Scotland demands better care for deported families

Scotland’s first minister has called on the home secretary to offer asylum seeking families facing deportation greater protection.

Criticising the current system for removals, Jack McConnell said he had been given an assurance from Charles Clarke that the Scottish executive and education and social services would in future be able to intervene before immigration authorities were allowed to take any action.

McConnell said such an agreement, to be defined in a protocol, was necessary to ensure that the system “operates humanely”.

He added that Clarke had indicated it would be “advisable” to set up similar protocols “elsewhere” in the UK.

But last night the Home Office was unable to confirm that discussions for any protocol were going ahead. A spokesperson would say only that issues being raised by the Scottish executive would be “carefully considered”.

The treatment of asylum seeking families at the hands of immigration authorities was highlighted in Scotland last week by the deportation of the Vucaj family to their native Kosovo.

Earlier this month, witnesses described how up to 16 immigration officers carried out a dawn raid on the family’s Glasgow home, handcuffing the father and leading his children, aged between 13 and 17, away while still in their pyjamas.

The case has increased pressure from opposition politicians and campaigners on the first minister to better protect child asylum seekers, and McConnell admitted to the Scottish parliament last week that the current approach was “wrong”.

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