick Me' tattooed on their heads. Neither have ever done anything to harm me - why should I hate them so stridently?

    I've heard some pretty awful things about the US and their treatment of migrants in the Bush era, but the crucial difference is that they've had 'regime change' and are now trying to right some of those wrongs, whereas in the UK the only realistic alternative is (based on their track record) likely to have even less regard for basic rights and civil liberties. When it comes to our deciding where to settle and raise a family, this country doesn't offer too many positives right now.

    In my personal experience, the children of immigrant families are frequently better behaved, more polite and more eager to learn than the brattish offspring of the white scally classes who are inevitably the most vocal advocates of xenophobic legislation. Every time I see the 'Shameless'-esqe family of benefit-class trash who moved in beside me I remember how much I miss the previous occupiers of that house - a couple of nurses, one Sri Lankan, one Zimbabwean, and two kids so sweet-natured they'd put the Mail's fantasy 1950s British child to shame.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 7:09pm on 27 Apr 2009, big__ted wrote:

    @Isenhorn - Thing is, I don't feel threatened by people who are different to me. If you grow up in this country thinking clearly, if you assume that noone automatically deserves abuse, violence or neglect, if you grow up thinking that there are more important things than racial or national identity, and that tolerance, empathy and generally being nice to people are better ways of being - if you grow up thinking all these things you'll be surrounded by people who disagree with almost everything you think or do.

    I'm used to being surrounded by people who are different to me. People like you. So you'll forgive me when I really, really mean that I'd rather have the lady down the street in the burqua, as frankly it's better the devil you don't know than the one who thinks he's your cousin because he's white.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 7:13pm on 27 Apr 2009, chicagojlo wrote:

    Frankly anyone who has commented with any kind of support for this should be ashamed of themselves, and ashamed to call themselves British. We apparently fought a world war to stop another country treating people in this manner but find it perfectly acceptable to be doing it ourselves?
    I'm an immigrant (and yes, a legal one), and the thought that my own 5 year old daughter could ever go through this terrifies the living daylights out of me. Then again the alternative of returning to my 'home' country terrifies me even more because my passport still says I'm British.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 7:15pm on 27 Apr 2009, chicagojlo wrote:

    What happened to "Baby P - never again"? I suppose I missed the asterisk on all those Facebook pages that said "*unless they are illegal and then you can do what you want".

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 7:22pm on 27 Apr 2009, United Dreamer wrote:

    Good and thought provoking article Mark Easton. I do have a problem paying taxes to pay for officials charged with looking after children, who cannot do so without employing basic principles of humanity. Aren't they falling short of the requirements of the job? In which case, they should be suspended and retrained or sacked.

    It seems a little strange that other arguments are coming into play but they seem to more or less say it is OK to abuse a child so long as they are not British. I don't subscribe to this nor do I believe the majority of British subscribe to this. Nor do I believe that a child is culpable for the sins of their parents however seemingly heinous they are to some.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 7:23pm on 27 Apr 2009, grooverHeliboy wrote:

    This action is used as a last resort when all other avenues have not worked and if these people accepted the decision of the courts and returned home when they should have there would be no requirement to resort to this action.

    In addition it has been confirmed by the Immigration service that these parents will use their children as a pawn in an attempt to stay in the UK when they have been refused leave to remain.

    The living conditions at Yarl's Wood are far superior than those of other countries for both adult and children detainees.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 7:27pm on 27 Apr 2009, alwaysusthatpays wrote:

    Not everybody in the world is the responsibilty of this country.If you enter this country illegaly you have to take the concequences just like any other criminal.The police are hard pressed enough without having to spend their time rounding up immigrants

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 7:32pm on 27 Apr 2009, United Dreamer wrote:

    "I entirely agree with your view that there is "no need for brutality..", but, if an adult refuses to leave their Detention Centre cell and board the coach to take them to the airport for deportation and they resist upto 6 Detention Officers as violently as they can and all infront of their own children, just who is guilty of 'brutality' to the child"

    Huh? On so many levels you are lost.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 7:56pm on 27 Apr 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Are you suggesting that the illegal immigrants be locked up and the children held in care somewhere else ? Surely it is better that they all be held together . To say that they should not be imprisoned in the first place is ridiculous in that if they are left at liberty they disappear and turn up under different names somewhere else. If they have been refused assylum , this is because they have no right to assylum and must be returned to their own country. The capacity for Britain to accept immigrants is finite and already there are reckoned to be upwards of 3/4 million illegally here .If anyone is to blame for the hardening attitude of the authorities, they are.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 8:15pm on 27 Apr 2009, Its_an_Outrage wrote:

    As others have observed, there are several, separate issues being addressed here, and I can accept the argument that all illegals should be deported, even though I don't agree with it. What saddens me beyond words however, is the number of people who clearly believe that the fact that these detainees are illegals gives our country the right to treat children or anyone else in such a manner. That it's ok for these thugs to have jobs like this and to act in this way, with nobody in a position of responsibility actually taking any responsibility at all. I have no doubt that some of the posters here would be quite comfortable marching around with black shirts and batons, and that they'll be voting accordingly whenever the opportunity arises.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 8:31pm on 27 Apr 2009, lmhjones wrote:

    Possumpam I would love my local mp to speak out for the rights of children who are detained in yarls wood, unfortunately jack straw being my local mp is the person who defended the system this morning on the today programme, i shall instead encourage those who are concerned about asylum seeking children to go to the website of the NCADC which campaigns to highlight the plight of those families caught up in the twilight world of detention.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 8:46pm on 27 Apr 2009, Joan Olivares wrote:

    The government is responsible for not having a clearly defined objective towards immigration. On the one hand they like the cheap labor that depresses citizen's wages but when a majority of citizens complain then they make a fake effort at deportation. It's all part of the new global order and children are the victims. It's wrong for the government to speak out of both sides of their mouth. It's wrong to incarcerate innocent children because the government won't take a firm stance, either pro or con on its immigration policy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 9:04pm on 27 Apr 2009, polycarpuk wrote:

    I have particular problems with the lack of understanding of what is going on here.

