Anti-Deportation Ireland launches campaign against direct provision and deportation

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‘The direct provision system is destroying people’s lives, and the injustice of deportations must be ended’ according to Anti-Deportation Ireland (ADI). The organization, comprised of asylum-seekers from direct provision centres all over Ireland, and their supporters, will launch a campaign and research report in Unite the Union, 15 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, on October 3rd at 11.30am.

The launch comes a week after the death of a Congolese asylum-seeker, Emmanuel Marcel Landa in Mosney, the 49th person to die in the system of Direct Provision since 2000. It also follows the march of several hundred people in Galway city on September 15th to protest against the summary dispersal of 270 asylum-seekers living in Lisbrook House. They were due to be relocated to other centres around the country, despite the fact that many have been living in and integrated into the local community during the last years.

According to Luke Bukha of ADI, the direct provision system ‘takes people who have been uprooted from their homes and who have often suffered terrible traumas and confines them in a system that leaves them without choice and often hope. They have no right to work, live in cramped and often sub-standard conditions, and face long periods of waiting and agonizing that leave them vulnerable to illness and depression’.

Elena Moreo, the author of ADI’s report, notes that the system of deportation is inefficient and involves huge costs to the taxpayer, while deepening the misery inflicted on asylum-seekers. ‘Our report details the massive cost of flights, legal fees and private security firms to the exchequer. However we also really need awareness of the costs of this system to families that are separated, to Irish citizens and spouses who are also deported, and to the mental health and safety of people sent back to often unsafe conditions’.

As well as presenting this report, the launch will feature testimonies from asylum-seekers of their experiences in direct provision, and dealing with the threat of deportation.

Anti Deportation Ireland has three specific demands: an immediate end to all deportations, abolition of the direct provision system, and the right to work for asylum-seekers.

Executive summary of Prelimary Report on Deportation in Ireland: The human and economic costs of deportation

By Elena Moreo for Anti Deportation Ireland.

The deportation of so-called failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants, like their detention and dispersal, has become an integral part of migration policies in Ireland reflecting a wider European trend.

While deportation has been legitimised as a cornerstone of immigration control and naturalized as a routine procedure, this report for Anti Deportation Ireland, highlights the human costs of deportation, focussing on the trauma, suffering, unjust and brutal treatment experienced by deportees and their families.

Anti-Deportation Ireland (ADI) is a national network of activists, asylum seekers, refugees, community workers, trade unionists, and academics who have come together to campaign against forced deportation in Ireland, and for the abolition of the direct provision system.

The main findings of this preliminary report are outlined below:

  • Deportation is an extremely traumatic experience for those who are forcibly removed and for their families, friends and members of the communities into which they have integrated. The conditions under which people are deported are inhumane and degrading often involving the use of violent methods of restraint and psychological intimidation.
  • One in five people deported from Ireland since the start of 2010 were children. Deporting children, who may have been born in Ireland and never been to the countries they are being returned to, is a hardly justifiable practice.
  • Deportations are ineffective. The argument that they ensure the integrity of the immigration regime is highly speculative. The relevant gap between deportation orders issued and deportations orders effect not only proves the point but also shows that an increasing number of people are living in precarious conditions of ‘deportability’ experiencing its attendant consequences in terms of lack of rights, anxiety, stress and inability to carry on with one’s life.
  • Deportations are hugely costly. The overall cost of removing 280 persons from Ireland in 2011 was in excess of €1 million.
  • The lack of independent monitoring procedures also raises serious concerns in relation to how deportations are carried out.
  • The lack of follow-up or tracking procedures means that there is very limited knowledge of what happens to deportees after they are deported. However some journalists and scholars have provided evidence of deportees experiencing extreme socio-economic marginalisation, mental health and substance abuse issues, and even torture and incarceration in the countries to which they are returned.
  • International reports have criticised Ireland for detaining people awaiting deportation and/or for immigration related reasons in ordinary prisons, questioning the legal basis of such practice, the lack of legal safeguards for immigration detainees and their treatment in detention.
  • There is very limited scope to challenge deportation decisions in Ireland because there is no independent appeals body.
  • The practice of deporting individuals who may have an EU or Irish spouse/partner constitutes a breach of the EU free movement directive.
  • Despite State’s claims that the direct provision system provides the best value for money, all international and national research available is consistent in showing that the system violates asylum seekers’ basic rights to housing, family life, food, health, work and education.  Considering that the system fails to ensure an adequate standard of living the level of expenditure associated with it is unacceptable.
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