lb40k Settlement for Mother and British Child Detained by the Home Office
It was a Spring morning in Birmingham when Ruth and her four year old daughter were awoken at 6am by a large group of men dressed in black shouting, banging and threatening to knock the door down. Their home was ransacked and Ruth was told that she and her daughter were to be detained pending removal to the Democratic Republic of Congo within a matter of days. They were both put in a van and taken to Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre.
"I was shocked and terrified. I couldn't understand what was happening or why. They treated me like I was a criminal. I was in a complete state of shock. I was very upset and crying. My daughter was asking me why I was crying and she was also crying."
Ruth had been in the UK for six years and had been waiting for a decision on her immigration application for three years at the time of the dawn raid. She had been fully compliant with all Home Office conditions and her MP, who had made enquiries with the Home Office on her behalf, had been assured that a decision was still pending, when in fact it was not.
Perhaps most shocking of all is that Ruth's four year old daughter was a British citizen.
"I showed her my daughter's British passport. [The immigration officer] looked at it and said, 'fine, she can travel with this passport.'"
Ruth and her daughter then spent a terrifying 18 days in Yarl's Wood fearing removal at any time. They were finally released after immigration solicitors successfully challenged their removal directions. Their detention and the Home Office attempts to remove them were clearly unlawful.
After issuing proceedings against the Home Office we managed to negotiate a lb40,000 settlement for Ruth and her daughter and an apology from the Home Office for their unlawful detention.
Ruth's solicitor, Saoirse Kerrigan in our Civil Liberties and Police Misconduct Team, said:
"Sadly the unlawful detention of vulnerable people under immigration powers is an all too common occurrence. However, the multiple failures of immigration officials in this case makes it particularly alarming. When presented with a four year old child's British passport, not only did the officers go ahead and detain her with her mother, but saw it as an opportunity to remove her to a war torn foreign land, rather than as evidence of her citizenship. Our client was then forced to take legal action to stop her removal and secure her release. This is a shocking example of draconian attitudes and neglectful decision making within the Home Office which only causes suffering to vulnerable people at great cost to the public purse."
"I would like to thank Saunders Law for the great work they have done for me and my daughter. My solicitor was very clear, supportive, friendly, understanding, helpful and professional throughout the all time of our case. A really excellent achievement. We are very pleased with the outcome and we are looking forward to a better future. Outstanding work! I would definitely recommend Saunders Law."