Detained Without Walls
There is a very nice piece by Melanie Griffiths on Open Democracy. It is titled “Invisible fathers of immigration detention in the UK.” I copied a subtitle of the article into the title here. Read the whole article, it's worth your time. If not, I wanted to especially share this part:
"As Lou also demonstrates, the impact on families of immigration detention often continues even if a person is released. Men tend to leave detention with stringent conditions such as frequent reporting to the police, evening curfews and electronic tagging. These severely restrict normal life and tie a person to a particular place, which may well be far from their families. Add on a lack of money or right to work, as well as the emotional damage caused by detention, and the hurdles against rekindling family ties can be enormous.
Lou feels that, as an ex-detainee, the Home Office is deliberately splitting up his family in order to “break him” emotionally, and is “playing games” by using his young daughter as bait to tempt him into breaching his conditions of release. Unfortunately for Lou, his legitimate desire to live near his daughter and contribute financially to her upbringing (so as “to see her smile”), would entail illegitimately ‘absconding’ from his accommodation and working illegally. Lou considers it a Home Office tactic: “deprive him! So he’s going to mess up and then we’ll justify detaining him!”
Cruelly, and as Lou is well aware, his continued separation from Mary also has legal implications. Even if the separation is involuntary and an artefact of the immigration system, it undermines his case to remain in the UK on the basis of his family life. Lou is trapped. In order to follow the Home Office’s rules, Lou must accept the pain of hardly seeing Mary and the guilt of being unable to financially support her. But in so doing, not only is their relationship forever damaged, but Lou knows that the decision-makers will become increasingly unlikely to “accept I’m a genuine father.” He tells me that they will ask him: “When did you last see your daughter? Where’s your evidence?”"
Who is committing the real crime here?