Authorities in the United Kingdom have detained and threatened European Union citizens with deportation, according to a legal charity organization.
The Home Office has reportedly threatened EU citizens with removal despite having applied for settled status allowing them to remain in the UK, allegations which the Home Office have denied.
In a letter to the head of the Immigration Enforcement dated Thursday, the Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD) said the Home Office has denied evidence of their clients’ EU settlement scheme (EUSS) applications, which has prolonged some EU citizens’ detention.
“We are extremely concerned that the delays being faced by EEA nationals with the acknowledgment of their applications is leading to extended and unnecessary detention under immigration powers. This is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement,” the BiD wrote as it sought clarification from UK authorities.
BiD legal director Pierre Makhlouf said, “Whether this is due to administrative or willful neglect may be unclear, but by ignoring the legal steps that EU nationals have undertaken to assert their rights, the UK is in breach of the its duties under the withdrawal agreement.”
A Home Office spokesperson has responded to the allegations saying, “Our approach means that should immigration enforcement encounter anyone without EUSS but who may be eligible, we will work with them to enable them to apply and signpost them to available support,” The Guardian reported.
The spokesperson maintained that those who have applied within the June 30 deadline with no decision yet are still protected until their application is decided.
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