    Firstly there is a vast difference between economic migrants, who are almost all single young men from countries such as Pakistan, and refugees. Unfortunately as both have been lumped together in public perception, it has now become difficult to talk about immigration without the genuine (and badly treated by the UK system as standards of proof are ridiculously high) refugees being tarred with the economic migrant brush.

    Secondly the single women and families with young children are disproportionately detained, held and deported. This is because they do not disappear. The children need schools, medical treatment etc which can only be obtained if they remain part of the system. The single males meantime just melt away and start again with new false papers, or are deported and back in the UK within weeks.

    We treat the families badly precisely because they obey the rules! And why have single women dragged young children around the world abandoning everything? Because they genuinely fear torture rape and death, and the death of their children from being abandoned orphans. Of course they are trying not to return! And anybody who believes the abject poverty which is the lot of families within the system is worth staying in this country for, unless the alternative is substantially worse, is misguided at best.

    We could drastically reduce numbers of immigrants in this country beyond their leave if we chased the hundreds of thousands of young adult males, including the tens of thousands of students who never went home after their course finished, instead of persecuting a few thousand women and young children.

    But we don't. It is harder to do, it risks riots if they raided immigrant communities in the inner cities, and single males are harder to control in detention centres. Lets get our deportation figures up by going after the most vulnerable and most easily intimidated.

    I despair about our country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 9:19pm on 27 Apr 2009, Ianto99 wrote:

    This must stop. Now. No questions, no spin, no argument. Those who are alleged to have mistreated young, innocent children, as in the case of the five year old girl reported, must be brought to account forthwith and if convicted be subject to the harshest possible penalty. Any government minister, official, employee or anyone connected with this behaviour should hang their head in shame and find more respectable empoyment - perhaps cleaning the streets would be more appropriate for such despicable individuals.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 9:57pm on 27 Apr 2009, b-b-jack wrote:

    It appears to me, that the English people are being given responsibility for what is happening at Yarls Wood, in Bedfordshire, England.

    Some blame should be attached to the adults who started the journey from their country with their children. The other portion should be attributed to the Authorities who run the system. We the residents of this Country are never consulted on matters such as this, so how can we bear any blame?

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 10:09pm on 27 Apr 2009, TalkativeChap wrote:

    i love the we are not to blame brigade, blame the parents. The children are the innocent party in this, and regardless of what their parents have done should be treated as innocent. But like most things this government does what they say in public and what they do hidden from the public are two different things. publicly fight for freedom, but privately, well it was until now beat and bully protesters. Make so many rules for child protection that a parent would not dare slap their own child, but in private do this. It reminds me so much of what went on in a certain European country in the 30's and 40's until people of my parents generation gave their lives to end. As well as the abuse to the children what really hurts is what did all those brave people fight for if our own government is now doing the same.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 10:11pm on 27 Apr 2009, alexandercurzon wrote:

    WHAY SORT OF COUNTRY??

    ONE RUN BY GORDY,JAQUI BOOTS,MANDY,THE MILLIBANDS & THE GORDY GANG.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 10:17pm on 27 Apr 2009, iaknesnaj wrote:

    There are those in every country of the world who take great pleasure in 'doing their job'! The Nazis turned this almost into an artform and they have been working very hard in the U.S. and latterly, in this country, to catch up what was begun all those years ago. A Nazi can have any political persuasion, so long as they have the fervour and the will to stamp on another human being!
    When Prince Philip utters the words that 'he would like to come back as a virus in order to extinguish so much human life', then it is quite easy to see where these people get their inspiration from. There are bigots and nasties in every culture and it is up to the rest of us to stand against them - forever.
    We are slipping back into feudalism, inch by inch, and it has to be countered, inch by tiresome inch. We've all seen examples of cruelty, malice, pettiness and grotesque behaviour. Put that in a uniform and you have trouble.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 10:19pm on 27 Apr 2009, KRANDIRECTOR wrote:

    The situation is even worse than you describe and the Minister's response is highly misleading. A significant proportion of asylum seeking children detained in this disgraceful manner are actually without families. Ther are termed 'unaccompanied minors' and arrived in this country seeking asylum without any family. The overwhelming majority fail in their application because, as children, they do not understand the nature of their persecution. These are particularly tragic cases because in many cases their families are dead and they usually arrive here traumatised, some having themselves been tortured or even in some cases raped. They are allowed to remain until seventeen and half and then, after having integrated and learnt to overcome their trauma and dreadful experiences, are forceably returned to the horror they escaped. Some are known to have been killed on their return. Many of these children have experienced terrors every bit as real as the Jewish children of the holocaust and, for political expediency, this government is as complicit as those governments which assisted in the deportation of Jewish children to their deaths.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 10:35pm on 27 Apr 2009, theonewayneman wrote:

    In a perfect world these immigrant children would be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to live somewhat of a normal existance...in a perfect world these children and their parents would have been stopped BEFORE arriving in the UK. What kind of person would berate and scream at little kids like this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 11:12pm on 27 Apr 2009, wharfedale2007 wrote:

    Well done britan! I thaught we were better than this, it makes me sick to see how we treated children, we've just shattered some lives and childrens childhoods. It makes me ashamed to say im british to read this.
    Shame on us.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 11:44pm on 27 Apr 2009, BeebLeeMoore wrote:

    One doesn't really know what to believe, Sir Al being a sort of taxpayer funded Pilger. But it does seem very odd, not to mention expensive, that we taxpayers have to fund a lot of people whose job it is to remove bogus asylum seekers (who themselves have to be housed at taxpayers' expense) AND fund a bloke to compile reports about how they ought to stop doing this, AND fund another bloke to write articles about what a splendid fellow this taxpayer funded report writer is, and what cads the first lot of taxpayer funded fellows are.

