Adda Family did not fly today!
Selina and her children were collected from Yarl’s Wood IRC at approximate 8 a.m. and taken to Heathrow airport. They were shocked to find that they were not taken into the airport but round the back in the vehicle and taken to near the plane.
Meanwhile in Nottingham people continued to fax letters, petitions, letters to the airline and to the Home Sec, and also directly to the Immigration Caseworker.
In London, a group of people wearing campaign T shirts were at the airport to speak with other passengers.
The solicitor had made representations against the Home Office decision and these were not rejected outright but he was told that the UKBA needed to take legal advice. The UKBA was very slow in getting advice and meanwhile Selina was trying to explain this all unsuccessfully to her escorts.
By 1 p.m. the solicitor had applied for an injunction and a Judicial Review of the decision and this had been granted. However, Selina and the children remained with the escorts close to the plane, and we held our breath that the injunction could be conveyed to the escorts in a form that they would accept.
Selina was advised that the group at the airport would not leave until they knew that she and the children were returning to Yarl’s Wood, or that the plane had left without her. At about 1.30 Selina notified the airport campaigners that they could go home.
It was some time before Selina and the children returned to Yarl’s Wood – she was advised that the driver had been working very long hours (!) and that he could no longer drive and a replacement was on his way. It seems unreasonable to place young children in the situation that they should show concern for a driver who chooses this line of work.
Bail is being applied for and it is hoped that Selina and the children should be back in Nottingham early next week and she thanks all of you who have done anything at all to support her and the children during this time.
You may also like to know that Selina reports that the family unit at Yarl’s Wood is at capacity with 53 adults and children. Amongst these until Sunday was a woman from Sierra Leone and her two British born children. After a distressing time being detained and trying to resist removal, they were removed to Sierra Leone last weekend. On arrival the authorities in Sierra Leone said that they would accept the mother but not the children as they were British born. It is shocking to think that the UKBA were not aware that this would be the policy. The escorts remonstrated with the authorities but they were resolute, and the entire family were returned to the UK, and shortly after they were released.
More than ever this looks like random and desperate removals without thorough research or knowledge of the countries to which people are being returned.
Selina’s children could be heard in the background as they were welcomed by the other children in Yarl’s Wood, who could not believe that they had returned. Yesterday in Nottingham children at the schoolgates were crying, thinking that they would never see their friends again, and had written in their scores, new letters to the Home Sec pleading with him to leave their friends alone. This morning they will all hear that it will not be long before the nine year old and his five year old sister are back in the playground with them again.
How many times must these children and their friends be put through this? A whole community now knows how the UKBA behave towards children. A whole community of children and their families have learned something about how their Government works, and they don’t like it.
Miriam Hollis on behalf of the Campaign
Campaign email address: firstname.lastname@example.org