The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, has condemned the the removal process implimented by the UK Border Agency, whilst speaking to delegates from across the UK at the launch of the Shared Futures project in Cardiff on Wednesday 17th September.
He recounts a story which would be familiar to anyone who has looked into the way in which the UK Border Agency operates.
“I took a call recently from an incredibly distraught woman in Swansea who had watched two vans with people in uniforms come to a house in her street around 8am and remove a family. The mother of the family could speak little English and her eldest son was no older than 13. He had good English and was translating what was happening but things got emotional and the boy lost it. As I learned later, it was totally out of character but this child had been put under so much pressure that he could not cope.
In response, those in uniform took a punitive approach. They separated him from his family. He went in one van. The rest of his family was put in the other. It was not until later that night in Manchester airport where they had all been taken, that they were reunited for a flight out of the country.
“This action affected not just this family but it affected the children at the local primary who were left with nightmares over whether they would be taken away. It affected the community. These children who were taken away called Wales their home. They spoke with Welsh accents and had friends at the local primary.”