    Is it any wonder if we're £175 billion a year in the hole ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 11:53pm on 27 Apr 2009, VeniVediVocali wrote:

    I think the real problems are the labels, it is not "us" and "them", "immigrant", "asylum seeker", "foreigner".

    I am a human, they are human, we are human.

    If you would not do it to your own children, then you should not do it to these children. If you would do this to your own children - then you should be sent far far away.

    The real issue is we need to work to create stability and prosperity across the world, then this would not be such an issue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 00:19am on 28 Apr 2009, rainbowTEDDY66 wrote:

    how can you blame the parents for trying to sercure a better life for their children do any of us know what horror they may be fleeing from?

    Nothing justifies this treatment its abuse why arent the employees who do this being charged? Does being here illegally make you inhuman unentitled to human rights? does the un convention on the rights of the child not apply to illegal immigrant children? empolyees often blame lack of suport/ training money ect... as employees we have a choice over process over our intervention while our culture contines to turn a blind eye, cover up and not challenge not make a fuss over inapproipiate intervention/pratice individuals will continue with their abuse of power and personal power trips.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 00:48am on 28 Apr 2009, Northumbrian wrote:

    Suppose we agree that illegal immigrants have to be deported - just suppose. Suppose we agree that they have to be taken to detention centres. Suppose we agree that the children are best off if they are kept with their parents inside a detention centre. Suppose we agree that if we don't have dawn raids, then the illegal immigrants and their children might disappear. Still, is it necessary to manhandle the children, do intrusive searches and MAKE IT CLEAR HOW MUCH YOU ARE ENJOYING IT?

    The bit of Mark Easton's report that most disturbed me was:

    "The report explains how some children described officers as taking pleasure in the family's distress, including telling them that they were "going back to their own country" and laughing and making fun of them when they showed signs of distress or anxiety."

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of immigration, this bit - the deliberate infliction of distress for the entertainment of the people doing the arresting - is the bit that should disturb everyone. Not because foreigners are being abused, but because the people who are acting on our behalf are - ON OUR BEHALF - doing body searches on 5-year olds, and getting high on the power we have given them. We are paying these people to have their fun in this way, and telling them they're doing the right and necessary thing.

    Just think, if we get rid of all the illegals, who are they going to turn to next for that sort of fun?

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 00:57am on 28 Apr 2009, Amanda wrote:

    The BBC's coverage of all asylum and immigration matters irritates me hugely in one significant respect.

    Very few people are "deported" from the UK, and almost no failed asylum seekers are "deported".

    Those who are detained at Yarl's Wood (and other immigration centres) are "removed".

    The two things, deportation and removal, are quite different in law and in fact. It makes a significant difference. And the BBC's constant failure to appreciate the factual difference between the two drives me up the wall!

    Amanda Jones

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 02:42am on 28 Apr 2009, parrswood's finest wrote:

    My job in the community makes me see many different things, I see many people who I have contact with, openly saying that they are in the UK illegally and that they are lucky to be here. They have paid a lot of money to various agents, and nearly lost their lives to get here. They will do any job, as they need to pay off the debt as some family members back home in the country of origin are in possible danger. There priority is to pay off the money owed first and then think about the rest of their lives later on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 03:30am on 28 Apr 2009, parrswood's finest wrote:

    I work in the community and my job makes me see certain things that are OK and other things that are a concern in the long term. The good thing currently is that there is not a public uprising and we tolerate each other i.e skin colour, religion, gender, etc. This can change at any time as we all have feelings and emotions. What I have seen in the large city where I am based is a big increase in the number of people from an ethnic origin background i.e -- non english, in the last twelve years or so.
    Now when we talk about kids and their parents being taken into detention, this has happened because somebody else has told the authorities, this is then investigated and action is taken. It is planned & funded as an operation, The family are upset, anybody in that situation would be. Remember one thing though -- This family may have been just two adults originally - the kids were born in the UK, not in a hospital, so no record, so no funding for the local council etc . But the biggest long term concern I have is that the population would grow from within the UK very , very quickly as it seems that the objective or theory of many immigrant adults is to start a family so that at least the kids may get to stay in the UK. I read a BBC article last week of a girl who had to choose if she wanted to stay in Japan, whilst her parents were going to be deported back to the country that they came from illegally. She chose to stay in Japan a small country that has some of the most strict immigration rules in the world. Her mum & dad were crying as if she had died but knew deep down that she would at least have a better life than they had ever had. Please comment use my post number and LFTM title Thanks for now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 07:00am on 28 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Frozen_Firegirland #79.

    Your story is heartrending and I am so pleased you now have a good life in the UK.

    Of course, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the G.B. right and responsibility to find and detain people who cross its border illegally.
    There are thousands upon thousands of these people every year, much like yourself, so, I conclude this G.B. must have some attraction for you and them: After all, by your own admission, you fought to stay in G.B., and you won your case - - good for you - - i.e. despite all this terrible treatment dealt out to you and thousands the "..jawdropping.." fact is you chose to stay in G.B.!

    G.B. should use every means at its disposal to remove illegal immigrants: Not only is it upholding the law of the land it is also trying to ensure that people such as yourself who are successful in your application are not then penalised by the Nation's Health, Education, Social Welfare, Transport etc. systems being overwhelmed.

