Home Office under harsh criticism at European Commission for its unjust deportations

Published:  2 Oct at 6 PM
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The increasing number of embarrassing reports of Home Office blunders potentially or actually resulting in the detention and deportation of legally resident EU citizens has resulted in an EU investigation.

Actual enforced removals and detentions of EU citizens living and working in the UK have increased considerably since the June 2016 Brexit referendum, along with the number of deportation orders issued in error, many of which have been publicised in the British mainstream media. Critics are claiming deliberate targeting of EU expats by immigration authorities keen to act in support of Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ promise to those she decides are staying illegally in the UK.

As a result, the European Commission is warning the British government of ‘appropriate action’ should it find EU nationals’ rights are being compromised for political gain. According to a recent email seen by the Observer newspaper, a complaint about the detention of EU expatriates was sent by the EU’s Brexit negotiators to its Directorate General for Justice and Consumers. At present, the complaint is being closely examined and, should the Home Office’s actions not comply with EU law, action will follow.

Director of legal charity Bail for Immigration Detainees Celia Clarke told reporters she believes if other EU member states were treating British expats in this manner, justified outrage would be the order of the day. She pointed out May’s offer to include legal protection for EU expats in the UK in the final exit treaty sits badly with the actions of the Home Office, which seems to be riding roughshod over the free movement rights of EU citizens. The government, she added, is exhibiting a callous disregard for their rights to work and live in Britain.

According to the legal charity, deportations of EU citizens with minor driving offences are now becoming the norm, with many being shown the door before they could get legal help. A spate of cases where EU nationals have been detained although no crime has been committed is also in the spotlight. In the year from June 2016, some 5,301 EU citizens have been removed, a 20 per cent increase on the same period from 2015 to the date of the referendum.

Since 2009, deportations have soared sixfold, fanning the belief that Brexit was taken by the Home Office to mean a green light to target EU expatriates in the UK in spite of the fact that EU law is still in force until March 2019. Various European embassies in London have also made their views on the Home Office’s hardline stance known to the British government, calling the deportations unnecessarily abrupt, callous and unjustified.
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