Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Temperance in the application of immigration law

Within the last few days Glasgow has witnessed two children being taken into prison, for the crime of being Nigerian, and three people from Eastern Europe plummeting to their death under the possible threat of deportation. These are tragic examples of the way people facing desperate situations react when placed against the wall. In 2007 Glaswegians demonstrated their distress at the imprisonment of children by immigration authorities and the unease in the city is just as palpable now.

The onus is on the immigration authorities to apply the law with justice and temperance, exercising the judgement required by each particular case. If asylum seekers behave in the way which is expected of them by our immigration authorities and they present no risk of flight, there is no real reason to place them in prison prior to deportation, particularly if children are involved. Since 2004 The Church of Scotland has opposed the imprisonment of children.

Scotland has long prided itself on its democratic and Christian values. Should we not remind ourselves that we need to treat others as we would like to be treated?

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