Deportation of EU citizens on the rise since Britain Voted Leave
There has been a rise in the number of deportation of EU nationals since Britain voted to leave the European Union, with almost 5,000 EU citizens being deported in the past 12 months. The number of EU citizens being removed from the United Kingdom has now increased fivefold since 2010, with last year seeing approximately 14% increase.
The focus of the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement units has shifted against immigrants from EU countries. Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament in June 2017: “EU citizens are an integral part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country and I have always been clear that I want to protect their rights”. Despite this, the Home Secretary claims otherwise: Theresa May promised to create “a really hostile environment for illegal migrants”. It has become apparent that in reality, the Government has created a “hostile” approach towards all immigrants along with those who are legally within the United Kingdom. Benjamin Morgan of migrant support group North East London Migrant Action (NELMA) told The Independent that the increase in deportations shows Theresa May is “extending her ‘hostile environment’ for migrants to target people who have lived and worked legally in the UK, often for many years”.
Despite the hostile environment legally under EU law, European nationals have the right to remain in the United Kingdom unless they “abuse” the rights which they have been given. Examples of these abuses include being convicted of a serious criminal offence and entering into a marriage of convenience. The EU’s citizens’ rights directive makes clear that it is illegal for member states to expel EU citizens “except on serious grounds of public policy or public security”.
Lara ten Caten, a lawyer at human rights group Liberty, said:
“The removal of EEA rough sleepers isn’t just illegal – it’s symptomatic of the compassionless approach of a Government desperate to look tough on immigration, whatever the human cost”.
These offences now include sleeping rough on the streets. As such, campaigners have launched a judicial review against the deportation policy. Last month, the Home Office was forced to apologise after sending a letter to 100 EU nationals wrongly informing them they were facing deportation.
This does not surprise us here at LUPINS. As specialists in immigration detention work we have experienced a rise in the number of EU national detainees instructing us for bail applications in recent months.