Friday, March 28, 2008

Immigration and Borders: What a Day We've Had

Many thanks to Tony Lloyd MP and Liam Byrne MP and everyone else involved in the release from detention today of Elly Kiptarbei Tarus (right), a young Kenyan athlete who has been trying to join the British Forces and has become an overstayer in the process.

Tarus is still liable to be detained and removed, if he does not leave voluntarily or sort his status out, but not let's hope in this remarkable way.

He has an unused return portion of an Emirates ticket which can be re-dated for $80, he has never had any recourse to public funds, he has been in no trouble whatsoever, and he has suffered mistakes and/or unintended consequences from four (count 'em) different government departments.

Unwittingly, and at times with intended kindness and generosity, conspiring to prevent his joining British Forces.

He had already agreed to go back to Kenya voluntarily at his own expense should his attempts to correct these mistakes ultimately fail. That way he would be 95% likely to get back in and be able to serve in the forces as he wishes. My running club has guaranteed he won't need recourse to public funds in the meantime.

Today when he attended a routine interview to "collect his passport back". He was instead detained and put in a cell. This broke a series of clear promises and agreements that had been made to him or with him. That being at an initial interview I attended myself.

Tarus was later I believe shipped to Manchester Airport, from whence he would have been transferred to a detention centre for five nights at tax payers' expense, before being bundled on a flight - without his possessions - at tax payers' expense on Wednesday.

Perhaps with a little post modern torture in Terminal 5 thrown in.

Papers - specifically representations to the Minister - had been lost somewhere in the mix. Today we were able to right that, just in time. But even so, this was quite a carry on given the assurances we had been given.

Many thanks to those that did help. And quite an anecdote collected on the way from some North West solicitors who certainly did not help us out one little bit.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't it just last week when we learned how the army had a 5,000 shortfall in recruitment over the last year or two? No wonder if they're cocking up recruitment of the willing as well as putting off waverers with continued deployment to trouble spots.

Miles said...

Well done Chris.
Lets hope that's as close as it gets.

Chris Paul said...

Thanks Miles. This is an interesting situation to be involved with. Usually it is asylum matters but this is not one of those and the insights on the normal working of the immigration and borders set up are quite extraordinary.

A considerable part of the problem is contributed IMO by the over-complexities and failures to take opportunities for joined up thinking and advancing problems.

I will take the opportunity to write to Liam Byrne with some suggestions. Polite of course.