Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:08 am Post subject: WELCOME TO THE ASYLUM, THEY LIE AND YOU PAY
|Welcome to the asylum: Couple claim to be lovers but told wildly different stories about his birthday to the immigration appeals court, where fact blurs with fictionBy Tom Rawstorne
Last updated at 12:16 AM on 15th October 2011
Earlier this year, a 36-year-old Somali man arrived in Britain and claimed asylum. He told Border Agency officials he had left his home in Mogadishu because he feared for his life and had paid around £650 to be smuggled here. He was, he said, a member of the Ashraf clan, one of the smaller ethnic groupings in Somalia.
As such he was at particular danger from al-Shabaab, a notorious terrorist group of Islamist militants currently locked in bloody battle with the government and sworn enemies of the clan.
Indeed, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed that its followers had one day approached him at his market stall, taken him to a terror camp and threatened him. And so he felt he had no option but to leave his wife and flee the country, heading to Britain and safety.
Trials of love: Tanbir Morshed, left, this week attempted to prove he is in a 'durable relationship' with Agneszka Litwin, right
It’s a fascinating, detailed story and one, no doubt, that immigration officials must hear regularly. Last year alone, almost 600 Somalis applied for asylum in the UK.
It is also totally untrue.
The man did not belong to the Ashraf clan, but, in fact, comes from the Hawiye, the dominant grouping in Mogadishu. And neither he, nor anyone from his family, had ever been threatened by anyone from al-Shabaab.
His story was a complete fabrication designed to improve his chances of being granted asylum in this country.
He had been coached to say what he did by fellow countrymen both in Somalia and here in Britain, well versed in how to best play our immigration system.
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The man’s deceit emerged only at the very last minute of a hearing in Central London on Wednesday. Ironically, he decided to come clean after experts whom his own legal team had hired to back his case delivered a report stating that his story simply did not stack up. Backed in to a corner, he admitted he had lied.
‘When I came to this country, most of the Somalis I saw advised me to say I was from a minority clan before I went to the Home Office — I thought that was the only way I could save myself,’ he said, via an interpreter, at the hearing of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
The lawyer for the Home Office was unimpressed by this new-found honesty. ‘His credibility is shot to pieces,’ he said, asking that the judge uphold the decision to remove him from the country. ‘He’s an economic migrant. This is a fabricated claim for asylum.’
Amid all the hot air about immigration, the pledges to tighten rules for asylum seekers to cut the numbers coming to this country, and the abuse of the Human Rights Act — particularly Article 8, which enshrines the right to a private and family life — this is a rare insight into the realities on the ground.
The issue was thrown into the spotlight last week after Home Secretary Theresa May described how an illegal migrant from Bolivia had dodged deportation because he was in a relationship (as it happened, with a gay partner) and had a cat, a fact which supported his claim to a stable family life here.
There are 20 First-Tier Immigration and Asylum Chambers around the country. The one in London, Taylor House, pictured, is the busiest and often deals with in excess of 120 appeals every day
It’s instructive to note that the respected Judges’ Council — made up of representatives from all tiers of the judiciary, and headed by the Lord Chief Justice — warned in a recent report that 85 per cent of appeals like the Somali man’s this week are based on far-fetched stories ‘dreamt up’ by lawyers to line their own pockets or as a last-ditch attempt to stop their client being thrown out of Britain.
Decisions taken at the First-Tier Immigration and Asylum Chambers — set up to hear appeals against decisions made by the Home Secretary — relate to asylum, deportation and to refusals to allow people to either remain or to enter the UK.
There are 20 such centres around the country. The one in London, Taylor House, is the busiest and often deals with in excess of 120 appeals every day.
I spent a few days at Taylor House this week, and discovered the chilling reality of our broken asylum system for myself . . .
THE WOMAN WHO DOESN'T EXIST
Britain has become a Big Brother state that holds more information on its citizens than ever before?
Try telling that to Elizabeth Odei, 40. She claims to have arrived in this country as a visitor from Ghana in 1990 and to have been here, illegally, ever since. But in all that time she apparently managed to leave not a single trace of her presence.
