In Glasgow, a resumption of dawn raids on families as part of the new Family Returns Process has brought condemnation and calls for a protest at the Border Agency.
Unity Centre Glasgow reported that on 8th November a single mum who is fighting to have her asylum case heard in Scotland and against being sent back to Dublin where her abusive husband managed to track her down was dawn raided by six or more UKBA officials. Luckily she managed to be released the next day as her lawyer was in the process of lodging a judicial review of how her case has been handled.
The following day, Nigerian mother Funke Olubiyi and her five year old son Joseph were not so lucky when 12 UKBA officers and police came calling before 7am. Funke was in the bath when they banged on her door and started shouting through her letter box. After they got into the flat she was handcuffed in front of her terrified son and they were taken to the Glasgow reporting centre at Brand Street.
Funke and Joseph were then taken to the new family detention centre at Pease Pottage, run by UKBA and children’s charity Barnardo’s, near Gatwick Airport. This morning, the Unity Centre said they feared the worst and believe that Funke and Joseph were deported on Saturday.
Scottish Refugee Council has also condemned the dawn raid tactics. Gary Christie, head of policy at Scottish Refugee Council, said the agency was very concerned.
“The new Family Returns Process (FRP) was intended to treat families with children more humanely if their case had been refused. We have grave concerns about how this process is being rolled out in practice” he said in an SRC statement, adding “people in Glasgow are yet again filled with fear and panic over what could happen to them and their children.”
Speaking to the Sunday Herald from the detention centre, Funke said “Joseph is very confused by what has happened. He asks me what I did wrong to be put in handcuffs. He asks when he will get back to Govan to his school and his bike. He was also due to go into Yorkhill Sick Children’s Hospital on Friday for an operation to cure his hearing problems.”
A UKBA spokesperson was quoted in the Sunday Herald saying that UKBA would continue with dawn raids because “the whole purpose is to have an element of surprise”. A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The detention of children as part of the removal process is unacceptable”.
Protest at Brand Street – Monday 21 November
A variety of organisations and groups are to stage a peaceful protest against these UKBA tactics on Monday the 21st November outside the UKBA office at Brand Street next Monday. There is a facebook event page here and we will be sending out more publicity when it arrives.
Looks like it could be a big one…