Ms Priti Patel

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Written by Myles Harris, Editor of the Salisbury Review


(This editorial was first published in The Salisbury Review. Myles Harris has given us his kind permission to re-publish.)

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In 2012 members of the Rochdale grooming gang were sentenced to be stripped of their British citizenship and deported after they finished their jail terms for raping and pimping young white girls. 

That was eight years ago. Three of them who have dual UK Pakistani nationality and lost their appeals against deportation are still here and living back in the same town as their victims – to the great distress of the latter. Numerous appeals have been made to a succession of Home Secretaries, including the weak and powerless Priti Patel, to deport them, but it would appear the Home Office is determined by stalling as long as possible to allow them to stay. 

Read frightened Priti Patel’s latest answer to Hearts of Oaks demand for these convicted criminals’ deportation here. It is an article of faith in Whitehall that immigrants’ rights supersede those of the native British and to that end various means of assisting criminals such as the Rochdale rapists have been devised. One is legal aid. One of this group appealed on the grounds that the British government in deporting him was not paying sufficient regard to the safety and welfare of his children. 

Another, also funded by your wages, appealed to the European Court in Strasbourg that he had not received a fair trial because it was in front of an all-white jury. Both appeals were rejected out of hand. While it was unlikely that the appeals, themselves repellent in their casual cynicism, would succeed, they had a secondary purpose – delay. 

The deportees employed a firm of lawyers ‘Burton and Burton’ who were severely criticised by the senior judge of the Immigration and Asylum, Chamber Bernard McCloskey, for failing to submit the necessary papers to the court and repeatedly asking for adjournments 

The judge said, ‘Scarce judicial and administrative resources have been wasted in dealing with repeated unmeritorious requests by the appellants’ solicitors for an adjournment. The upper tribunal has been treated with sustained and marked disrespect. The conduct of these appeals has been cavalier and unprofessional. The rule of law has been weakened in consequence.’ 

Nor was it only the appellants’ lawyers who took part in gaming the system. McCloskey also criticised the government lawyers representing the Home Secretary, saying that they had only produced a skeleton argument at the ‘eleventh hour’ and only after repeated requests from tribunal staff. ‘It was,’ the judge said, ‘produced in egregious breach of the tribunal’s directions … A feeble and unacceptable excuse for this particular default has been proffered,’ said McCloskey. 

This is not surprising given Whitehall’s attitude to asylum and immigration matters. A deep contempt for the British public permeates the corridors of Whitehall, it is almost as if because the mandarins know immigration is a burning issue for many ordinary people, they are determined to rub mass migration in their faces. They have succeeded. 

There was talk of referring Burton and Burton to the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal but, three years on, a search of the Tribunal’s web site makes no mention of any such referral except to record that a number of Burton and Burton’s partners have resigned from the company. 

To anybody familiar with the immigration and asylum system, there is nothing unremarkable about this unpleasant story except perhaps the exceptionally disgusting nature of the men’s crimes. Games like this are played out daily in our asylum courts, which serve only one purpose, to pay the lawyers and judges involved. 

You know asylum and immigration appeals are a joke as soon as you attend an asylum hearing. However outrageous or insultingly ludicrous the appellant’s claim might be, even if he or she has a history of being previously deported, it is highly unusual for him (it is usually a him) to be held in custody. 

Instead, as in any civil case such as an unpaid parking fine, a tax appeal or a country court order for an unpaid debt, the appellant is told that the decision of the court will be communicated to him by post in two to three weeks. The court then adjourns and everybody goes home, the appellant if he has any sense, to an address other than he gives to the court. This gives him time to run away if the decision goes against him. 

It is all perfectly logical. What possible benefit would an efficient asylum appeals system be to the legal profession, with appellants being swiftly dispatched to their countries of origin as soon as the falsity of their stories are revealed at the port of entry? Far better to keep them here and make as much money off the taxpayer from them as you can. It is why amnesties are not looked on with favour by the legal profession. What farmer would like to see his prize cattle released? 

Asylum farming extends to our so-called Border Force. Readers may be under the impression that its job under the Dublin Convention is to return asylum seekers to the first European country they reached, in the case of Channel crossers (1200 last year – more this year) to France. Not so. A border force representative interviewed on Radio 4 said her task was to ‘make sure asylum seekers were safely landed in Dover’. 

In effect there is no border to the UK when it comes to asylum or illegal migrants. They arrive, a series of meaningless but expensive administrative and legal tests are applied, they are then provided with housing, state aid and their families allowed to join them. A few, very few, are deported, but not always those who most deserve to be. An honest asylum seeker is at much greater risk of being deported than a dishonest one. It is impossible to test the truth of a fairy story but it is possible to check that of an honest account. Lies pay in the migration game. 

There are two types of border in the UK, the external border, our frontier, and the borders to our private and commercial properties. The latter are secured by agreements and contracts, so you don’t find asylum seekers squatting on your lawn or come downstairs to breakfast to find a Nigerian ‘businessman’ helping himself to your bacon and eggs. But the external border has now been lifted, the second will follow. 

It is on the point that the whole process hinges. Either we consider ourselves obligated to accept any individual from anywhere in the world to live here, however meritorious or unsavoury, or we apply the same principles as we do for land ownership within the UK. You cannot just walk into somebody’s house and start living there, but it seems in the case of the Rochdale grooming gangs, you are able to walk into Britain and take up residence, rape the inhabitants of the country you have chosen to live in, yet have a very good chance of avoiding deportation. If not why are they still here? 


Photo by UK Prime Minister

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