Miss Odei, who lives in Camberwell, South London, had applied for indefinite leave to remain in Britain under the rule that allows those who have been here 14 years to stay (almost 9,000 illegal immigrants have been granted such a right since the policy was introduced by Labour in 2003).
Claims: Elizabeth Odei, left, said she relied on a church's charity for 21 years, while Artan Neziraj, right, admitted he has a gambling problem
The Home Office had refused, saying she simply could not prove she had been here for as long as she said. Appearing at the tribunal this week, she was able to provide no evidence of when she arrived.
Her passport, she said, had been handed to a firm of solicitors to make an initial application for residence several years ago. But she claimed she could no longer get in touch with them because their offices had been demolished.
She had no correspondence from the past 20 years because she could not read or write, and nor did she have any medical records.
How, then, had she survived all that time? Not working, she said, but largely thanks to the charity of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to which she belonged and with whose members she had lodged. Three of its members gave evidence on her behalf, telling how they had known her since ‘the Nineties’.
Just how well they knew her was a point explored during cross-examination by the Home Office official. Asked to name the three children of one of the witnesses whom she claimed to have known since arriving in Britain, she got two wrong.
Her input to the hearing was conveyed via a translator.
Despite apparently spending two decades in Britain, she said she struggled ‘to express’ herself in English. As is common practice, the presiding judge said she would deliver a ruling on Miss Odei’s appeal in two weeks’ time.
THE CASE OF THE MAN UTD T-SHIRT
For 31-year-old Tanbir Morshed, the key to remaining in this country lay in demonstrating to the tribunal that his relationship with his girlfriend was as strong as he claimed it to be. The Home Office did not think it was and had refused the Bangladeshi’s initial application for residence.
There are two points to note. First, his girlfriend, Agneszka Litwin, is not British but Polish. But because she is living in the UK, under EU law she has similar rights to a British citizen.
Second, Mr Morshed is not married to Miss Litwin — but, under the regulations, had to prove only that he was in a ‘durable relationship’.
To do this, details of their courtship were outlined to the tribunal: how they had met in 2008, and how they had moved in with one another in February of this year. Bank statements and idiot of the couple on holiday were also submitted.
Border Control at London's Heathrow Airport. The Judges' Council warned that 85% of appeals are based on far-fetched stories 'dreamt up' by lawyers as a last-ditch attempt to stop their client being thrown out of Britain
Next, Mr Morshed and Miss Litwin were quizzed, separately, about key dates during their relationship. When Mr Morshed was asked how the couple had celebrated his birthday last January, he said that they had been apart and that his girlfriend had been in Poland.
The present she had given him? ‘She gave me a Manchester United T-shirt.’ But when Miss Litwin was asked the same questions, she told how on his birthday ‘we had a birthday cake and housemates together with us because it was after work’.
Appearing on behalf of the Home Office, Gareth Jones asked: ‘He says at his birthday you were not present. You were in Poland.’
Miss Litwin: ‘Sorry, I don’t remember.’
Mr Jones: ‘You were here for his birthday or you were not?’
Miss Litwin: ‘I am not sure.’
Mr Jones: ‘And his present?’
Miss Litwin: ‘I am not sure.’
While Mr Morshed’s lawyer argued that too much weight should not be put on this inconsistency, Mr Jones pointed out the definition of a ‘durable relationship’ was one ‘akin to marriage, not just a couple going out’.
THE MOTHER WHO NEVER WENT HOME
Last year alone, almost 600 Somalis applied for asylum in the UK
This was one of many cases to be fought under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and which, in the past, has been controversially used as a trump card by terrorists and criminals to avoid deportation.
This one involved a Jamaican woman and her two daughters, aged 14 and seven. The eldest girl had arrived in the UK aged four, travelling to Britain with a friend of the mother’s.
‘They were just coming to stay for three months and then going to come back home, but when I spoke to my daughter on the phone she said she liked it here and didn’t want to come back to Jamaica,’ the woman told the hearing. ‘I said that I would try and come and see what it is like. By the time I got here, she was already in school.’
The woman was allowed into Britain for a short visit ten years ago, but never left. She went on to have her second child here with the same father as the first — a man with whom she has now lost contact.
Would she ever go back to Jamaica? ‘Only to visit.’