    Next time you want to write on here lecturing me about the "..diligent.." illegal immigrants unlike the "..people you hear and see on radio and tv.. abusing the system.." kindly try to do me and everyone else in this Nation (that huge MAJORITY clearly cannot be abusing the system or you wouldn't find it attractive to live here would you!?) the courtesy of recalling it is their Taxes that afforded you the rights to use Legal teams and appeal against being removed from G.B. and it is their Taxes that most certainly paid for you to receive Benefits, Housing, Food etc. until you were able to settle properly.
    Infact, the day you finally come to appreciate just how much this G.B. population has given on your behalf you may come to the privilege of calling yourself British (or are you one of those who goes through all sorts of trials and tribulations to get to this Nation, fights tooth and nail to stay, and then declares you will always be... whatever country is your birthplace?).

    Your diatribe is truly astonishing for how little you respect and appreciate the Nation you chose to live in!

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 07:24am on 28 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Simon_Harvey and #87.

    Your willingness to repeat the extrapolation of 'Nazi' style racism is a disgraceful slur on the Citizens of G.B.

    You have presented no evidence whatsoever, and most certainly this Report, does not include any details that could be used to infer some sort of racial stereotyping and selection of humans based upon wicked perversion of science.

    That there has been and no doubt will continue to be cases of neglect and mistreatment of people held in Detention Centres is a matter of record: That G.B. is made aware of these shortcomings and that they are not 'institutionalised', not 'enshrined in law' and nothing like a One-Party Dictatorship no matter how much you try to stretch a 'hard-line Home Secretary' attitude to policy on civil liberties in G.B. refutes every part of your allegation.

    There is absolutely no comparison between the 1930-1933 devastating economic conditions that contributed to a Nazi Government of Germany and the present economic-social-political scene in UK/England: I am surprised that your normally high level of information and argument should make this fundamental error of judgement.

    As for the content of comments of this Article: One could argue that the trend to promote unfounded views of cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants is also passim on this page.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 07:24am on 28 Apr 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    big_ted,

    'If you grow up in this country thinking clearly, if you assume that noone automatically deserves abuse, violence or neglect, if you grow up thinking that there are more important things than racial or national identity, and that tolerance, empathy and generally being nice to people are better ways of being - if you grow up thinking all these things you'll be surrounded by people who disagree with almost everything you think or do. '
    ******************************************

    Yes, you are right. However, the people who would disagree with you are precisely the people you want to embrace- vis. 'the lady down the street in the burqua'.

    You would forgive me, but for someone so willing to accept 'people with different ideals and cultures' your 'I'm used to being surrounded by people who are different to me. People like you' is completely out of place. It is so out of place, that your attitude appears nothing short of hypocrisy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 09:38am on 28 Apr 2009, David Mulvey wrote:

    These families know just how to tug at the heart strings, hence the reason why they bring their children with them. They believe that the immigration authorities will take a softer approach when judging eligibility for citizenship.
    If anyone is to blame directly for the fate of the children, it is their parents for subjecting them to the upheaval in the first place.
    As has already been said, they will have passed through many 'safe' borders long before they got here.
    I guess that says it all about how 'soft' our borders truly are.
    Not only this, but it is also a damning indictment upon how easily our welfare system is abused.

    Life ain't fair - period.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 1:11pm on 28 Apr 2009, newswatcher60 wrote:

    As a parent I am of course ashamed of how these children have been treated and action should be taken to stop this happening again.

    This is a delicate problem, however these illegal immigrants should be prevented from entering britain in the first place. This is a small overcrowded island not a sub-continent with unlimited resources.

    The problem is with the government acting too slowly dealing with these people. They should not be interned like criminals but once the authorities become aware of their existance. They should be repatriated immediately. No half way house but straight on the transport and gone. If they have issues with their own country send them somewhere else.

    The problem here is people complaining about human rights, these are usually comfortably well off residents. What about the british population who can't get housing and medical help that is due to them, because these refugee's get put ahead of our own people. Please don't tell me this is not happening as I live in Hastings and have two daughter's who are living this nightmare.

    Is it a case of britain trying be the sympathetic nation in the eye's of the world, while it is actually public concern and private neglect.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 1:39pm on 28 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Newswatcher60 and #124.

    re, "..what about the British population who can't get housing or medical benefit.."

    Prepare to be told those British, you and your daughters etc. simply don't know how to access the right claim forms. And, apart from Citizens Advice bureau, don't expect any free legal advice unlike the foreign immigrant who may not know G.B. but will certainly know the words, 'Rights', 'Claims', 'Benefits', 'Entitlements', 'Appeal'!

    Meanwhile in the real world: My late father was a veteran of Dunkirk and D-Day and my late mother lived through the Nazi occupation of Brussels. Come 1990 and 76 year old dad and 75 year old mum who had both worked from the moment they arrived back in England in 1946 found the Council Rent was getting a bit steep for their Pensions, so, not being flush with money at the time I enquired for a bit of help for them for first time in their entire lives. They got a reduction or assistance with the rent (can't recall how it turned out): Good show, except that in a chat with the unemployed Eritrean married couple with 2 kids just 3 doors down from dad and mum I discovered they paid no rent at all!

    It is an anecdotal story and of course we have to guard against taking it as the norm, however, I distinctly remember my brave, generous-minded father's bitterness that he had even had to ask for help and the hand-outs still went disproportionately to people who had contributed nothing to Britain.

    It was a salutary lesson in how G.B. Welfare Services were moving at that stage towards the time we now find ourselves in where the UK attracts thousands of foreigners to its shores every year and the powers that be will tell us its because of our economic vitality whilst the reality I fear is very different!

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 1:40pm on 28 Apr 2009, epiminides wrote:

    Some of these comments show a distinct lack of understanding, much ignorance and, in the worst cases, blatent racism.

    A friend of mine and his children (who came to this country legally) have recently been removed (via Yarlswood) after their visas became invalidated as a result of a change in personal circumstances. Being honest, he tried to regularise their situation through the proper channels - but in doing so set himself up as an easy target for meeting gevernment statistics for removal.

