French court verdict on deportation to hit Britain hard

`France would now vigorously wave them on to Britain’

`Right to claim asylum is a fundamental freedom’

22nd December 2009:A French court’s verdict on deportation of migration is expected to hit hard Britain’s efforts to check illegal immigration.

The court has ruled migrants could not be deported back to their homelands straightaway, implying the French authorities can no longer send back asylum seekers camped near Calais without first offering them the opportunity to apply for asylum in France — a move they are unenthusiastic about.

Available information suggests the court was of the opinion that the human rights of an Afghan were infringed, when police tried to send him home. The Afghan was arrested in Calais while trying to get over the Channel.

The development has resulted in critics in the UK coming down heavily on the authorities concerned in France for adopting a haphazard approach to illegal immigration. Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatchUK said the French would now wave them on to Britain even more vigorously.

Elaborating, he said this meant the French authorities could no longer deport asylum seekers camped near Calais without first offering them the opportunity to apply for asylum in France, something they were notably reluctant to do.

Reports trickling in suggest Sultan Khail was being deported to Afghanistan after sneaking into France earlier this year.

Living in `The Jungle’, he was arrested along with 278 other migrants after the camp was bulldozed in September.

After he was moved to the southern city of Nimes, Khail sought asylum in France — a request which was rejected after Khail admitted he went to Calais with the “sole intention” of getting to Britain.

Overturning the decision backed by immigration minister Eric Besson, France’s Conseil d’Etat said it was abusive and the right to claim asylum was a fundamental freedom.

According to media reports, the ruling said the decision of the prefect constituted a serious and ­blatantly illegal attack on the fundamental freedom to claim asylum.

The UK Border Agency, meantime, said they had successfully carried out removal flights with French colleagues and looked forward to continuing to work closely with the French Government. Joint returns were a key part of the work and they were strongly committed to it.

The verdict comes soon after British immigration judges made it clear Afghanistan was not in a state of war; and it was not an unsafe place for failed asylum-seekers to return.

The significant ruling by three judges of the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal had paved way for the deportation of hundreds of Afghans living in Britain.

The judgment was considered significant as only last year 3,800 Afghans were returned to Afghanistan. Out of the total, as many as 1,185 were asylum-seekers.
The Tribunal had ruled the scale of "indiscriminate violence" was not enough to permit Afghans to claim general humanitarian protection in the UK.

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