The Home Office had refused to grant the family leave to remain in Britain, arguing that theirs had been ‘a planned migration’. As its lawyer said: ‘You sent your daughter here and then came to live here.’ But the family’s lawyer argued the removal of the children to Jamaica would be an ‘unreasonable disruption to their family life’.
HEARD THE ONE ABOUT THE IRISHMAN
Health worker Rabi Saaka appeared at the tribunal in an attempt to bring her two daughters — whom she has not seen for nearly ten years — to the UK from Ghana.
Miss Saaka, who now works for the Southern Cross care home group, arrived in the UK as a visitor in 2002 but never left. In 2008, she married an Irishman, thereby giving her the right to stay as the dependent of an EU citizen.
The relationship has since broken up. She told the tribunal that she had ‘always wanted’ to bring daughters Aisha, 16, and Naima, 18, to join her in London (they had been cared for in Ghana by their father, who had since died).
Henna Akbar, for the Home Office, said there were doubts that she could support them financially and questioned if her husband would offer any support, despite assurances from Miss Saaka that the pair may reconcile in the future.
She said: ‘The evidence suggests that they will not get back together because she does not even know where he lives. The indication is that the relationship has completely broken down.’ And she added: ‘The sponsor [Saaka] has not visited her children since 2002. There is nothing stopping her from doing so.’
But their lawyer Albert Faluyi appealed to the judge to reunite the threesome, arguing: ‘If the appellants are not allowed to join their mother here, that is likely to lead to disproportionate consequences compared to the need for immigration control.’
THE ALBANIAN WHO LOVES A FLUTTER
Artan Neziraj appeared at the tribunal on behalf of his pregnant wife Amela, who had previously been refused entry to the UK from Albania.
The hearing was told the Home Office was concerned that Mr Neziraj, from Enfield, North London, would be unable to support his wife because he was sharing accommodation with a cousin and was a heavy gambler.
Mr Neziraj who works washing cars, admitted: ‘I know I’m a bad gambler but I work hard.’
Henna Akbar, for the Home Office, said: ‘He may win a lot but that is luck. If he continues his habit — and he may not be so lucky in the future — he would not be able to look after the appellant.’
The pair’s lawyer, Stuart Kerr, countered: ‘What is clear is that he is not a man who gets into debt. When he has the money, he spends it and when he does not, he doesn’t.’
COMMENT FROM PAPER:
Coming to "your" town in the near future. They are pretty representative of the many thousands who are being deliberately distributed throughout the land via distribution points. The government does not want those who fled the cities to miss out on their diversity agenda. Our local town went from zero to flooded with people like this in the last 3 years. We hear umpteen different languages being spoken now everywhere we go. Vote for anyone who will stop it or reverse it. Just so long as you don`t vote for ANY of the main parties. Watch out for alliances too in the smaller parties to like Plaid Cymru/Labour etc. The only safe votes are those far away from any mainstream vote. UKIP seems fine but I want to be sure they are not a safety valve for the tories. Although they seem to be the only safe bet. All nationalist parties get deliberately attacked by the governments of all nations to stop them gaining ground. We need to vote these traitors into oblivion.
It seems to me the only people in England now not getting any fair treatment is the ENGLISH. About time we stopped all these scroungers con artist and other undesirables comming into this country just for the free hand outs. Do what Australia does put them on the first plane back so they dont have chance to abscond or disappear.
Britain has become the sick man of Europe. From where i sit and listen two other peoples i feel ashamed two admit that my country has lost its way . The so called leaders passed and present appear two have little or no regard for the peoples that placed their faith in them for good governance on their behalf. The current government appear to have completely lost the plot and Mr Cameron's cabinet are falling apart at the seams My countrymen are in a state of disbelief as to the arrogant way the chosen few are abusing the system at ever turn of the book. Just when we felt that Mr Cameron was the man two pull the country out of the gutter it would appear not as he has shy ed away from most of the major issues facing the country,from immigration to referendum to sacking of members hell bent on self first the post agendas. Just when will a little normality and common sense prevail? Along with honesty and integrity.?!!!! No chance we are regarded as slaves to the ruling classes.
its simple really, why should we work to support lying trash from other countries , kick them out and all their friends and relations before they throw YOU out and they will given the chance