Zadie Smith, the novelist and campaigner, calls Yarl’s Wood “an offence to liberty, a shame to any civilised nation, and a personal tragedy for the women caught in its illogical grip”.Men caught in its ‘illogical grip’ can just lump it, I suppose?
But she justifies this by bringing out the population figures, which show that Yarl’s Wood detainee breakdown is majority female. No doubt this will be picked up on by the gender warriors before long.
This was meant to be a place for short stays, where asylum seekers were held briefly before being removed from the country. But the British immigration system is in chaos and a backlog means cases can drag on; it is not unusual to spend a year in Yarl’s Wood. One woman was detained for four years without charge or trial.I’m not sure this can be blamed entirely on the legendary incompetence of the justice system, can it? What about the lawyers (often working for ‘Open Borders’ charities) that delay cases and use every trick in the book to resubmit application after application in order to prevent removal?
Keeping an asylum seeker locked up costs the taxpayer £130 a day. Sophie Radice, of Women For Refugee Women, believes they should be allowed to live in the community while their cases drag on…OK, Sophie, how many are you prepared to put up with next door to you?
I sent a series of detailed questions in writing to the Home Office, which employs Serco, some about the specifics of what has happened to Susan and Anna; others covering wider issues such as the average length of time that women are held in Yarl’s Wood. The response was a flat refusal to engage.Good!
Not all of my questions were requests for information. Some were more philosophical, such as asking for a comment on whether it is right to hold women for so long without trial; if they could suffer psychological damage as a result.No civil service worth its salt will answer that sort of question! And, of course, they didn’t:
The response was a statement insisting that detention and removal are essential elements of an effective immigration system…Indeed they are. Strong fences make good neighbours, after all.
Sorry, Open Borders crowd, but this is yet another failed attempt to whip up sympathy. No-one but your small, unrepresentative sample of fellow travellers is buying it any more.