Sunday, January 23, 2011

UK can't deport asylum seekers back to Greece as they will be subjected to 'inhumane or degrading treatment'

Britain was stripped of the power to deport hundreds of asylum seekers yesterday in a far-reaching ruling by European human rights judges. The judgment condemned the treatment of refugees by Greece and effectively forbade countries from returning asylum seekers there as they are subjected to ‘inhumane or degrading treatment’.

It means that for the first time human rights rules stop Britain from sending deportees to a fellow European Union country.

Greece is visited by nearly two million British tourists each year – and also enjoys the power under EU law to demand extradition of British citizens it suspects of crime within its borders.

An immigration watchdog warned the ruling is likely to mean thousands of asylum seekers will make their way to Britain from Greece, or will say they have come from Greece, because authorities will have no power to return them.

The judgment, by the European Court of Human Rights, will also act as a fresh constraint on Britain’s right to remove individuals considered undesirable.

Under a 15-year-old ruling by the Strasbourg-based court, terrorists and other criminals cannot be sent back to their own countries if the courts consider torture may be used against them.

Britain’s Border Agency stopped deporting asylum seekers who came into Europe through Greece last September in anticipation of the ruling. There are currently 1,300 asylum seekers thought to have come to Britain through Greece who could, under EU rules, be sent back to Athens.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said yesterday: ‘We are disappointed with the judgment. ‘The United Kingdom does not, however, currently return asylum seekers to Greece, although we will continue to keep the situation under review.’

Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This opens a gateway into Europe and Britain for asylum seekers. ‘Future asylum seekers will enter the EU through Greece safe in the knowledge we cannot send them back. ‘Their cases will have to be settled here at the expense of the British taxpayer.’


Immigration bill could hurt Head Start in Kentucky, officials say

Since all the evidence is that Head Start achieves nothing, that should not be a big problem

A bill that would make it a crime for an illegal immigrant to set foot in Kentucky could cost the state's Head Start programs millions of dollars, Head Start officials warned this week.

In a letter to House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, Head Start officials said that Senate Bill 6, which passed the Senate this month, could create problems for the federal pre-kindergarten program that serves 17,444 children in all 120 counties.

The bill has not been considered by the House, which will reconvene Feb. 1. House leaders, including Stumbo, have said it is doubtful that the Senate's immigration bill will pass the Democratic-controlled House. A recent legislative analysis says implementing the bill could cost the state as much as $40 million.

SB 6 would make it a crime for anyone to transport or assist an illegal immigrant and would create a state charge of trespassing if an illegal immigrant enters Kentucky.

Head Start officials cannot ask about immigration status, according to federal guidelines.


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