    My friend is very sick, yet he was denied his medication. He is a single parent and his children are too young to take care of themselves, yet they have been returned to their father's country(which they do not know having been bought up in this country (legally)) with a real risk that they could end up looking after themselves.

    Fortunately, in my friend's case, his contribution to the community (in voluntary roles) has led to him having many friends who, unlike some of the people making comments, have some compassion and are now supporting him financially while he finds his feet. Indeed my own children - who are friends with his children - voluntarily contributed their own money to help. He is luckier than many.

    This person has committed no crime - the immigration services admitted as much - was making a positive contribution to the community, was not trying to hide or disappear, and is extremely well educated (apparently unlike some of the people making comments). Yet he and his children were treated worse than criminals (criminals are deemed to have at least some human rights).

    I was moved to near physical sickness at the way they were treated.

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 3:19pm on 28 Apr 2009, newswatcher60 wrote:

    Ref ikamaskeip

    I can asure you all the correct forms were and are being filled in at regular intervals but when the housing is limited and a points system is in operation british reidents in HASTINGS come second to foreign applicants. I've personnaly sat in the housing office and been told by a private adviser exactly what points my married daughter with three children would get. Not than 25 out of a possible 100 and at the same time seen a single asian mother with one child get a three bedroom house.
    My daughter got 26 points.

    As I said before please don't say this doesn't happen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 6:04pm on 28 Apr 2009, MonkeyBot 5000 wrote:

    "Good show, except that in a chat with the unemployed Eritrean married couple with 2 kids just 3 doors down from dad and mum I discovered they paid no rent at all!"

    It would be the same if that couple were white. The reason that your parents only got a reduction instead of getting their entire rent paid is that they still have some money.

    The way the system is set up, you have to lose everything you have before they 'll help.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 7:53pm on 28 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Monkey Bot500 and #128.

    The colour of the married, unemployed couple had no effect on my father's views or on my writing #125.

    The issue is about a perfectly reasonable pair of adults who were receiving more in 'benefits' than another pair of perfectly reasonable adults: The difference being one couple had been in the country less than a year (as I recall) and my parents had been in G.B. 44 years and had fought, worked and paid their way.

    re, "..the way the system is set up..," I do not know for sure what the regulations were in 1990, but, I do know 2 'immigrants' to G.B. were in receipt of more Social Assistance than 2 retired Britons and that was and is wrong by any standard of decency and respect for the British Citizen Tax-payer.

    I read epiminides #126 and it is a very unhappy tale, however, I think a good deal more of the "..compassion.." he mentions should be allotted by G.B. to those who are its recognised citizens before consideration is given to others.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 9:27pm on 28 Apr 2009, ewalrath wrote:

    Not to be glib about a tragic situation...but this is what happens when the government has a monopoly on force.

    The more I read of this type of abuse, which occurs in my country as well, the more I understand the need for our 2nd Amendment. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not proposing a shoot out between immigrant families and the thugs sent to evict them. However, when it's understood that self protection is a right, things tend to be a bit more courteous.

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 10:24pm on 28 Apr 2009, epiminides wrote:

    #129 ikamaskeip

    'the "..compassion.." he mentions should be allotted by G.B. to those who are its recognised citizens before consideration is given to others.'

    Sorry ikamaskeip I believe that you are wrong about compassion. Note the dictionary definition of compassion is "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering".

    I do not see any limitation on 'compassion' to your own nationality.

    But if you insist on looking at it that way - my friend's voluntary work was with vulnerable individuals who are British citizens (note that compassion in my friend's case was not limited to his own nationality first!) - so in removing him those people he helped have also suffered indirectly.

    I should point out, however, that it was the treatment of him and his chilren at the hands of the authorities that I take issue with - not the refusal to let them stay - the decision to refuse is a legal question and I believe in the rule of law - the treatment of fellow human beings who have committed no crime is a moral question - respect costs our country nothing - kindness costs our country nothing - allowing a father to wake his own children costs nothing - allowing a sick man access to his pain killers and medication costs nothing - letting a child take a favourite toy costs nothing - letting them take their shoes costs nothing - not cutting off phone calls when legal rights are discussed costs nothing - letting friends give an easter egg to a child costs nothing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 07:53am on 29 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    epiminides and #131.

    Yes, your dictionary definition perectly fits the attitude of G.B. Government and Population: The 4 Nations have a remarkable and proud record of showing compassion to people from overseas. The evidence for this is most obviously demonstrated by the vast numbers inc. your friends who came to these Islands.

    It is good to know you uphold the law and of course the law was fairly applied to your good samaritan friend: He was apparently no longer entitled to reside in G.B. and was rightly removed after due legal process.
    I do indeed insist on the right and responsibility to remove foreign nationals from G.B. who are no longer eligible: Your argument about the indirect "..suffering.." of people who he was concerned with simply does not hold up as such a qualification to stay would lay the nation open to even more years of legal debate on top of the time already taken about each and every case.

    Your last paragraph listing the treatment they apparently received whilst in a Detention Centre sounds reasonable and logical to me and complies with normal regulations you will find at any such centre in G.B.

    With hundreds of detainees it is clear no food can be allowed in as there is no way to check quality, quantity, storage or indeed is it only food; as for the children's toys the same sensible restrictions apply: The various type/categories (e.g. drug dealers/users, criminals, religious people, mentally and physically challenged etc.) in Detention Centres must, alas, preclude such items even for those such as your decent friends. Most Detention Centres have some 'Family Units' but given the pressure of numbers/space I can fully understand that your friend may have been unlucky; and, of course there is always the risk involved in allowing 'strangers' access in children's areas in and out of such centres. Again, given the limited number of telephones in such places and the need for many detainees to access them there has to be a 'time-limit' and usually detainees and their legal reps are aware of this (also, I imagine with the variety of languages the Centre's Staff must be struggling to find/notify people of things.. imagine the possible confusion with a group of chinese or arab mohammeds etc. never mind a few smiths, jones, williams, photo-IDs don't always answer..who is who etc.!?).

