Breakthrough in section nine fight

Campaigners are scenting victory in their attempt to overturn the law under which the children of failed asylum seekers can be taken into care.

Ministers have backed an amendment to the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury, empowering the immigration minister to repeal section nine of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004.

Section nine allows for the removal of benefits from failed asylum seekers who do not take “reasonable steps” to return to their country of origin, making them destitute and meaning their children can be taken into care.

Lisa Nandy, a policy adviser at the Children’s Society, said the amendment showed that the government was considering not rolling out the controversial measures, which are being piloted in three areas, across the nation.

Nandy added that, although she wanted section nine to be repealed, she was concerned that it could be replaced by something else.

A Home Office spokesperson said that an evaluation of section nine was being carried out and the government would then decide whether it should be rolled out.


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