Professionals think Labour has performed poorly on immigration issues

Asylum and immigration is the social care area on which the
government has performed most poorly according to professionals
working in the sector, a Community Care survey has
revealed, writes Amy Taylor.

Almost one third of social care professionals rated
Labour’s performance on asylum and immigration as ‘very
poor’ double the amount which gave mental health services the
same verdict – the next worst performing area, according to the

Last week prime minister Tony Blair said that if Labour was
re-elected it would detain more asylum seekers whose claims have
failed and use electronic tagging to keep track of those it
believes could disappear. He added that the party would also
recruit an extra 600 immigration officers to patrol Britain’s

Rules on appeals introduced this month will mean policy that
asylum seeker’s solicitors will only get paid after an appeal
has been heard if the asylum claim is successful or the High Court
think that the case was worth pursuing even though it eventually

The government argues that the rules are to stop solicitors
taking on hopeless cases but campaigners and the Constitutional
Affairs Select Committee argue that asylum seekers with genuine
cases may be unable to find solicitors to take them on.

A third of survey respondents think that the treatment of child
asylum seekers has got worse under Labour.

Last December the government introduced laws, under section 9 of
the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004, that could result in asylum
seekers whose claims have failed and who refuse to go home having
their children taken into care.

The measure, which is being piloted for this group in the
north-west and several London boroughs before being rolled out
nationally, has caused outrage amongst campaigners. It previously
only applied to single asylum seekers whose claims had failed.

The government has also been strongly criticised by campaigners
and Kathleen Marshall, the children’s commissioner Scotland,
over its policy of detaining asylum seeker children.

Community Care surveyed 1, 096 social care
professionals on a range of election issues.

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