    The Medication restriction does puzzle me: Every Detainee is entitled throughout their stay to access to free medical treatment inc. checks by a Doctor/Nursing staff, prescriptions, even dentistry (try that if you're the Briton whose Taxes of course are paying for it all!); the denial of prescribed-medication to your friend was a serious violation of rules governing such matters, and, it is an added puzzle as every detainee must be passed fit to travel (fly), so, what happened in your friend's case is troubling!?

    No, I am afraid I cannot agree with you or most of the complainers on this Blog about the treatment of detained illegal immigrants: Although there is clearly need for improvement in some parts, the size of the problem is such, these Centres are surely doing the best they can in very trying circumstances for detainees and staff. Indeed it is the abundant numbers entering G.B. and the lesser number being detained and eventually removed that is primary evidence the treatment is on the whole more than fair to the 'illegal'..

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 08:17am on 29 Apr 2009, friendly_casper wrote:

    thing that makes me sick that half of the people who are imergrants must have family here so why is there not enough research into the family of whom they have traveled to see the children are always the ones to suffer as if they have not gone through enough to get here it also would help if there computer systems were inter linked so when ya ring up one centre no matter were the answer if any would be found how thick some people are in following simple but realistic idea's can help sure it cant be that hard or is it because most of the civil servants who are trained to handle these thing stupid

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 08:38am on 29 Apr 2009, flyboy30 wrote:

    As a legal immigrant to this country I do have a different perspective. However, I must say:

    1. Immigration is in place to benefit the country, its that country's right to limit who comes in and who may not.

    2. The authorities have no choice - these children suffer because their parents are criminals - illegally in a country to obtain a benefit to which they are not entitled. What are the authorities to do with the children if not lock them up with their parents? They couldn't lock only the parents up creating a massive social services problem and no doubt causing the bleeding hearts to shriek that families are being split up. Their only alternative is to let illegal immigrants wonder around working and living and hope they can be found when its time for them to be deported - and let's be honest, what's the likelihood of that.

    3. Think about Britain 30 years ago when it was quaint and unobtrusive to have a few people from around the world living here and there - now days the entire face of England has changed to one where these quaint folk are demanding street signs in their local language, that their own laws and customs be recognised and even and most outrageously that English people suppress or celebrate in secret their centuries old traditions and religions because it offends these quaint foreigners. If you simply let people stream in here without border controls, they will, they will come in their millions, clambering for something better than their admittedly terrible life elsewhere - and what will happen? Have you seen Calais? Imagine if immigration control was removed? Just imagine! England will become the biggest slum in Europe - it will be destroyed and its locals out-bred and out voted. Its madness to suggest people should come and go as they please.

    4. That being said - the current immigration controls under New Labour make positively no sense, in that a hard working, law abiding, qualified person from a non-EU country must now have a Masters and earn a massive salary to earn the right to come here (as I have) but a alcoholic, homeless criminal from the EU, who can scrape together enough money for a one-way Ryanair ticket can waltz in here by flashing his passport and live rough, commit robberies and rape. If he's caught he kept in the posh English jails and sent back home after his sentence only to return the very next day. England should get a grip on this nonsense and help honest qualified people to come here and kick out riff raff no matter where they are from wherever they come from.

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 10:41am on 29 Apr 2009, epiminides wrote:

    #131 ikamaskeip

    Whilst I do not completely agree with you at least you are arguing you case in a reasonable way without resorting to mudslinging. I know the point on his work with GB citizens was a little frivolous - I just wanted to emphasise that, as a rule, we should treat all people with humanity regardless of nationality (as I would like to be treated by them).

    Just on the medication point - my friend was left at the airport in his home country in a wheel chair - his illness is potentially life threatening.

    More generally on detention - there is no real need to detain many families at such a cost to the tax payer - especially if they are making no attempt to hide. I have a serious issue with the detention of people that have not committed (and are not even suspected of committing) a crime.

    The only reason my friend hadn't left the country of his own accord was a lack of the means to do so - indeed he had been offered work (and residence) in another country but did not have access to his passport (the authorities had it and would not release it) or the funds to take up the offer.

    Please understand that this individual's treatment has moved me to re-evaluate my own position - I am talking about a very personal matter in which I am emotionally involved.

    Immigration in this country as a whole is a mess - I agree - but the people being targetted are often the people that are engaging with the authorities to try and sort out their situation (because they are easy to target) - those that are truly criminal and those that manage to get into this country illegally are likely to get away with it. So the message this sends to an immigrant who comes here legally, but finds that his situation changes, is that honesty is not the best policy - you should not approach the authorities to try to sort out the problem - you should try to hide.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 11:43am on 29 Apr 2009, stanblogger wrote:

    Treating children in some of the ways described must be illegal. The police should be asked to investigate and prosecutions should follow if the facts are confirmed.

    If they were aware of what was happening and did nothing to stop it, top officials in the Border Agency should go to jail, as other child abusers do. Their attempt to blame contractors is disgusting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 1:02pm on 29 Apr 2009, DiggleDave wrote:

    This is a sad situation but unfortunately I must agree with a previous comment that these children should not be here in the first place and the fault lies with the parents. This country cannot continue to support illegal immigrants. I feel our benefits system needs to be changed so that these people are not rewarded for bypassing other countries to come and claim free housing and living allowances here. Our social services support system will not be around much longer if we continue to be the conscience of the world as distastful as it sounds, people who are not entitled to be in this country must be made to leave.

