Thursday, November 03, 2005

Destitution Ruling

It probably escaped most people's notice, one of those small news stories that sort of sneaks past you, but today the Law Lord's overturned the despicable Section 55 of Blunkett's Asylum and Immigration Act.

For those unfamiliar with the niceties (surely the wrong word?) of Section 55, basically it meant that a person had to claim asylum at point of entry to the country else they would not receive any support whilst their claim was processed. Not allowed to work either, this basically left them destitute. Many survived solely through the compensation of charities, communities and churches, many still had no option but to live rough on the streets.

Now I can understand legislation to stop illegal immigrants claiming asylum 2 years after entering the country because the law has caught up with them, but this was not the way the legislation was implemented. For example, one of the three test cases that was brought to appeal concerns Wayoka Limbuela, from Angola. He applied for asylum the day after arriving in the UK, but this 'delay' meant he was refused support because he had applied 'too late'.

Having had a friend made destitute as a result of this revolting policy (her solicitor 'forgot' to post her asylum application...), this feels personal.

But for once common decency appears to have prevailed.

As one email I received on this suggested "God Bless their little ermine-trimmed cotton socks".

No comments: