The government backed an amendment to the Immigration Bill yesterday to allow for the early repeal of Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of claimants etc), Act 2004.
A Home Office spokesperson told Community Care that the government had yet to decide whether Section 9 would be repealed and a decision would not be made until an evaluation of the pilot had been conducted.
“This amendment provides for the early repeal of Section 9 should it be decided after considering the evaluation that this is an appropriate course of action,” the spokesperson added.
He said that while the Home Office accepted that it was a tough policy, it did need to encourage more families who have no legal rights to stay here to return home voluntarily.
The amendment was discussed in the House of Lords yesterday. The Immigration and Nationality Bill is currently at report stage.
The Children’s Society on behalf of the Refugee Consortium, welcomed the decision by the government to take steps to repeal Section 9 of the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act.
“As a leading organisation working with refugee and asylum seeking children we are aware of at least 35 families who have gone underground, losing all contact with the authorities and welfare organisations, and we are fearful for the safety of the children involved,” said Lisa Nandy, Policy Advisor, The Children’s Society.
“A policy which separates children from their parents or leaves them destitute on the streets of Britain has no place in a civilised society, and we are pleased the government has recognised this,” she concluded.