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 10:20pm on 29 Apr 2009, mstime4tea wrote:

    Claiming asylum is not a crime. Parents everywhere want the best for their children. No one leaves their home and their lives unless they have a compelling reason to do so. Asylum seekers flee because they are in fear and want to keep themselves and their families safe. Children should never in any circumstances be treated this way. Every child matters, no matter where they come from. Asylum seekers can (and do) get permission to stay even after their cases have initially been refused, even after removal attempts and trips to the airport. I know several families and single asylum families this has happened to. The quality of decision making leaves much to be desired. We should be proud to offer santuary to those who need it. Where children are involved the decision should always be based on what is best for the child concerned and not on what is best for immigration figures, Many families only discover that their case has failed when immigration officers arrive at their door in the early morning, giving no chance for preparation or appeal. Is this how we want the world to see us?

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 01:01am on 30 Apr 2009, thedeftwriter wrote:


    Crimes against children in any circumstance should be regarded as criminal…for in every society & walk of life, children should have the utmost (RIGHT) to be children!

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 10:49am on 30 Apr 2009, Silver-lady wrote:

    Why are these families held in detention centres at all? Why are they not taken to a point of departure and returned to their own country? We complain about the cost and the mess the system is in, but it is in the authorities own hands to do something about it, not least stop this nonsense about appeal after appeal after appeal until some judge has had enough and grants an application to stay. The real responsibility for the plight of the children is that of the parents/guardians or whoever brought them on this fools errand in the first instance, and I feel that they (the children) are being used as pawns in a game of emotional blackmail to let them be allowed to stay in the UK, because they think we will give in to their demands to be allowed to stay if they have children with them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 10:55am on 30 Apr 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    mstime4tea and #138.

    re, "..No one leaves their homes and their lives unless they have a compelling reason to do so.."

    Oh my goodness!

    Where have you been the last 20 years!? That is such a ridiculously unrealistic statement it is very difficult to credit anything you write after it.

    For starters, your "..Asylum seekers" are not what this debate is about: They are an unfortunate and in the main deserving minority within a huge number of people per annum arriving at UK airports, ports and any part of the G.B. shoreline without any valid-legal entry papers. Most of those illegal entrants to the UK are labelled, realistically or not, 'Economic Migrants'.

    Alongside your assertion that "..many families only know their case has failed when Immigration Officers arrive at their door.." can be placed the contextual points, 'many families who had entered the UK illegally in the first place are missing when the Immigration Officers arrive at the door.'

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 12:07pm on 30 Apr 2009, netfaery wrote:

    #32 Scagiola wrote: One area you could investigate for us, Mark, is the amount to which the adults, and their advisers, by their own actions put the children at the risk of this happening.
    1. Is there a due process?
    2. Is it followed?
    3. Are the adults aware that the process is coming to and end and that they and their families will be will be 'detained'?
    4. Are the adults aware of what 'being detained' entails and might entail?
    5. Are the adults given the opportunity to report voluntarily for 'detention'?

    Well, here you go Scagiola, I'm an adviser, and the answers are:

    1. Yes.
    2. Not always, no. In fact, quite frequently it's ignored, if the Home Office think they can get away with it. That's what judicial review is for.
    3. They are aware if their appeal rights are exhausted that they "MAY be detained," yes.
    4. No. The abuses described above are not meant to be part of the system. Good grief, whoever thinks that? People know that they may be detained but have no idea that this will involve them being mocked, pushed, abused or their five year olds being searched. They think they might have more than a few minutes to pack. They don't know this is likely to happen at dawn. They don't know that they may be manhandled, they don't know that they are likely to be handcuffed in front of their children, they don't know that their crying, frightened children are going to be denied access to the toilet. In short, they believe the myth that a "civilised" country like the UK will treat them with dignity even when it's time to go home.
    5. No, not always.

    This is not a debate about the rights and wrongs of illegal immigration, it's about how we as a society treat vulnerable people. It wouldn't cost anything to treat families with dignity and respect when detaining them. I'm sickened by the people who seem to think child abuse is an acceptable means of revenge on the parents for having the nerve to seek asylum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 12:35pm on 30 Apr 2009, pandatank wrote:

    Gorecki, just 1 philosophical point on your first post, when hasn't it been a crime to be born into "unfortunate circumstances" in the UK?
    Secondly many of these immigrants (legal or otherwise) come to the UK because of some "cultural affinity" of having the UK being directly involved in the exploitation of that country's populace & resources. How else would an island 1/5 the size of New South Wales have an empire that straddled the globe? The sins of our forefathers are being visited on us. Perhaps this is our atonement for our god-given right as consumers to buy a cheaper brand of coffee etc. at Tescasainsmorriburys?

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 1:08pm on 30 Apr 2009, ManOfKent1 wrote:

    Just in the news today, a Kurdish asylum seeker from Iraq killed a 12 year old girl by running her over and then left her to die while trapped under his car. This is child abuse as well, but the pro-migration individuals here simply choose to ignore it and act in an openly racist way by only objecting to cases where immigrants are affected. In addition, they propose to let just anyone into the country but refuse to accept any responsibility for the consequencies. Perhaps they should be deported along with the illegal immigrants.

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 2:31pm on 30 Apr 2009, fancylikely wrote:

    I recently read In the Other Hand by Chris Cleave. It really opened my eyes to the situation of refugees and the horrendous things they are often fleeing from. I recommend that anyone who has a harsh 'ship 'em out' attitude to refugees should read this without delay. I should also add that the parents of these children are often already dead or missing when these children flee the country, and leaving the country is sometimes the ONLY resort left for both adults and children fleeing persecution and terror, the likes of which we can only begin to imagine. I had never heard of Yarl's Wood before reading this book, but I will never feel the same way again about the plight of refugees.

