John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
  Legislation and Sausages
I must admit today was one of those Bismarck Sausage Days.

"To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.
Otto von Bismarck

There is a problem. The problem is that now and again there are people who are not UK citizens who commit crimes. If you have someone who is continually attacking other people who is not a UK citizen then the obvious thing to do is to deport them.

This is not new. The old system had the judge recommending deportation, but the Home Office then forgot to do it. The government have now brought in what they call "automatic deportation". The problem with their way of doing it is that it will unravel in two ways. Firstly it will fail to deport people that it should, secondly that it will deport people that it shouldn't.

Our immigration law is a total mess. There are different categories of immigration and different rules in terms of the rights to work, vote and interface with state services.

The system produced today creates a judicial muddle. We proposed a simple system whereby the judge in the original court looked at the issues and made a decision. The government has the judge only considering the sentence. Then the Home Secretary has to make a decision. This decision will be subject to judicial review and as the Immigration Minister (Liam Byrne) said they get 74 judicial review applications a week.

The new system treats theft (eg stealing electricity) as something that can result in deportation even for a prison sentence of a day. So someone who has worked, paid taxes and lived in the UK for 30 years or more can be deported for fiddling their electricity meter.

In the mean time there can be continual anti-social behaviour from someone who has just arrived and merely depends off the state and they are allowed to stay. Furthermore people who have committed violent crimes are still likely to be released before the deportation occurs from time to time.
 
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