Given the recent ice cream weather, a tropical greeting seems appropriate!
What a tumultuous time in UK politics! I kept thinking (hoping) let me wait for Theresa May to go before I do the next write-up. However, like a monster in B-grade horror movies which reappears no matter how many times it is whacked, it doesn't seem like families will see mercy in the form of Theresa May's departure immediately. It could be as soon as the other side of summer. It could be as long as at least the Brexit negotiations are going on for.
I have found myself feeling a bit bad for her - appearing on TV and in parliament her confidence has clearly taken a hit. In contrast, the Queen's Speech debate showed the eloquent, fair and determined Jeremy Corbyn most of us could foresee way back. I then remind myself of TM's almost single-minded determination to break up families and force Brits into exile; the no-matter-what, appealing court cases which go against her. Too many of you have seen wins at first tier tribunals, but visas delayed by incessant appealing from the Home Office - leading to insane delays and yet more uncertainty for families; the pause on partner applications continues as the Home Office attempts to work out how to adjust their rules to remove the elements the Supreme Court found unlawful. I could go on - but moral of the story, I am squashing any feelings of empathy I feel for TM.
Not hard actually, given the Tory manifesto promised to increase the income British citizens would be required to earn to sponsor their partner, and that the first key word in the Queen's Speech was immigration. I fear it's not going to be easy and yet again, for those who exercised free movement rights to unite with family, we look to the EU to uphold our right to family life.
Negotiations are ongoing, but I am very aware that any mention of EU citizens in the UK and Brits elsewhere in the UK being allowed to remain in their chosen home, may not necessarily include Brits who made use of the Surinder Singh route. The EU proposal Professor Steve Peers tells me does cater for this group; the UK proposal I do not believe does. Where they can, this government appears happy to shaft Brits. It is just so strange to especially hamper the rights of ones own citizens - I can't for the life of me fathom why.
An 'update' on the MM case. You will recall the Supreme Court heard the arguments for and against the current partner rules in February 2016. A year later they handed down the judgment, ruling that on some aspects the rules are unlawful. The government was thus told to propose some changes.
As yet, there has been nothing on the changes - no doubt the judges will also be aware of the Conservative proposal to increase the income threshold, but given they ruled that a threshold in principle was lawful, not sure what they will make of an increase. But I digress.
I have been informed the delay this time is not because of the Court, but because some solicitors for the appellants had not filed their submissions to the Court - although they have given them to the Home Office, which has in filed a reply to the Court. In order to proceed,the Court apparently needs the submissions from the appellants directly and these have now been chased.
The Court is aware of the damage this whole thing is doing to families, whose applications are once again on hold - first they had unlawful rules in place, and now they don't process applications! I'm told that the panel of judges will bear in mind the passage of time since the judgment - what that means though remains to be seen.
Details on a few things of interest below, including a divided families event in parliament to which you are all invited (chiefly organised by JCWI) and a request for donations to help fund the ADR case against the Home Office. Please donate and ask others to.....we can only do this working collectively.