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 3:17pm on 30 Apr 2009, ManOfKent1 wrote:

    While there are some who genuinely flee terrible situations, the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are acting for their own economic gain. It is also a means of access for criminals trying to escape punishment. Try reading 'Once a Pilgrim' by Will Scully to see just how some of these people have acted in their own countries. Then consider that someone like that could be living near you while their claims are investigated.

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 4:09pm on 30 Apr 2009, Cara wrote:

    What's really inhumane is to allow people to remain in this country for long periods, establishing a life for themselves while claims are processed and appeals are fought, only to have it taken away. I believe that the majority of asylum claims can be processed in minutes at the point of entry and those who fail dispatched immediately, while those who succeed are given every assistance possible.

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 9:15pm on 30 Apr 2009, mischievouswaster wrote:

    I suggest Mark Easton actually does some proper research rather than just present the views of children (many of whom are told what to say by their parents - if you think that's not true then you are naive) as fact. I have been involved in family visits (I am an Immigration Officer) and none of the above has taken place, indeed I would expect to get sacked if such behaviour was shown. I was recently involved in a visit to a family who had not taken the chance to go home voluntarily, had absconded, moved house to avoid detection and so on. They were tracked down, apprehended, given plenty of time to pack their belongings, escorted to the vehicle (not urine soaked, no vomit) and taken to a removal centre for removal. The procedure, whilst unpleasant, was necessary (they were offered voluntary self check in at the airport, but didn't want to go home), respectful and gave them dignity. Officers I work with do a very professional job in very difficult circumstances and I am angry and frustrated that these lies and half-truths are paraded as investigative journalism. I thought the BBC could do better than this - or doesn't the truth make for good headlines?

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 3:04pm on 01 May 2009, greyslartibartfast wrote:

    This is disgraceful and shows that certain police officers are no more than criminal thugs in uniform; regardless of the rights or wrongs of these families being in the country, this sort of behaviour by police is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in a civilised country; any officers involved should be dismissed without compensation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 09:13am on 03 May 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    greyslartibartfast and #149.

    Perhaps it would help you to calm down a bit and properly read the article.

    It is not 'Police Officers' that are involved in the detaining of the illegal immigrants.
    It is not 'thugs in uniforms', but, Immigration Detention/Custody Officers who are legally entitled to enter homes and will use limited force to gain entry to a residence when the suspects refuse to open the door to them; also, these raids are carried out at times when it is hoped a whole family will be at home, i.e. early hours of the morning or late at night, or do you think the illegal immigrant should be sent a postcard informing them when a visit is being made!?
    Whilst clearly some children have been very badly treated and witnessed some harrowing scenes it is their Parents who put them in that situation where such things may occur or do you think the Parents' illegal residence in the UK claiming benefits, services, jobs etc. they are not entitled to is the action a 'civilised' society should just accept!?
    Who will 'compensate' the UK Tax-payers for the drain on the nation's finite resources by illegal immigrants!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 08:53am on 04 May 2009, Freddie71 wrote:

    Please spare me the sob stories.

    The real refugees/illegals are the ones left behind in their own countries - they cant afford the journey across several countries to reach these shores.

    Q. Lets get real here.....what does illegal mean?
    A. Prohibited by law, there is your answer.

    Why do you think the UK has laws like this maybe its just for fun?
    Answers on a postcard please!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 11:13am on 05 May 2009, johnlship wrote:

    I used to visit Yarls Wood on a regular basis and was always impressed by the excellent environment and the facilities there for all of the residents, including the children. I met a number of staff, both Immigration staff as well as those of the company operating the facility, I always impressed by their dedication and compassion. On the times I was taken round the establishment, unannounced, I noticed that the children appeared to be very happy and there was a good interaction with staff. I accept it is an unnatural environment, but if families are going to be detained to ensure Immigration Law is enforced I couldn't think of a better place.
    I realise that my experience is at odds with the writers of the report, which I am sure was written in good faith, but kids will often say what you want them to say, I can only say what I observed.
    I have no knowledge of the "early morning raids" but I suspect they were carried out to ensure the family remained together.

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 5:22pm on 05 May 2009, Johnintaiwan wrote:

    Thank you Mark for this comment made, you will have to admit, at arms length from the subject. Have you ever visited detainees yourself or followed their mock trials at the immigration courts? I have and can testify that their treatment at all stages is a travesty of justice. I never saw any journalist and shared the public seats with no other ordinary members of the public. This means in effect that they were held in secret. I challenge your profession to take up this case properly and uncover the whole truth about the process. I believe the way in which a country treats the alien in its midst is a true mark of its humanity or lack of it. Like you, I feel ashamed of my country for this but I urge you to actually do more to change it.
    John - former member of the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 6:31pm on 06 May 2009, DA_RUE_STIR wrote:

    In the USA we have a huge problem with illegals immigrants, shure many just want a better life and work hard, but the reality is they are overburdening our public schools and hospitals because many work on a cash only basis and do not pay taxes, do not pay the hospital bills for multible children. Many south americans refuse to learn english and instead insist all govenment documents be printed in spanish. In some parts of the US like California a person may have to speak spanish to interface with the government employees at the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicals) because they dont even try to speak english well enough to understand. The southwestern US is being overrun not only by rats but also by south americans who hate "white" people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 6:49pm on 06 May 2009, DA_RUE_STIR wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 156. At 4:08pm on 13 Dec 2009, HilaryM wrote:

    I have been following up this story today. I am horrified. My brain is still reeling from the shock of discovering that we are a country that rips children from their homes and imprisons them for no crime at all. Failed asylum seekers they may be but the children are innocents and their detention in what can only be described as concentration camps is a national disgrace. Not in my name, you don't, Mr Woolas! Not in my name!

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.