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23rd September 2015
Malo e lelei! (Tongan) 

After a lovely holiday, it's good to resume normality, cease living out of a suitcase and be reunited with my beloved electric toothbrush.  And of course communicate once again with you wonderful people.

Despite my absence for the most part, it has been a very busy few weeks in the UK, as you'll see from the below.

Picture of a little Syrian boy has led more people to realise the cost of our anti-migrant stance, even causing a u-turn in Cameron who committed UK to take 'up to' 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.  My instant response when I heard this was to snort in derision (#piggate turned out to be an amusing coincident) especially when I spotted Theresa May in the background nodding along. 
  • 'up to' makes any commitment meaningless. 
  • Twenty thousand is a piddly number when you consider the scale of the crisis. 
  • Over five years - whaaaat?! So we are going to let even the number we have committed to provide refuge to wallow in misery for five years, despite that there are already millions needing refuge right now
  • If the crisis does not rage on for five years (and hopefully it doesn't) it will of course mean UK will not need to provide sanctuary to anywhere near even the 20,000.  Possibly what Cameron is counting on. 
  • Cameron also stated we will not provide refuge to any of the refugees who have risked their lives to reach Europe.  Instead, we will go to the refugee camps and 'select' the people ourselves. Cameron states this is to discourage people from embarking on dangerous journeys.  But he doesn't seem to understand that our piddly offer will not deter many of these people who would rather risk their lives for a better future now, than continue to battle war, famine, no housing or proper education for five years on the off-chance they may be one of the lucky 'up to' 20,000. And how will we choose the families? The ones with the prettiest dress? The best-behaved children?! 
Remember, many of these refugees had fab lives in Syria - homes more luxurious than the ones we live in, lots of money, successful as teachers, engineers, nurses, doctors, lawyers.  These are proud people who love their country and hate to see it destroyed like this. But they, as we do, value life more. Imagine if something happened here and we had to leave - there'd be no one to buy our house. No banks to go to to withdraw all our money. No time to wait for a visa application to be processed.  Turkey and Lebanon have millions of Syrian refugees; Germany has committed to taking hundreds of thousands. UK's 'offer' is shameful.
   
That we hosted an arms fair in London last week, whilst ignoring the fact that the arms we sell to Saudi Arabia are allegedly funding IS directly resulting in people becoming refugees is sadly ignored by politicians at large. A lesson needed perhaps in cause and effect.

Okay, that's my rant over with - for the moment at least!   More positive news below.

Happy September lovely people.
CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER
After a year and a half of our working with the Office of the Children's Commissioner, a report written for them by JCWI and Middlesex University was launched on 9th September, looking at the impact on children from UK's family immigration rules.  There's also a discussion paper on how the rules have created Skype families.

The findings will not be a surprise to many of you, but it is good to see the OCC formally weigh in, and I believe this report will also be used as evidence for Majid in the MM case hearing at the Supreme Court as the claimant involving separation of children from parents.
FAMILY OF THE WEEK
Aimie & David - British citizen Aimie married David from Colombia.  The couple is a classic example of students falling in love at university and wanting to spend their lives together.

Both have a Masters degree and their departure from the UK would have been a huge loss to us.  Yet they had to battle the Home Office to ensure the husband of a British citizen, with a UK degree, was allowed to stay, work and pay taxes.
ADULT DEPENDANT RELATIVES
Our case was filed on 4th August, and nearly a month later, on 2nd September lawyers for the Home Office (aka Defendant) requested a 21 day extension to file their acknowledgment of service as they had not yet received instructions from the Defendant.  While the court did not expressly grant the HO the extension, it did note receipt of their reasons for filing late.  In any case, today is the last day of the HO's self-imposed deadline and at time of writing, nothing has yet been received from them.

There is however something we could use your help for.  We are urgently looking for any nurses (British citizens or ILR holders) who wish to sponsor elderly parents.  If you know of someone in this position, please do put us in touch.
MCCARTHY and FOI
Finally, after the ICO referred Home Office for DN enforcement with contempt of court action looming, did we get a response on our FOI asking for clarification on how McCarthy applies to family members of British citizens.

Original request here. The response on scribd.com
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